One of the most frightening parts of the job search has to be salary negotiation. Most people entering the workforce cringe at the thought of having to haggle over how much they are worth. New graduates and professionals making a career change are more prone to make mistakes when negotiating a salary for a job that they really want. Although prepping for your interview is an integral part of the job search, salary negotiation should not be overlooked. Here are a few tips to guide you through the salary negotiation process.
- Do your homework
Before you even begin to discuss your salary, it is of the utmost importance that you are well aware of what the industry standard dictates. Going into an industry without the knowledge of the pay scale can sometimes be viewed as unprofessional. Employers want to know that you are serious about succeeding in your new position, and that you are well educated when it comes to your field. It is your job to soak up any and all information that you can find that is pertinent to your new job; this includes knowledge of standard pay rates. The last thing you want to do is talk yourself out of a position in which you’ve already nailed an interview. Requesting too large of a salary can land you a spot on the back burner; while requesting too little can make you look flighty or nonchalant. Research a variety of companies with similar backgrounds and network with others in your field to find out the inside scoop on what employers are paying these days.
- Look the part
Nothing is worse than a person with a killer resume and stellar references who doesn’t carry themselves well. You need to dress the part for every interview. While different industries vary on what they consider appropriate office attire, it is safe to assume that you dress more conservatively for your first or second interview. Employers want to make sure that you are a good fit to represent their company. Salary negotiation will bean afterthought if employers feel as though you are not serious about making a good impression. Even if the position you are vying for is not a management position, present yourself as though you are walking into a management role. Once you’ve snagged the job, you are safe to dress a little more relaxed if the atmosphere allows you to do so.
- Be Patient
Employers do not want to feel as though they are being bullied. If in fact you do not discuss salary during your interview, do not push for them to discuss the issue. Some interviewers leave the salary negotiation until the 2nd or 3rd interview, or when the initial offer is made. While the potential relationship with your employer will be reciprocal, do not make them feel as if they cannot live without you. You are not doing them a favor, you are creating an environment where you will both flourish and thrive off of your working relationship.
Rushing into salary negotiations too quickly could run you the risk of offending your potential employer. It could also pigeon-hole you into a lower rate than the employer was prepared to offer. If by chance you are asked about your expected salary without doing thorough research on what the standard pay rate should be, try and provide as vague of an answer as possible. You don’t want to have other candidates steal the position from you because they are willing to accept a lower offer. Once you ace the interview process, salary negotiations can always be revisited. Most employers are usually willing to move up and down the scale and work around the numbers you may have quoted.
- Know your worth
While you may be eager to land a job in this sometimes uncertain market, you have to remember your strengths and the positive results you have to offer. You didn’t spend all those years of education to have your knowledge and skills overlooked or downplayed. Be realistic in your assessment of your own resume. Take a second or third look at how you may be perceived on paper. If possible, have a neutral third party take a look at your resume and assess your skills. Figure out what makes you stand out amongst the rest and be sure to highlight those qualities. Employers are looking for candidates that can take their company to the next level, so it is important to sell yourself on the unique attributes that may be hiding within your resume. Perhaps there are areas of the company that need improvement; you may be just the right person to tackle the job.
While searching for a new job may be a daunting task, you want to make sure that you are well prepared. Taking charge of your own salary negotiation can show that you are a strong candidate who is serious about their future. With a positive attitude and a thorough assessment of the industry norms, your dream job and dream salary are right around the corner.
Have you been successful in negotiating a salary for your dream job? What tips would you have for interviewees when negotiating their salary?