Suggestions for Salary Negotiations

The best way to deal with compensation is to have done your research first.

You can often find what the market will pay by looking at similar job postings for in your area or checking out salary guides like Salary Expert or Monster’s salary guide. This should give you a rough band of wages that they’ll offer and you’ll be able to get an idea of how good the offer is. Go through your costs and figure out what your ideal wage is, what you’re expecting for, and what you’re willing to take. These 3 numbers should create your negotiating band and you should have a rough idea of what they translate to in appropriate measurements — per annum, monthly, hourly, etc.

Also, try to think of what non-salary things you’re willing to accept if they have a strict pay structure — things like extra vacation time, better health care, paid training/ education vouchers, flextime scheduling, etc. Another item could be accepting a lower starting wage but having faster scheduled increases, either benchmarked to time or targets. Make sure that these are in your contract when you sign, as performance reviews always seem to slip on the importance scale for busy managers. The more prepared you are, the better your bargaining position.

If you’re going to bring it up, first make sure you’ve talked about the position and what the duties are and what you’ll excel at — you don’t want to position yourself as only being there for the pay cheque. But at the end of the meeting, if it hasn’t been brought up then it’s okay. Try to place it in the larger context of the job, “So now that I have a better idea of what you see as the job deliverables and feel comfortable about my ability to really add value to COMPANY XYZ, perhaps we should discuss the compensation package.”

It’s generally better to have the other person bring up a number first but if you have to, always start with your ideal or perhaps a bit above and give it as a band. Refer to the fact that your market research suggests $XX,000 – $XX,000 is the industry standard to improve your position.

When negotiating, remember to focus on the value you add. “Based on my past success at reducing costs over 300k for COMPANY XYZ, I feel that $XX,000 – $XX,000 is a good number.” Be honest, both with the company and yourself, and you should do fine.

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