One of the most difficult components of the job search turns out to be one of the biggest afterthoughts of the entire process. It’s also one of the most uncomfortable: negotiating the job offer. However, like any part of the job search process, you can make this part easier on yourself by being prepared.
Know Before You Go into Negotiations
Before you even start the negotiation process – better yet, before you even start the job search
process – do your research on the job, the company and the industry. Find out what the average salary is for your city and check into what benefits are offered as well. Knowing these details ahead of your job interview is crucial. It enables you to talk salary and benefits sooner rather than later. Also, having this data when you enter into the salary negotiation phase could pay off – literally – in the long run. If you show that you’ve done your research, you’re more likely to get the salary and the benefits that you want.
Salary Isn’t Everything
While salary is undoubtedly the most important piece of a job offer, it’s not the only thing to consider. You should contemplate benefits as well. Does the company offer paid time off? Is there healthcare for part-time employees – or other benefits like an employee discount? Determine how much value these other benefits are to you. In the event that your salary is less than expected, employee discounts and benefits may make up for it.
Don’t Negotiate Too Early
While your potential employer may bring up salary in the interview process, that’s not necessarily the time to negotiate. Rather, wait until a job has been offered. Attempting to barter on your salary during the job interview
could send the wrong message. It would appear that you’re only interested in the money rather than the job and experience. However, don't misunderstand: you can
talk about salary during the job interview, but don't start negotiation discussions.
Make Sure You’re Taken Care Of
While you shouldn’t overstep your bounds during salary negotiation, you also need to ensure that the offered salary is sufficient. Research the minimum wage for your location as well as similar salaries for the job and industry in which you hope to work. If the job offer does not include that you think you deserve, it’s ok to have a polite, yet frank conversation about minimum wage requirements or comparative salaries. You and the hiring manager can talk through it together so that you can either negotiate or understand how they came to their offer.
Conquering salary negotiations is the final hurdle in the job search process. It is vital to making sure you and your employer are on the same page for financial and work benefits. Preparing and practicing for your first salary negotiation
will help to guarantee that you start on your first day feeling cared for and valued.