How to Negotiate Your Salary and Benefits

No matter if you’re just starting out or have been employed for some time, salary negotiations can be nerve-wracking. With some planning and preparation, however, the process will go smoother.

Before beginning the negotiation process, it’s essential to establish how much your skills and experience are worth. Doing this can help determine your target range for negotiations.

1. Do Your Research

Negotiating your salary and benefits can be intimidating, but it’s an essential step in landing the ideal job. To prepare for this conversation, do your research beforehand.

It is essential to research how much similar positions pay in your industry and the cost of living in your area. Doing this will enable you to calculate a fair total compensation package based on both the job requirements and specific skillset.

When you’re ready to negotiate your salary, be prepared with a compelling argument backed by research and your experience. Doing this will give you a much greater advantage in impressing the hiring manager or recruiter.

If, after working as an entry-level assistant for three years and being offered a position with more responsibility at $57K annually, your initial reaction may be to accept this offer. But after conducting research, it may become apparent that you deserve more.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

When discussing salary and benefits, don’t be shy to ask questions. Doing so early on could result in better offers later on.

Researchers have observed that people tend to share more sensitive information when asked tough questions first. It’s like starting a relationship with someone new by asking them about their past struggles and triumphs.

Particularly when interviewing for a job at an organization that values honesty and integrity, it is never wise to lie about your salary history or current earnings.

To determine how much to ask for, start by assessing the current market value of your skills and duties. This can be done through research, speaking with industry professionals and reading online reviews.

Practice asking the salary question several times until you feel confident asking it. Doing this is an effective way to boost your confidence in negotiating salary increases.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Counter

Negotiating salary and benefits shouldn’t be a fearful endeavor; especially if the offer falls short of what you had anticipated. Do not be afraid to counter offers if they do not meet your expectations.

A persuasive salary counter offer must support its asking price with tangible evidence such as market data on average salaries for your position. Doing this will help persuade the hiring manager to increase your salary.

In many cases, companies may not be able to fulfill your request but can offer another possible compromise such as extra vacation time or an increased sign-on bonus.

Before entering into negotiation with your employer, take time to list concrete examples of why you deserve a higher salary and how your skills and experience will benefit the company. For instance, you may possess certifications or specialized technical abilities that are valued in your field.

4. Don’t Be Afraid to Accept

Accepting a lower salary than you deserve may seem like the easier option, but it has serious financial repercussions, such as smaller raises and an inadequate pension.

Be prepared to negotiate your salary and benefits prior to beginning negotiations. List all the advantages you wish to receive, then present them all together as part of a package deal.

For instance, if you’re offered a $62,000 salary but consider that company-subsidized health insurance is more important to you, take the offer.

After several days have passed, send a thank-you note reiterating the salary level you are willing to accept.

Employers are more likely to accept an offer with a lower salary but superior benefits than one without. For instance, if you’re thinking about returning to school, some universities might provide tuition reimbursement and health insurance for you and your family as part of the position.

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