Negotiate a Salary That Works for You
Q. How can I overcome my hesitation about negotiating my desired salary with a prospective employer?
A. It’s the part of the interview that most job seekers dread: salary negotiation. Fortunately, you can learn how to negotiate a compensation package that works for you. Try these tips:
- Do your research. Get all the details about a job before you discuss salary. And use a salary website such as SalaryExpert or Salary.com — or better yet, talk with a knowledgeable, specialized recruiter such as Chase Technology Consultants (CTC) — to get a sense of the salary range for a specific IT position (including factors such as location, years of experience, and tech stack).
- Determine two numbers up front: your ideal amount and the amount you’re willing to accept. For example, you might want $80,000 but be willing to work for $72,000. This gives you your potential negotiating range.
- Don’t bring up salary. There’s some truth in the old saying, “Whoever names a price first loses the negotiation.” Many hiring organizations ask for salary requirements, but providing a number could cause you to undersell yourself. Instead, Monster suggests giving an answer such as “I expect a salary in line with my skills and experience and the demands of the job.”
- Now comes the back and forth. If you receive an offer that is lower than your ideal — even if that offer falls within your potential negotiating range — don’t simply accept it. Rather, thank the interviewer; say that you appreciate the offer but had a different amount in mind. If the response doesn’t meet your needs or you receive resistance, emphasize the value you bring to the position, or ask about non-monetary compensations (such as insurance benefits or perks) that might offset the lower wage for you. Don’t be afraid to negotiate; the worst that can happen is they say “no.” For more on salary and benefits negotiation, check out this infographic.
Of course, when you work with a reputable staffing agency such as CTC, you don’t need to deal with negotiation at all. In such cases, the recruiter negotiates your salary and benefits package for you. You will need to talk honestly with your recruiter about what you’re currently earning and what you expect for compensation. However, even if you go this route and work with a recruiter, negotiation is still a useful skill that you can apply when you’re seeking a salary raise from your current employer.