Salary Negotiating – Tips from an Expert

Salary Negotiating – Tips from an Expert

Job seekers are often intimidated by the idea of negotiating a salary. Money is an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people, especially when it comes to how much you’ll be making for at least the next year.

There’s a wide variety of theories, articles, videos, and other materials on the topic. The good news: salary negotiation is a simpler prospect than most make it out to be. The right preparation and mindset are key.

Salary Negotiating

1. Do your research

Job seekers often have a better sense of what they need than what their market value is, and it’s important to know both. Looking for a salary the market won’t support will waste a lot of time, including yours. A variety of websites offer salary ranges for specific positions, though they’re only one data point to consider. To get a correct estimate, you need to talk to people in your field who have an “in the trenches” knowledge of what people are making. Recruiting specializing in your industry is probably the best source.

This will make sure you settle on a number the market will bear.

2. Don’t haggle, negotiate

I talk to numerous candidates who believe in a long haggling process to arrive at the right offer. The process is:

· You throw out a number.

· They counter.

· You counter back.

· They counter again.

· It goes back and forth until you come up with the right compromise.

This will frustrate everyone involved. You’re not haggling over an antique pot at a flea market. You’re a professional negotiating a starting salary. Be direct to get the number you want without creating a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.


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3. Name your number

You’ve done your research, you’ve interviewed to know what the job is about, and now it’s time to talk dollars. Here are the two likeliest scenarios:

Scenario 1 – You have a good handle on the difference in costs between your current job and the new prospect, including the price of benefits, car allowances, and anything else that comes out of your pocket.

It’s time to give them a firm number. As an example, you can say, “I’m looking for an offer of $85,000 a year or better.”

Keep in mind, you told them you’d say yes to $85,000. If they offer that number and you decline, there’d better be a good reason. You can’t ask for $88,000 because you thought you could ring more money out of them. Put yourself in their shoes, getting that message. It’s not a good way to start a new relationship.

Scenario 2 – You haven’t seen the full package, so you still have questions about out-of-pocket costs.

The response is still straightforward, but now you can be more loose. You can say, “I’m looking for an offer of $85,000 or better, depending on the cost of benefits or other aspects of the total package.”

Now you can come back for more money if the difference in expenses warrants it. “I said $85,000 or better, but your benefits package costs more, so I think $88,000 would be fair.”

Neither scenario guarantees you’ll get the number you want, but it will keep negotiations brief and to the point. If they come in low, you have a solid foundation to bring them up to the right level. It’s better than everyone shooting in the dark until you come up with the right compromise.

When you have a firm number and keep the negotiation direct, you have a better chance of getting the salary you want, in a way that will start the relationship on the right note.

PRA USA has 30 years of experience helping engineers in the Electronics, Embedded, and Controls space make the most out of their careers. We’re experts in career management, including job seeking, salary negotiation, and interview coaching. Contact us to let us know how we can help you.

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