Executives negotiate millions to billions of dollars in their roles every day, but often fall short when it comes to negotiating their own salary, whether it is a promotion or for a new position.
Yes, you may have been job-hunting for 8 months and really, really want/need to be re-employed. No, you don’t have to take the first offer.
It starts at the pre-screen call
Negotiating your salary really starts with the interview, not the offer that may ultimately come your way. It may even start during the pre-screen phone call when the recruiter asks you, “What kind of salary are you currently making?” The rule of thumb is: the first person who talks dollars generally loses. There is no negotiation because you haven’t been offered the job yet. Revealing your salary at this point may eliminate you from the hiring process because it may be too high or too low, or may pigeon hole you into a salary level that you will not be satisfied with in the long run. It’s that simple at this stage.
It continues during the interview
If you pass the pre-screen call and get an interview appointment, don’t circumvent salary negotiations by stating what you are looking for in dollars. Never throw out the first number. If at the early stages of the interviewing process you are asked for your salary, you can delay the conversation by saying, “I would like to know more about the position and see if I’m a good fit with your organization before we address salary.” Or, “May we come back to salary once we have determined there’s a mutual fit?”
Find out the salary range
To help you negotiate, find out the salary range the company has in mind for the position. This may not have been posted with the job description or relayed to you previously. If the salary question comes up before the offer, and you feel confident enough, ask what salary range they are considering for the person they are hiring for this job. When they reveal that range, you can reply that your salary requirements are within that range. That doesn’t give anything away and leaves you room to negotiate when the official offer does present itself.
Keep a positive attitude
When you are offered the job and the salary falls short of your expectations, maintain your professionalism. Avoid any negative comments. Be direct, polite, and check your ego so that your response is genuine. You want to engage in negotiations that will have a positive result for both you and the company.