Negotiating your salary can be awkward and challenging — and actually getting the pay you want often seems impossible.
But it isn’t.
“A job interview can be stressful, especially when it comes time to talk about money,” says etiquette expert and “Poised for Success” author Jacqueline Whitmore. “However, you can get what you want and deserve — most job seekers just aren’t sure when and how to ask for it.”
To master the delicate dance that is a salary negotiation, you need to be able to push without offending the hiring manager or undercutting yourself.
Here’s how the pros do it:
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Research the market.
To successfully negotiate your salary, negotiation expert Kim Keating writes in “Lean In For Graduates,” you’ll need to gather information to figure out what you’re really worth. “The time you invest can pay off in a big way. And I mean that literally,” she writes.
To protect yourself against accepting too little or asking for far too much, you can turn to sites like Glassdoor and Salary.com to determine the average compensation range for someone with your level of experience and skills and in your industry or company (or a comparable one, in terms of number of employees, revenue size, and location).
“At the end of the day, a candidate has a number in mind as to what they think they’re worth,” says Eddie R. Koller III, managing director and partner at Howard-Sloan-Koller Group, a technology and media recruiting firm. “But a company has limits to what they can spend.”
Set your goals in advance.
Once you know what you’re worth, decide how much you would like to make and what’s the lowest offer you’d be willing to accept.
Ivanka Trump, CEO of Ivanka Trump Collection, says knowing what you want to achieve before heading into a negotiation is “the golden rule” for negotiating — but most people ignore it.
“Without a plan, you allow the opposing party to define your goals instead of the other way around,” she writes on Motto.
Don’t talk money until the interview process is over.
If you can delay discussing pay until there’s an offer on the table, you should.
“Once they’ve decided that they have to have you, only then are you in the position to negotiate,” says Dan Martineau, president of Martineau Recruiting Technology, a firm specializing in IT executive positions.
If your interviewer tries to talk about salary early on, Martineau tells Business Insider that the best thing to do is to tell the interviewer you would like to defer a conversation about compensation until after the company has had a chance to evaluate whether you’re the right fit for them.