You’ve got the job and love the opportunity—but you don’t love the salary offer. What’s the best way to negotiate a better salary in this economy?
By Laura Schlereth
In these tough economic times, many people are happy just to have a job. However, don’t set your expectations too low. In fact, it’s because of this poor economy that companies want only the best talent and many are willing to pay you what you’re worth.
Lee E. Miller, author of Get More Money On Your Next Job … In Any Economy and co-founder of YourCareerDoctor’s.com, says that the economy becomes irrelevant if they’ve offered you the job. “Once they decide to hire you, there are no other candidates,” he says. If they really want you, they will pay extra to hire you. You just need to negotiate properly.
Mitesh Lakhani, Group CEO of Reliable Group, a business management software and IT service provider, agrees that although an employer may be looking to save money right now, they want you to be happy when you join their team. “You never want an employee to sign on for a job where they’re uncomfortable with the salary,” he says. “It’s disadvantageous to everyone.” Plus, Lakhani adds, the main factor employers are trying to control right now is not money but risk. If you show that you will be a solid, low-risk employee who will accomplish a great deal—especially if you have a proven track record of bringing more money for your past employers—you will get the position and the salary you deserve.
So what is the right way to ask? Remember that etiquette depends on your skill level and industry, but here are some general tips to negotiate for your ideal salary, in a not-so-ideal economy.
When Do You Ask?
Miller says to always wait for the employer to bring up salary. However, if the job listing demands a salary requirement for your application to be considered, Miller recommends stating a vague number, such as mid $50,000, but include that it’s negotiable and that you’d rather discuss it in person. He recommends not putting a range because it may be saying that you’ll take the lower end.
However, Lakhani disagrees and says a range doesn’t set anything in stone. He says a range may imply you’ll go for the lower salary if you have an excellent benefits package, but that you would prefer the higher salary if the benefits aren’t as strong.
What Should You Ask?
A common question job seekers have is: Should you put a higher salary than you expect because the company is likely to meet you in the middle? Miller says you can so long as it’s “within the realm of reason.” Aim for the top of the rational realm of what you think you deserve.
Lakhani says stating a higher figure than the company’s hoping for won’t automatically discount you as long as you bring something truly stellar to the table. If it’s sustainable in this economy, it’s negotiable. Lakhani says it happens often at his company.
However, should you possibly go lower than normal because of the economy? Miller says you gain no advantage in selling yourself cheap. “They want employees that can add value,” he says. “Companies will pay for talent.”
Dr. Rick Goodman, author of Living a Championship Life: A Game Plan for Success and business consultant to companies like AT&T and Heineken, says that this current economic climate is when it’s especially important to research your industry. The healthcare industry is booming right now and might be more receptive to an increase, but he says not to expect much from the retail industry, which is suffering right now.
Most Importantly: How Do You Ask?
The approach is critical. Miller says that your tone should be about asking and not demanding. You want to create uncertainty but don’t have a blatant attitude of “it’s this or I walk,” Miller says.
Make two things clear: you really want the job and you think you’re worth the increase for specific reasons.
Miller recommends emphasizing how excited you are for the opportunity and how much you want to work for the company because they’ll assume you’ll be a hard worker. “They’re going to want to hire someone who wants the job but doesn’t actually need that job,” Miller says.
Goodman says to state what you’ll bring to the company and what you’ve brought to companies in the past. If you can justify the increase, you’ll likely get it, Goodman says.
Goodman recommends using wording such as: “Mr. Jones, I spent a lot of time reviewing your proposal. Thank you for this outstanding offer, but based on my experience and what I bring to the table, I feel my services are worth closer to $X.”
Do you bring up the economy? Lakhani says you shouldn’t unless you are explaining how you will exceed that company’s expectations at a low risk. “In a difficult economy, it is more important to find your differentiating factors and expose them to the employer,” he says. Miller says to only bring it up in how you can help the company during the difficult times.
The company may be unable to meet your salary expectations right now. But Goodman says you should not be afraid to ask about the potential for a raise in the future. He highly recommends asking when your first performance review will be.
Dr. Rick Goodman speaks from real -Life experiences and achieves great results! Dr Rick’s newest book Living a Championship Life “A Game Plan for Success”
Dr. Rick Goodman is a professional speaker and author who will give your audience specific tools and systems that get great results. Dr. Rick also works with organizations that want to Develop Great Leaders “Through Excellence in Communication and Team Building”. For more information on Rick’s speaking programs Consulting Programs and Training programs contact (888) 267-6098 or Rick@rickgoodman.com or on the web at www.rickgoodman.com