How to Negotiate Your Salary and Benefits: 5 Tips That Will Get the Job Done

December 5th, 2018 Written by: Molly Masterson

Congratulations! You’ve landed a job offer with an industry-leading company. You’ve gone through the grueling interview process and landed on the other side. Suffice it to say, you’re really excited about this career opportunity.

But now comes the hard part: salary negotiations.

Salaries can be scary to negotiate. In fact, only 31% of job seekers negotiate their job offers due to its unpleasant nature and a lack of confidence. Let us help you gain the confidence you need for an effective salary negotiation with the tips below.

1. Know Your Market and Employer

If you’ve been awarded a job offer, you’ve already done plenty of research throughout the interview process. But if you plan to counter the offer, you need to continue digging and base your counter off of market, industry, and company data. What should you look for? You need to gather data on the average salaries in the industry and local market for your position to see if it aligns with the offer you’ve received.

To perform this research, take the time to dig through the company’s careers website to see if they advertise their standard benefits for each employee. For the market and industry data, a quick Google search should return some helpful results. And finally, look for any publicly available financial data on the company or market as well to see if they’re experiencing growth or shrinkage. If things are looking up, that’s usually a good sign of things to come. However, if things appear to have taken a downward turn, you may have to temper your expectations.

2. Make Salary & Benefits Part of the Conversation

Money is a touchy subject for both hiring managers and professionals. However, it needs to be discussed to ensure there’s a beneficial fit for all parties involved. So, from the beginning of the interview process or your relationship with the hiring manager, make salary a part of the conversation. If the job offer is the first time you’re discussing salary with your employer, the odds that the offer will miss your expectations are greater.

How can you make it a part of the conversation? If the interviewer gives you a chance to ask your own questions, ask what the salary might look like for the position. This gives you the freedom to ask without disrupting the flow of the interview. A good way to word your question might be:

  • To leave my current job, I want this position to have a comparable salary and benefits package. What does the company’s benefits package look like and what would be my expected salary level?

3. Be Specific In Your Requirements

Another opportunity to bring salary up is when the hiring manager asks for your current salary or salary requirements. And it’s important that you be honest and firm in your answer. This means also being honest when you think you’re overpaid — you don’t want to be taken out of consideration because you’re too expensive when you’re willing to take less pay. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you may alleviate their concerns by saying:

  • I realize my current salary may concern you, but should we make it to the offer stage, I am open to further discussion and negotiation as I am very interested in this role.

To give employers an even better idea of what you’re hoping to make in this role, provide them with a specific salary range of what you’d be willing to take. Your minimum should be the lowest number you’d accept, and the maximum should be your ideal number. This gives employers a good starting point for a potential offer, which you then can negotiate up.

It’s also a good idea to use resources like the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook to see if your salary range is reasonable. If you’re within $5,000 – $10,000, you’re in the safe zone. Anything more than that could be considered unrealistic.

4. Work With a Recruiter to Be Your Advocate

Staying informed on the latest market, industry, and company salary trends is hard to do on your own. But a recruiter, especially one that has worked for or with the company for a long period of time, has a wealth of knowledge that can help you get the salary you both need and deserve. They know what is within and outside of the realm of possibility, helping to set your expectations as well as your future employer’s.

So, if you’re on the lookout for the next stepping stone in your career, keep in mind that a professional staffing agency can help. They’ll go to bat for you to ensure that find the right opportunities and get hired at the right rate. Furthermore, recruiters can serve as the middleman in salary negotiations, helping both parties reach a compromise that leaves them satisfied.

5. Remember: Salary Isn’t Everything

When all is said and done, it’s important to keep an open mind and carefully weigh your options. As you know, a salary is only one aspect of a job. There are other benefits on the line that may make up for any salary discrepancies. So, if you’ve done your fair share of negotiating and have reached the maximum possible offer, remember that it’s not just about money. It’s about finding the right role, team, and company to be a part of.

Set Yourself Up for Success

Receiving a job offer is a huge accomplishment — the company wants you for your skills and experience. But if your offer came in a little low or you just want to try and get more, using the salary negotiation tips above can help you get the maximum offer possible.

Are you having really good interviews, but haven’t seen an offer come through? Make sure your references are top-notch by viewing our tips for selecting the best professional references. The next time an employer comes knocking, your references might just convince them you’re the best person for the job.

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