If you’re coming straight out of college, or you’ve never had a “grown-up” job, then you may have never had to negotiate your salary or commission package. You simply just accepted what the hourly rate was, because the company had a timetable for raises and performance bonuses. But, in the “real world”, there is no salary that is set in stone. In fact, you can almost treat your salary negotiation much like that of negotiating the price of a car or house. Here are a few tips to effectively negotiate your salary to help you earn what you’re worth.
Know the right time to start talking about salary and benefits
You don’t ever want to sound too eager to talk about the salary or benefits. Employers might take it like you don’t have a genuine interest in the position. The best time to start talking about salary is when you know exactly what the job requires and when both you and your employer know that you are the right fit for the job. If you discuss salary before you know the responsibilities of the position, you might undervalue the compensation deserved for the position. The bottom line is to wait to discuss salary until the job is offered to you.
Base your salary and benefits on the responsibilities of the job
The reason that you don’t want to talk about salary until you know all of the responsibilities is because you are going to base your salary negotiation on the amount of responsibility that the job requires. This is why managers generally get paid more than lower-level workers, because more responsibility rests on their shoulders to get things done and make sure that day-to-day business is operating smoothly. If you go into salary negotiation thinking that you can’t negotiate a higher salary due to a lack of education, experience, or previous salary, then you’ll end up missing out on a higher salary. Employers want you to believe that’s the case, but in reality, they deserve to pay you based on what the position requires, not based on your credentials. Most companies have a certain dollar amount they are willing to pay someone when they hire them, but they will generally try to hire them on for a lower salary to try to cut costs. If you accept their first offer, you’re playing right into their game.
Factor Company Perks and Benefits into the salary package equation
You may not get an employer to budge much on the salary they are willing to pay you, but often times they are more willing to throw in extra perks and benefits to bolster your compensation package. On the other hand, if they are already throwing in extra benefits and perks, you must take this into account when negotiating a salary. If they’re letting you drive a company car, paying your medical insurance premium, a business cell phone, or a laptop computer, then you need to factor that into the equation. You may not be getting more money from them, but you’ll have less expenses, because you won’t be paying for a car, cell phone bill, or buying a new computer any time soon.
Once you reach an agreement, get it in writing.
Think like a lawyer, and get your verbal agreement in writing. You don’t have to sound militant about it, but just ask politely, “Do you mind if we put this in writing so there are no discrepancies in the future”. You don’t want the hassle of trying to fight with your boss about what you agreed on and what you did not agree on later on down the line. It will damage your relationship with your boss, and it will only be a headache for you.
So, are you ready to go out and make more money? You can even apply these principles to receiving a promotion or simply asking for a raise. Remember, you are worth something to your employer. Don’t let your employer dictate how much you are worth. Be proactive in showing them what you are worth.