Suppose you sailed through an interview and finally landed on that dream job which you have always wanted. But as the HR runs through with you your compensation package, you realise that the starting salary figure is not what you had in mind. Or worse, it is significantly lower than what you had expected. What should you do then?
Undoubtedly, most of us would have been caught in a situation as such. While it is only natural to want to negotiate for a better starting pay, we are also aware of the risks associated with questioning the potential employer on the lower than expected salary – a negative first impression, a seemingly calculative new hire or worse, revoking of the job offer. As such, we tend to feel compelled to accept the job offer. After all, a job – albeit one with a lower starting pay – is better than no job right?
Wrong. In fact, as a job applicant, you can and definitely should negotiate for a better starting salary. Here are some ways to negotiate for a better starting pay smartly and without burning the bridges with your potential employer.
Do your due research
Even before you go for the interview at the prospective company, you should have already done your due research on the company and job that you are applying for. Have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities that the role involves as well as the appropriate market compensation package. There are plenty of online recruitment websites that publish pay ranges for certain jobs. While you might not be able to determine the exact market compensation package for a particular job, the pay ranges should provide you with a good gauge of how much other companies are compensating their employees for a similar role.
Ponder over the offer
Being offered the (dream) job can be exciting, particularly if you have been job hunting for some time. However, that does not necessarily mean that you have to accept any job offers that come along straightaway. Regardless of how generous the job offer might seem, request for time to consider it properly. Weigh in the pros and cons of accepting the job, including salary, benefits, culture, workload and career advancement, before considering whether a counter offer or salary negotiation is required. Most people tend to worry that asking for additional time to ponder over the job offer might result in the company withdrawing the job offer. However, that is rarely the case.
Show off a little
To get the salary that you desire, you will need to convince your prospective employer why you deserve it. When making your counter offer, list down your accomplishments and experience to make a strong case as to why you deserve a higher pay than the offer on paper. Demonstrate clearly how your experiences and skills can bring value to the company.
Look beyond dollars
Salary negotiation include more than the dollars and cents. Do remember to address other components of the compensation package – higher paid vacation leave, flexible hours, medical coverage of dependents or bonuses. Instead of merely asking of the sake of asking, justify to your prospective employer why you need this additional benefit. Could it be that you have to pick up your five-year-old daughter from daycare at 5:00pm every alternate days? Emphasize to your prospective employers at the very start that these are benefits which are important to you. Even if the answer is no, your prospective manager may eventually be open to granting you that flexible work schedule if you make a strong case about your situation.
Get everything on paper
Once you have reached an agreement with the HR and your prospective employer, be sure to get everything on the contract before you sign it. This is to avoid any nasty surprises once you start your new job.
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