How to Negotiate a Salary: More Money from Job Offers & Beyond [Tips]
Most people have frights and anxiety when thinking about that job interview that is scheduled to happen soon.
Even though many people do prepare fantastically for the job interview, there are cases when the pre-established interview atmosphere falls flat.
This usually happens when the interviewee asks about the future salary. The topic of salary is a bit of a stressful situation for both the boss and the worker, and it happens not only in the aforementioned example of a job interview but also in every aspect of work life.
Before negotiating for salary, you have to know a few tricks and tips that will help you to be on the better end of the conversation.
In further writing of the text, you will learn about a few ways of salary negotiation, what are the most common mistakes that people make when they talk about their salaries with their managers or bosses.
You’ll also get some tips on the “upgrading” some other aspects of yourself which can help you in any negotiations through non-verbal means. In the end, you can find a questionnaire that will help you assess whether you would be successful in negotiating a salary increase or not.
Before we start, keep in mind that negotiating salaries is not an unusual occurrence in the corporate world and that it is perfectly normal to think about your livelihood.
You should not look at it as a taboo topic. Rather try to embrace it completely as a mundane thing.
It is nothing out of the ordinary and it’s also a great way to see how much you are valued by your company.
That way it also helps you plan your future with the company better.
Before starting the article with the tips of successfully negotiating salary, there are some common mistakes that happen too often, which you should give your best to avoid.
The first and the most obvious mistake is if you are on the fence whether you should talk or negotiate about your salary at all. There will, most definitely, come the time to talk about your salary with your bosses, it is a step that must be overcome.
Have in mind what is your worth, have the lowest acceptable limit, and think about the offer, do not accept it right away, which further brings us to the second entry: Being unprepared.
The second common mistake is that most people try to improvise and do not think meticulously about their approach to the negotiations. That is why most people go in unprepared.
You should always have a figure in your head to which you will come by researching your company, its workers’ salaries, your workload, and how much do you believe you should earn.
It is important to be ready and informed, and to have a clear plan of action inside your head, to avoid looking like an amateur.
The next common mistake that we will cover is beating around the bush. When negotiating your salary, it is important to be as direct as possible and avoid bringing up unnecessary or unneeded pieces of information. Know what you want and elaborate on it, directly.
It is also of great importance to not focus solely on salary, meaning, try to explain to your boss the importance of your skills and what you bring to the table, and also try to negotiate other perks that come with it, for example, vacation time, medical coverage, and so on.
Those are very important things that you should also bring up, as many other workers forget about these important life aspects that a job brings.
The next common mistake is one of the most important to remember: never trust or accept a verbal agreement or a promise. Always try to have a written agreement or a contract, as it will be the boss’s word against your words, and that in the majority of occasions ends badly for the worker.
If your boss knows to break promises a lot, here is an interesting article that can help you with how to bear with such bosses and further analyzes the “promise-breaking” bosses.
Another interesting entry that has to be mentioned, although it cannot really be considered a mistake, but rather as a weak feature in a person, is the indirect approach, such as asking for a raise through an e-mail.
Most workers who find this confrontation uncomfortable try to negotiate through an e-mail, and according to a study conducted by PayScale, 28 percent of people feel uneasiness and are uncomfortable when thinking about negotiating their salary in person.
The largest advantage of negotiating in person is the quickness of the boss’ reply, and the ability to read their body language. Even though the smallest of things, such as a twitch in the corner of their lips or a simple sigh, you can see where you are standing and your odds of success.
Body language is a field that is complex but highly rewarding if you choose to follow through, here is an article that goes in great detail on body languages of people and how to read them successfully.
The final mistake that many make is taking the refusal personally. Maybe there is a concrete and sound reason why you cannot be awarded a salary increase.
There are many things to do if such a situation occurs. The best thing to do is to simply either work and increase your value in the company so that you have better reasons for the boss to increase your salary or simply question and analyze your future with the company.
That is a highly important move and you should take your time with the analysis, so as to avoid making a move that you might regret later in your career.
Now that some common mistakes of salary negotiating have been covered, in the further writing of the text, you will find mostly some tips on the various things that can help you in negotiating your salary.
Some of these tips will show you how to better yourself in some aspects that can help not only in salary negotiations but also in everyday life, while some will be helpful in other negotiation deals that you might find yourself into.
For a more detailed approach to the mistakes, people make when negotiating their salary raises, check out this nifty article.
FIND THE MOMENT AND FIND YOUR VALUE
Even though mentioned in the section where the common mistakes were covered, finding your value is the most important tip that you will ever hear, due to the fact that most people, at least in the United States of America, are paid under the true value of the market, thus being extremely underpaid.
That is why contemplating about your job position and the workload you take is of utmost importance before setting your own value.
When you take into account your value and set a figure in your head, it is important to find the perfect moment in which you can fully utilize the negotiating.
Try to see your boss when he is not under a lot of pressure and stress, or in the middle of hosting possible partners.
See that you find the moment when the boss is of such a mood that they will at least listen and understand your position, and not decline you outright.
It is not an easy task to find such a moment, but try not to postpone the talk for too long under the reason of “finding the right moment”.
The longer you wait, the longer the next entry on our list will hold its clutch on you.
DO NOT LET FEAR TAKE OVER YOUR MIND AND BODY
Fear is the biggest opponent of successful negotiations. It is the cause of many negotiations that never happened, whether being a negotiation of a salary increase or something more or less important than that, is unimportant.
That fear of confronting other people is what makes you glance over the thought of going to your boss and discussing your salary.
In some cases, there are a few situations that the fear in you puts into your head, such as the fear that you will not be taken seriously or that the person on the other side of the table will simply and disrespectfully leave the table.
Have in mind that it all depends on the way you have presented your argument: the more you prepare yourself in way of presenting your argument, the more likely they are to listen to you, enchanted by the way you talk.
Basically, preparation and the way of presenting your case is what will make your fear go away.
Have in mind that you should not drag out your argument too much, and do not think that they are thinking how silly your argument might sound, just go through that fear that will only last for the first couple of minutes, after which you will freely talk, not pulled down by the fear.
In addition to being afraid of having a bad negotiation, there is much more fear caused obstacles that stop you from achieving what you wanted, but they are all obstacles that last short but can make you postpone that confrontation for much longer than you had originally planned.
BE WILLING TO GO ALL IN AND MAKE AN ULTIMATUM
This is a step that should be carefully planned and should not be used as a bluff. To explain in layman’s terms, say that you want to quit.
If you do not see yourself working for that company due to the low salary, you should go to another company that will value you more than the current one.
This one is important and impactful mostly due to the way you tell your boss the ultimatum. You should not go direct and threatening, that will actually not put you in a comfortable situation.
Simply explain to your boss that you believe that you should be paid more, that you are not anymore satisfied with the financial coverage that they are giving you, and that it impacts your motivation and the ability to give your best in your field of work.
The key here is to show your boss that you wish to give your best to the company but you cannot due to the low salary, construct your sentence so as to seem that you put the company before your needs, unimportant whether you truly think so or not.
The boss might realize that a worker like you indeed does deserve a raise; however, the ultimatum is a slippery slope and can backfire spectacularly.
Remember a few things: use it as a last resort, and use it if you are considered to be a good and respectful employee, the one who has been in the company and the one who has poured everything in order for the company to produce good numbers.
There is no point if you are a worker who has never contributed in a significant way, which is one of the many things and reasons where this step can backfire, so use with extreme caution.
FIND THE BALANCE BETWEEN FIRM AND FLEXIBLE
Being able to find the middle ground with your boss is a commendable act. In terms of salary negotiation, expect a lot of offers and counteroffers between your boss and yourself.
In order to avoid the endless negotiations, you should try and find the middle ground between the offers presented by yourself and your boss.
The main thing that you should be aware of is that you should not refuse every offer and firmly stand your ground, but you should not also say “yes” to the minimum or unsatisfactory figure. The figure that is considered the middle ground is completely subjective and depends on you.
PRACTICE ALONE OR WITH SOMEONE BEFORE THE NEGOTIATION
The practice is what makes any skill perfect.
If you have problems talking to people, let alone having a serious conversation with your boss about your salary, it would be a smart move to think of a few guidelines on directions in which your negotiation will move towards.
After that, stand in front of the mirror and see how you look when speaking. Non-verbal communication is also important, and the majority of its aspects will be covered later in the text.
There is another way to practice speech, particularly interaction with other people. In addition to using your friends and family, the best way to practice speaking is by speaking with someone you do not know.
You can easily achieve that by simply talking with someone on the street or while going grocery shopping. The way you talk to them is essential, meaning, you should talk with them as you are negotiating with them.
The topic can be anything from discussing your favorite movie to encouraging them to start rooting for another sports team, possibilities are endless.
Another interesting way of negotiation practice is talking to any salesman. Any salesperson would provide a good practice as they will try to sell you something, so you can either observe the way they are trying to score a sale or try and talk with them and try to negotiate a better deal.
All in all, if you are not confident in your speech skills, it is important to practice either by yourself or with another person, in order to have a better conclusion of your salary negotiation.
WORK ON YOUR POSTURE
Non –verbal communication is important in everyday life, especially when trying to negotiate an increase in salary. Your stance and posture are important as the most experienced of negotiators will read you and your characteristics by looking at your posture and other revealing body points.
Even though words truly are the conveyor of the message, an underlying message can be perceived, especially in the business world, through non-verbal signals, which are, but not limited to: the head, particularly the face of a person, body, arms, particularly hands, and legs.
A great tip is to learn about these signals, not only to teach yourself how to be more imposing and hide your weaknesses but also to assess the person that is on the other end of a negotiation discussion.
Body and legs are not too difficult to master, they should move minimally.
Hands are considered to be the most difficult to learn to control, especially in stressful situations, as people tend to move their fingers in predictable manners that are always linked with anxiety and nervousness.
You should always keep your hands relaxed and steady, changing the positions of them once in a while, and moving them around if you feel that you are revealing a compromising feel through them.
The face is the most difficult part of your body to hide nervousness markers on, due to the fact that the boss will be looking at your face, most of the time.
There are around 50 muscles on a person’s face, in addition to other sensations that cannot be controlled, like sweating or itching sensations, which are the most common signs of nervousness.
Control of facial expressions can, in most cases, be controlled through practice and experience.
In addition to helping you gain better control of your body, investing your time in learning the most you can about non-verbal communication can also help you in reading your boss.
That is why by learning more about the non-verbal markers and signals, you can see how far you can push your boss for an increase in salary, or know when to approach altogether.
Non-verbal communication and one’s awareness of it is pivotal and essential not only in salary negotiations but also in the modern business aspect of life.
If you wish to learn more and in greater detail about non-verbal communication, in addition to how to hide the stress from showing through non-verbal communication and other helpful tips and tricks particularly important for all aspects of non-verbal communication, this article will prove to be an excellent read for you.
DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
Sometimes it is a good thing to start the negotiations with questions, and there are a couple of reasons for that approach.
The biggest advantage is that you will show that you are genuinely interested in giving your best to ensure that the company is getting the best out of you, achieved by asking a simple question like “what are your priorities right now” or asking a question about the future of the company.
You will come out as an empathic person who cares about the company and its workers, which is a characteristic that is of high value if possessed by a worker.
You will also understand the stance of your boss and will come to the solution easier.
All in all, negotiation is actually a conversation between two or more parties, you should try to reciprocally ask questions in order to come to an understanding and leave happy.
WORK ON YOURSELF AND OBTAIN SKILLS
There are a few skills that are important and beneficial to every successful negotiation. If you wish to earn yourself a salary increase through negotiation, then you have to work on a few skills, such as a good level of verbal communication and listening, which are a must.
Assertiveness is an important trait to have, as well as being an empathic person.
Being able to compromise is important to every negotiator and understanding that there are slim chances that you will come out with the initial figure that you had wanted but with the figure that will make both parties happy.
Having said all that, the most important skill that will help you in all negotiations that you will come across, not only the salary increase ones, is the emotional control. There are many cases where people “lose their cool” and everything just goes down south really quickly.
Learning to control the emotions that would not help you get to the goal you have envisioned before you entered that office and started negotiating will help you in the long run, in every field of life and work.
There are many other skills that can help you in salary negotiations, but the aforementioned ones should be the ones you should start acquiring.
In this part of the text, you will find a series of questions.
Based on your answers, you can see whether you find asking your boss for a salary increase comfortable and would have no problem initializing the negotiations, or you find it extremely uncomfortable and would rather wait for the right moment, no matter how long it would take.
Would you ask your boss the following questions:
Is this offer negotiable?
This is the beginning of the counter-offer, and in negotiations, usually, both parties do not start with their desired figures, as they will fluctuate until the end of the negotiations.
Are there additional benefits or perks included with the increased salary?
Sometimes there are many more perks that come with the salary increase. Even if not mentioned, you should always ask whether your vacation days, after-hours payment and others have changed positively or negatively.
Is there a potential for further raise based on job performance?
Even though you are fighting for the salary increase in the present, it might be a good sign that you are asking for the future of your position in the company. That tells them that you are capable of thinking ahead and making plans, rather than living in the present, making plans day by day.
In which way do you value your workers’ salaries?
This is a legitimate question that you should ask because you need to know what abilities in workers your boss evaluates and what abilities would bring a salary increase easier.
May I have this offer in writing?
This is the most important question. Always avoid having a verbal-only agreement, because there is a possibility that they may back out on their initial deal and offer an even smaller increase.
If the majority of your answers to these questions were negative, then this is bad news, and you probably thought a lot about talking with your boss about your salary, but never acted on those thoughts.
If the majority were affirmative answers, then you are ready or might have already talked with your boss about a salary increase.
If you answered negatively on the last questions but answered the majority positively, then you have made a terrible mistake, and you should always avoid relying on some “keeping their word”.
Always go for having the offer in writing, in order to avoid complications or being swindled, in every negotiating situation.
Most people are uncomfortable talking to their boss about a salary increase, even though they should not be. Fighting for your livelihood and respecting your own value is important to you and it sends a particular message to your boss.
There are a few tricks that you should know before entering into negotiations for an increase in salary, but the most important one is the one that helps you take the first step: having the courage to do it and breaking the taboo of it.
As with everything else, negotiations are comprised of skills that can be learned in order to be more successful, and by investing some time into learning some of these skills, you will have a lot more success in every other negotiation aspect of both everyday life and business world or salary increase.
In conclusion, salary negotiations are something that should not be as frowned upon by the workers as it currently is, as you have every right to think about your future in the company you work for.