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Careerminds

Got a Job Offer? Here’s How to Professionally Negotiate Your Salary

I don't have to tell you that job hunting is an arduous process. If you've been through one recently, then you know. Even once you secure an offer, the work is still not done. Or, at least it shouldn't be.

So many people avoid negotiating their salary and take whatever is offered because that's the most comfortable thing to do. But that’s not the best approach. I encourage you to go beyond what is comfortable to help you realize the benefits of speaking up and asking for what you deserve.

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I've coached several people through successful negotiations in the last few months using the dialogue below. It's very effective, and I'm excited to share it with you here! To make it even easier, I’ve broken it down into 4 easy-to-follow steps.

Step One: Try to  Delay the Topic

First, try to delay the conversation until the offer is made. If they ask you your salary requirements during the interview, or on a phone screen, say something like this:

“My number one priority now is to learn more about your organization and this role to determine if I’m the best match for your needs. Should an offer be extended, I’d be happy to negotiate with you at that time, and I’m confident we’ll be able to reach an agreement.”

This usually takes the conversation away from salary. However, If they insist on talking about it at that point, ask them to disclose the company’s range first.

Step Two: Find The Range 

Why find the range? Well, you don’t want to offer something too high and make the employer think they can’t afford you. On the other hand, you don’t want to offer something too low and miss out on a larger paycheck for yourself.

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It’s best to handle this by saying something along these lines:

“I’d be happy to negotiate with you. First, I’d like to have an idea of what the company has budgeted so I can negotiate within that range. What salary range is the company looking at?”

Saying this will ensure you can make a proper offer that is fair to both parties.

Step Three: Make a Ranged Offer

When you do disclose your offer, always give them a range and not a specific number. Come prepared with a range to quote. That range should be something that you know is realistic for that position and that you’d be comfortable accepting if they offered you.

You can find baseline information on Glassdoor and Salary if you are unsure.

Step Four: Know Your Comfort Zone

Always have your ideal number and your “deal breaker” number that you won't be below.

When you are accepting a position that pays less than you currently make, you can handle this by saying:

“Of course, compensation is important, but it’s not my only priority right now. I’m more concerned about finding a position that I can enjoy and grow in. If an offer is extended, I’m confident that we can reach a fair agreement on a salary that works for both parties.”

This helps keep the dialogue open for when for when it comes time to negotiate fully.  

When you get your next offer, try this easy-to-follow four step dialogue. I have used it personally and my clients have as well with great results! I wish you luck in your next interview.

Lorraine Rise has built her career on the practice of coaching others to succeed. She has hired, trained and mentored hundreds of employees and has supported the human resources and recruiting efforts at numerous firms in the Washington DC area. Lorraine is now the owner of WorkSmart Career Counseling, located in the Northern Virginia. She provides career coaching and resume writing to clients across the U.S. For more information, go to www.worksmartcounseling.com

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