Many employees are intimidated by salary negotiation, especially if they don’t have any prior experience with it. However, managers are more open to negotiation than you might think. In fact, 75% of managers expect to negotiate when making a job offer; However, workers often don’t take them up on the opportunity.
To help professionals who have never done this before, 10 Young Entrepreneur Council members shared salary negotiation insights from an employer’s perspective. They offered tips for successfully asking for a higher salary and shared how these strategies have worked in the real world.
1. Stay Quiet After Saying What You Want
Speak what you want and then stay quiet. I think this might be one of the most underrated tips in the book. Salary negotiation can be nerve-wracking and it’s easy to try to cover up the discomfort with more words to justify what you’re asking for. If you know your value and know what you bring to the table, you don’t need to overexplain yourself. You should certainly be prepared to back up your ask, but a simple sentence that shares your market value and the skills you bring to the table is more than enough. Try saying something like, “I’m looking for a salary in the X range, based on my current market value and my XYZ skills that give me an edge in this role.” And then be quiet. It’s this quiet confidence that usually elicits a positive response from the other side. – Andrew Powell, Learn to Win
2. Be Reasonable
Make sure to have a sense of comps at similar companies and make reasonable asks. The biggest turnoff in negotiations is when candidates ask for unreasonable things and make it clear that they haven’t done their research into what the market is. When candidates come with a well-researched argument as to why they want a certain package, I am more open to meeting their asks. – Josh Weiss, Reggie
3. Go By Your Worth, Not The Market
The current hiring environment is insane. It’s easy to find some statistic somewhere that says your job title in some market somewhere now commands X dollars a year. Nothing is more off-putting to a CEO than throwing down what “the market” says you should be paid. Instead, build a compelling and detailed case for the tremendous value you bring to the organization. If you can’t build that story, then it is unlikely to ask for a salary increase. – Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications
Those negotiating a salary need to understand that it is truly a negotiation. Employers will always offer the cheapest offer first. It’s your job to come with a counteroffer. Many of those new to this style don’t understand this because in the past the wage offer was settled up front on the application. Negotiating a wage is really about what you think your work value is worth to the company. Take stock of your work value ahead of time. Decide the final number you are willing to settle on ahead of the negotiating meeting. Then go seven percent higher in your first counter offer. In this process, you may need to remind the hiring manager of your work value to get them to raise their offer. – Baruch Labunski, Rank Secure
5. Be Prepared
The best advice for negotiating salary is to be prepared. Know your worth as an employee to the company and as a person performing the job functions. Recognize these are two different components. The first is understanding where the company is currently and what you can bring to the company in terms of helping the company reach its goals. The second is knowing what you’re worth on the open market. What are employees making with similar responsibilities? Both are important because if the company is at a turning point, you may be more valuable to them than to another company performing the same functions. On the flip side, you want to ensure that you’re at least being paid what others in similar roles are making. – Jared Weitz, United Capital Source Inc.
6. Sell Yourself And Praise Your Accomplishments
Humility is the last thing that should be on your mind when negotiating a pay raise. This is the time when you need to sell yourself and praise your accomplishments to an even greater degree than your initial job interview. That doesn’t mean you should be rude or imply that the company would be worse off without you; just be sure that you mention every positive trait and accomplishment you can think of. Having a long list like this will make your case much more convincing, and it will also bolster your self-confidence. – Bryce Welker, The CPA Exam Guy
7. Speaks In Terms Of Experience
As an employer, I know when an employee knows their worth, that goes hand-in-hand with better work and more commitment. It also goes hand-in-hand with life experience. That’s a good thing! There are several aspects of negotiation. One is to speak in terms of the experience and value you bring to the role. Do bring in research about what’s commensurate with experience. Remember, this is a conversation that will make both parties a little uncomfortable, but discomfort is okay. Try to get clarity about what skills or experience would be worth more. That way, even if you don’t get a higher salary, you know how to approach the conversation about a raise. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts
8. Be Your Own Cheerleader
Be your own loudest cheerleader and come prepared. It’s easy to be driven by emotion when it comes to salary and compensation, but what we (or a company) think we’re worth is often juxtaposed quite harshly by what we can prove. It’s paramount that employees have a robust understanding of their personal finances and thoroughly research their fair market value before they sit down to negotiate. Canvas your professional network, use any number of free online tools and outline a detailed budget to uncover what your minimum figure is and an appropriate pay band commensurate with your role, experience, qualifications and sector. Most importantly, advocate for yourself — no one else will. If an employer refuses to meet you at a fair level, think strongly about whether your contributions are truly valued. – Rong Zhang, Hirect
9. Keep Track Of Your Output
Some employees tend to avoid the salary raise talk for fear of confrontation or rejection. Others ask for a salary raise in a way that doesn’t sell the tangible value they bring to the company. The truth is that it’s all a balancing act once you come out the door with the foundational mindset that you’re selling value you’ve consistently brought to the company. This brings me to the first step to negotiating a salary raise: Keep track of your output on a daily and weekly basis. Write it down in a journal and reflect on your progress as each week passes. Those meetings, projects, extra courses, extra hours and applied insights would come in handy when making your case to your boss later that year. – Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS – Integrated Marketing Solutions
10. Highlight Your Value
You always want to highlight the value you have added to the company over the past year. Elaborate on the goals you have for the company in the upcoming year. An employer may know that you do a good job, but they probably don’t know all of the details of your contributions or your future plans with the company. If you can express your future goals to the company they are more likely to invest in you to see your goals play out in the upcoming year. – Mary Harcourt, CosmoGlo