It is never easy to negotiate a higher starting salary or a pay rise. Whether you want, or desperately need, to earn more money, it doesn’t change the fact that asking for it can be awkward, stressful, and completely nerve-wracking.
It’s all good and well having someone tell you that “greed is good”, but not everyone is Gordon Gekko. If you were raised not to be greedy, and to put the benefits of others ahead of your own, then it can be difficult to know where to begin when it comes to asking for more money.
And if you absolutely believe that you deserve a better level of compensation, then it is in your interests to go out and get it. By not doing so, you could appear to be something of a pushover, taken for granted, or even deemed to be expendable.
So, to make negotiating an increased salary that little bit more straightforward, keep these tips in mind:
1. You Need to Make The Ask
When you sit down with an interviewer, you should keep in mind that it is completely expected for you to negotiate from the first salary offer.
Typically, the interviewer will be ready for this, and they’ll have a bit of wiggle room when it comes to arriving at a salary that works for you both.
As the old saying goes, if you don’t ask, you don’t get. And if you walk out of the room having accepted the first offer, you should know that you’re almost certainly leaving money on the table. Money that could be going straight into your pocket instead.
2. You Should Frame Your Request
When negotiating a pay rise, be sure to set the context.
Keep the focus on your future value to your organisation. Don’t get hung up on past performance. The company is unlikely to reward you for all the good you did previously if they don’t see this increasing in the future.
And don’t talk about the reasons behind asking for the raise in the first place (mortgage, kids, etc.) or complain about what others are being paid in your position. These will likely fall on deaf ears.
Instead, talk about what you can deliver for your company, and, most importantly, how you are going to go about achieving this.
3. You Have to Schedule a Time
Don’t pop out from behind the water cooler and point blank ask for a raise. That isn’t going to play out too well for you, and your boss probably won’t be open to any further salary talks for quite some time.
Rather, schedule a time to meet up and talk about your salary expectations. Allow them time to prepare, and give yourself some time to prepare too. That way, when you do sit down together, you will have all the bases covered, without any awkward surprises.
4. You Shouldn’t Make Threats
You might feel that you’re irreplaceable in your role. And you might think that this is the ultimate bargaining chip when the time comes to ask for a higher salary. But you really shouldn’t threaten to leave if your demands aren’t met.
All this will serve to do is call into question your loyalty and character, which isn’t ideal when the opportunity does arise to move on to pastures new and you’re looking for a letter of recommendation.
Instead, make a positive case for why you deserve the pay rise, while showing that you understand and appreciate the value the company is able to offer you beyond a wage packet.
5. You Should Be Prepared to Hear ‘No’
Hearing “what’s the worst that can happen?” might make your imagination run wild, but in all honesty, so long as you haven’t been confrontational in your request, the worst thing you will hear is “no.”
As with every kind of negotiation, there will be times when one party does not get what they want. If this happens to you, you must be prepared for it. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Instead, ask when would be a good time to revisit your request, and then make sure you follow up.
Remember, by just asking to discuss your salary, you’ve planted the seed. That “no” can still be turned into a “yes” at a later date if you continue to prove your worth. Speaking of which…
Bonus Tip: Know Your Market Value
To ensure you are negotiating from a position of strength, it’s beneficial to understand your market value in terms of similar roles within similar organisations.
You could dive into countless job market studies to try and pinpoint what someone with your skills, education, and work history should be earning, but there is a simpler option.
Using ValueMyCV from Adzuna, you can upload your CV and receive an estimate of your average market value. Perfect for the next time you’re sat round the negotiating table weighing up an offer.