How To Negotiate A Higher Salary
If you are actively exploring new job opportunities and don’t plan on making more money, then pause for a second and let us show you how. In the current economy, we live in a candidate’s market throughout most business sectors. Whether you are in an hourly position in the hospitality industry, or a highly paid senior engineer, most companies are having a difficult time hiring qualified employees.
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With that being said, it is still very important to pick your spots when negotiating, and do so in a way that creates a win for both yourself and your new employer. Working with a recruiter can certainly help this negotiation process as they can act as the “middle-man,” and advocate on your behalf, while at the same time letting you know if you are pushing too hard or asking for more than is fair.
For most job seekers however, a recruiter may not be involved and you might not have the benefit of someone guiding you through the process. Below are 3 key areas that are the easiest to negotiate in the current economic environment, and simple directions explaining how to achieve these 3 ways to negotiate a better deal.
10% Salary Increase – Most employers expect to pay new recruits about 10% more than they were making in their previous job. While there are certainly exceptions, you should feel confident in asking for 10% more salary as long as it is within the general guidelines for that position. Companies do however get very uncomfortable when new candidates start asking for drastically higher salaries, as they may feel like they are overpaying and being treated unfairly. So, unless there is a specific reason for asking for 20% to 50% more than your current salary, it is usually an easy sell to request compensation 10% higher than your current/last job.
Note: In some states and municipalities, it is now against the law for employers to ask your current compensation. This strategy should still be useful, and when you ask for a specific salary target, you can always legally volunteer that your current salary is “X” and you would really like to be about 10% higher to make the job change. When handled this way, it works almost every time.
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More Vacation Time – If you are like most typical Americans, you likely get about 2 weeks paid vacation per year. Though not everyone actually takes all of their vacation time (though you should, but that’s another topic), it is usually very easy to negotiate an extra week’s vacation. This works best if you’ve been in the working world for at least 10 years as many people build up more vacation time after so many years with one company. If you currently get more vacation time than you were offered in your new job offer, don’t be afraid to ask for that extra week. Research shows that this is the most commonly accepted negotiated item, and one of the easiest to get.
Note: Many candidates like to finalize a salary negotiation first, and then let the employer know that they are happily accepting, although they’d like to match their current 3 week vacation allowance if possible. In most cases employers agree to this with the exceptions being when there are strict fairness policies where everyone gets the exact some amount of vacation time and they don’t want inequality between co-workers.
Signing Bonus – A signing bonus can be small or large depending on the individual, but one really common reason for a signing bonus is to help cover COBRA health insurance or Gap insurance between leaving your current job and when your new benefits kick in. Additionally, when there is a firm ceiling on the salary by the company, sometimes as a consolation, instead of meeting your salary requirement, you can negotiate a one time signing bonus. While you won’t repeat that the next year, it is a great way to get more compensation when you run into a wall over salary limits.
Note: This topic varies the most position to position. Nursing has recently been in high demand, and many hospitals were paying $10,000 signing bonuses to attract new nurses. This should be commensurate with the supply & demand for your particular skill set, as the dollar amount should be in line with your compensation levels. While a CEO might get $100,000 signing bonus, most of us are not going to be quite in that arena. Sometimes a $500 signing bonus can be a nice little add on even when you plan to accept the job either way.