21 tips to negotiate your salary more effectively

By Sharika S Nair|4th Apr 2017
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Negotiating for a higher pay may not be the most comfortable things to do. Whether you are starting a new job or eyeing an increment at your present one, negotiating your salary is mandatory, if you do not want to feel lousy later.

Imagine this. You and your friend or colleague started along the same path. You truly believe that you both had similar journeys and career paths, just that your colleague or friend knew his or her worth and had the guts to negotiate for a hike. Wouldn’t you be left feeling miserable thinking that you too deserve better?

Well, to avoid such a situation, and of course to reward yourself for what you are truly capable of, here are 21 tips to keep in mind while negotiating your salary:

Explaining your previous salary

This can be a tricky task, especially if you are asked your current salary. Always mention the exact number, and in case you are underpaid, explain why you deserve the value you are quoting. Also emphasise on your skills and previous work. Tell them how you can be of value to the company and how you are expecting to grow.

Do some research

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Get enough knowledge about the market and how much pay you deserve. Also study the industry that you are working in and find out what people of your level usually look out for. There are several sites that help you analyse your salary. It would also be a good idea to get in touch with recruiters for a casual discussion to see what they offer potential clients with similar skill sets.

Understand the current state of the company

Know about the company’s situation well in advance – the investors, revenues, how much they intend to shell out in the coming financial year etc. If the situation of the company isn’t too rosy, then it wouldn’t be practical to negotiate for a very big hike. Instead, ask about considering other alternatives like more vacation days off or better projects along with a small percentage increase in your salary.

Time it perfectly

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You wouldn’t want to bring up the topic about your salary right before a client presentation or big pitch. Also, it wouldn’t be appropriate if you speak about it in case a potential investor backed out. Ensure that your boss or recruitment manager is also in the perfect state of mind to listen to you. This will also increase your chances of getting heard.

Do not approach them antagonistically

At the end of the day everyone wants to be benefitted, and no one is out there to get you. Keep this in mind and think about the whole discussion as a partnership rather than a battle field.

Talk about your performance

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This is the best way to explain why you think you deserve a raise. Speak about how you exceeded expectations and completed your tasks. Mention how having you in the company is beneficial and in which areas.

Do not use your previous salary as a starting point

Unless and until you are still associated with the same job and don’t feel anything has changed for you in terms of work, do not mention your previous salary. Negotiate based on your projects and performance that you have showcased during the year.

Be polite and firm

Always be polite and professional in your interactions. Express your gratitude for the time and never lose your cool. However, be firm and express your disproval if any in the most dignified manner.

Put yourself in their shoes

While negotiating, think about the person sitting on the other side of the table. While speaking to them, it is best that you look into their interests and viewpoints as well. When you do so, you will open up opportunities for both of you. It also gives the impression that you are seriously considering what benefits you as well as the company.

Give the employer the first chance

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Never be the first person to mention your salary specifics. Chances are that you will quote a small number, lesser than what you actually deserve. The better option will be to wait for your employer to tell what he is willing to offer. Based on that, you could get back later as well, after giving it a thought.

Speak with confidence

Always appear to be confident and positive. Dress up well and stick to the dress code if the company has any. If not, then make efforts to groom yourself well in advance. It shows professionalism and also shows that you are serious.

Speak about your future objectives

Mention what you have in store for the company and how you would like to carry it forward. This will show your vision not only for you but for the company as well.

Rehearse what you want to say

Prepare what you intend on saying. Sound confident and present yourself well. Be prepared for questions. Even if the response isn’t going to be in the affirmative favour, be prepared for it.

Never negotiate on an empty stomach

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Make sure that you have a good meal and prepped up. You wouldn’t want to feel hungry and appear groggy and irritated. The after-effects will reflect on you and you won’t be able to concentrate on the task at hand.

Consider other perks

If the salary isn’t within the company’s range and they can’t offer the same immediately, have a list of perks or other benefits that you may put forward. Vacation time, work-from-home, and flexible timings may be some options that you would like to consider.

Avoid mentioning personal needs

Saying things like the rent has hiked up or fuel prices are on a rise isn’t going to validate anything. These are issues faced by everyone in the organisation and mentioning it will just look like you lack valid points to bring to the table.

Justify and be specific

There should always be some reasoning behind what you are saying. You might also want to mention the city or location that you are currently based out of to justify your salary negotiations. Be specific about the numbers you suggest and stick to it.

Be an active listener

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Paying attention to what others have to say is mandatory if you want your viewpoints to be heard as well. It shows that you are someone who values and respects others. This also shows that you are interested in looking into options that will make you and your employer happy.

Be prepared for questions

Think about what you can possibly be asked and also how you will answer them. For each time you negotiate, you will be asked to justify it and also maybe give proof. It is a good thing if your employer counter-questions you. This shows that he or she is seriously considering your argument.

Be patient

Be patient and wait for the final decision after your discussion. Also, during the discussion wait for a while after you speak and allow the person to comment as well. It shows professionalism and maturity.

Analyse your takeaways from the negotiation

Even if you aren’t going to get the raise you expected immediately, you will learn a lot. This will help you in the future while negotiating. So while you are back home contemplate over what all was discussed and how you handled it.

Phew! Maybe all this seems like a lot of hard work. True, it isn’t easy but honestly it’s totally worth it. You actually aren’t going to lose anything but you do gain a lot.