by Kimberly Flanagan
Money is a touchy subject for almost everyone, I for one am very sensitive about it. It’s especially difficult when you need to negotiate a salary when you are starting a new job or even a salary increase when you’re being promoted.
There are many things to take into consideration when discussing and negotiating a salary and you need to be aware of what you want out of the negotiation but you also need to understand the company’s position and the general market in your industry.
So how do you go about negotiating your salary or salary increase?
When you’re just starting out and entering an entry level position, you need to be realistic and realise that you are not going to be paid the same amount of money that someone else is being paid that has been working in the same position for longer than you have and let’s be realistic and blunt, sometimes that same person is also struggling to negotiate being paid for their worth and experience. Everyone’s journey is different.
Things you can take into account are your skills and talents, your experience or expertise as well as the hours that you will be putting in but it is also important to take into account what you can add to the company’s bottom line.
The person you’re negotiating with will most likely explain the company’s situation to you and will talk about the pay scale for someone who is just starting out vs someone who has been working longer. You get three levels; entry-level, mid-level and senior level and they all differ and are factored by years of experience and other qualifiers.
So when you are about to go to the negotiating table, here are a few things to remember:
- Do your research on the company. Has there been demotions and restructuring or retrenchments in the past 2 or 3 years? Look up financial records and speak to people who are working in the same industry and position to find out what their companies offer so that you can make comparisons.
- Be prepared when you go to the negotiating table. Have your facts and figures ready.
- Ask about other benefits that the company is offering and take that into account.
- Be realistic about what you deserve.
- Take into account the type of contract that you are being offered. It is a permanent, freelance or fixed-contract. You can do the same job as someone else but you are being hired as a permanent employee and the other person is a freelancer and works fewer hours but gets paid more but that is unfortunately how it can work in certain situations. Freelancers have the benefit of setting their own rates, although it’s not always great. If they have a lot of experience and are sought after, they will most likely get more money.
- Confidence is key. You need to be confident and be sure of what you want. You can’t let them see you being nervous because then you won’t be taken seriously. Especially as a woman, you need to go in and know your value.
- Follow up and make sure you have a record of the discussion.
- Don’t be over-confident, arrogant or rude. That just might make the person you’re speaking to, to reconsider hiring you.
- Don’t lie about your experience and qualifications. Employers tend to do follow-up calls with previous employers or companies and if it turns out you lied about anything, it could ruin your chances of a job.
- Don’t be unprepared and fumble over too many documents. If you do have a file or papers with you, make it concise and to the point. Don’t stumble over your words either. Make sure that you did dry-runs or practiced the day before on what you want to say.
- Don’t be apologetic about what you’re asking for. If you do that, employers could take advantage of that and you could get the short end of the stick in the negotiations.
- Don’t give your salary expectation first. Wait for the employer to put down a number and negotiate from there
Negotiating is tough, especially when you’re negotiating money but if you are prepared and sure of what you deserve, you should come out of there satisfied.
But again, be realistic and remember that growth is possible and sometimes experience is more valuable than money.