Don't shy away from negotiating elements of the job offer that are important to you. You never know what the outcome will be unless you ask. But let's be clear about something; negotiating cannot begin until there is a job offer on the table.
Know your value early. What determines your value in the marketplace? Your last salary may not be the only factor. These are three things you should take into consideration before you start to negotiate. First, how much the employer is willing to pay; second, how valuable your skills are; and three, whether you're likable.
Conduct salary research. Before you interview, you should conduct research on the company, which should include salary research. Unless you're fortunate enough to know precisely the salary the company is offering, you will need to do a little digging, but don't rely on one source. Conduct online research from salary calculators such as Payscale.com, Salary.com or Glassdoor.com. Talk to recruiters in your field and geography. Talk to people who are doing this job and ask what the going rate is for their line of work. Use as many of these as possible and take an average.
What to Say?
How exactly do you ask for more money? You want to use wording that fits your style; however, if you've never negotiated before, most wording will feel uncomfortable. Here are some ways you could go about asking for more money:
"I am excited about this opportunity to work with you and your company. I do have a question. What can we do to increase my starting salary?"
"This is a great opportunity and I am interested in the position. I was expecting the salary would be higher given the responsibilities of the job." (Don't say anything; wait for their response.)
Negotiating may not always get you what you want, but it is worth trying. Sometimes just knowing you have permission to negotiate is enough to provide you with the confidence to attempt it.
Negotiating Quick Tips:
Always be enthusiastic about the offer. If the employer doesn't think you want the job, they may be less likely to want you. And smile.
Negotiate with the right parties. Know who has the final budget authority and who has the power to negotiate. This may or may not be human resources.
Be confident. Remember, the company has invested time and manpower in this process and it does not want to start over unless it has to. It is up to you to remind your potential employers of the problems you will solve.
Use your company research and inside information. If you know the company has made exceptions in its vacation policy or has been flexible with other benefit offerings, use this to your advantage.
Begin with cash compensation/salary first. If you can secure your desired salary, be willing to make compromises on other items you want to negotiate.
Shhhh … Wait for them to answer. There's an old saying, she who talks first loses. When you make your request or pose a question, do not talk. Wait for their response.
What will you give in return? Negotiating your job offer isn't just about your needs and wants. Be sure you remind the employer about your value.
Be realistic. Don't be greedy or naive, base your negotiation on your skills and the level of job for which you are applying.
Leave your emotions outside. This is a business transaction. Do not let your pride, fear, uncertainty or any other emotion impact what you say or do.
Be prepared to walk away. If the deal doesn't meet your expectations in any of the areas important to you, know when to walk away from the table.
Get it in writing. When all is said and done, be sure you get the agreed terms in writing BEFORE you accept the offer.
Hannah Morgan is a speaker and author providing no-nonsense career advice; she guides job seekers and helps them navigate today's treacherous job search terrain. Hannah shares information about the latest trends, such as reputation management, social networking strategies, and other effective search techniques on her blog, Career Sherpa.