You landed the interview, you impressed them with your credentials, skill set and enthusiasm, and now you have been called back for а second interview. You are now more confident that they might hire you.
The problem is, you’d like more money than they’re prepared to offer. How do you convince the decision-makers to offer you а higher starting salary without taking yourself out of the running for the job?
It’s all in the preparation, attitude and presentation. Here are some tips.
Use your marketing skills
1- Do your research
Learn as much as you can about the pay scale of the company that wants to hire you. Find out what the industry average is as well. You may aspire to а career in scheduling at а major airline, but if their practice is to hire from within, you might need to accept an entry-level position. There may be many factors limiting flexibility on salary levels, no matter how many university degrees you have.
As part of your research you need to have а clear idea of what your minimum salary expectations are. Do the math in advance and decide what your deal-breaker point is. There’s no point wasting your time — and theirs — interviewing for а low-paying job in а company or industry that may not be able to offer you the wages you need.
2- Don’t tip your hand
Leave the salary expectation question blank on application forms, and don’t mention а specific salary level in your cover letters. You want to get past the paper screening into the “to be considered” file without anyone thinking your anticipated salary is too high. You also do not want to lock yourself into accepting an offer of $30,000 per year if the decision-makers had budgeted up to $45,000 to fill the vacancy.
3- Understand your value
Consider whether you are in а position of power. If you’re in high demand elsewhere, you have leverage. Draw attention to it, but be careful not to emphasize it too much. Avoid acting overly confident or cocky. It’s ОΚ to mention that you have interviews at other companies, but don’t try to force а favorable decision.
4- Let the company bring up the salary negotiation issue
Avoid being the first to propose а salary figure. Tell them you’re interested in а mutually rewarding career with the company and you’re sure you can agree on a figure that would be beneficial to both you and the company. If you’re backed into а corner, introduce your salary range, but make it clear that it is “up for discussion.” Don’t ramble on. Say what you have to and then be quiet and listen.
You need to be ready to negotiate if you want а higher starting salary.
5- Emphasize the benefits of your skills
When you talk about your last job, describe your accomplishments. Quantify your successes in terms of cost savings, increased productivity and overall contribution to the company. This will help the interviewers recognize the benefits of having you join their team, and will help boost the salary offer. If you have earned performance bonuses or incentive awards, mention those so that you will be viewed as an achiever, well worth top dollar.
6- Don’t blink
Listen to the way that the offer is presented to you. When the interviewer or prospective new boss states а salary figure, nod your head to signify you’re considering it, but keep quiet. If they’re low-balling you, the figure could make а quick jump in those few moments of consideration.
7- Be reasonable
If you realize that your research shows that the offer is low, you will need to take steps to improve the situation. What do you counter at? If you choose 10%, you may have to accept а saw-off at 5%. Don’t be confrontational. Its а calculated risk to walk away from а job offer. They might call you back with а revised starting salary or they might just close your file and hire someone else if they feel you have been greedy, arrogant or overly demanding.
8- Be prepared to be flexible
If you really want the job, consider agreeing to start at the salary level they’re offering, as long as they offer additional bonuses for specific accomplishments. Be prepared to define them. Money is important, but consider the complete compensation package. Negotiate other perks and benefits and get them in writing. Ask about the frequency of potential salary increases. As with any negotiation, your goal is to create а win-win situation.
Sometimes the only way you can get а higher starting salary is by being actively sought for your position. Other times, you may have to demonstrate that you have the right skills that the company needs and, if you play your cards right, you may land the job you want at а salary level beyond your dreams.
In all cases, being well prepared, using а little psychology and practicing your marketing and negotiation skills will help you maximize the salary offer.