How to Negotiate a Salary for a New Job

Asking a boss for a raise is typically very stressful. It need not be. Asking a potential boss for a salary higher than he or she is offering can be even more trying if you really need that job. Winning a negotiation over a starting salary does not mean the loser must feel that he or she has lost. The art in negotiating is the creation of mutual value. The true objective is an agreement in which both parties have a vested interest.

Here's how to negotiate a salary for a new job like a pro.


Establish the Offer Parameters

Once compensation discussions start the first thing to do is to see what the company is offering in terms of salary, benefits and other compensation. This will give you a complete picture of the potential offer. If there are additional items you expected to see in an offer package you can always ask if they were overlooked. At this point you are just compiling data. Depending on the job, the information may be provided as a range. One thing you should do is ask for the company's compensation range for the specific position. This will tell you a little about their flexibility in the offer and your upside income potential if you are hired.

Conflict is Not Part of a Negotiation for a Salary for a New Job.

Conflict occurs when two or more people compete over a commodity. This can be anything. Land, money, a woman, a man, the baseball bat or the last piece of cake are all commodities likely to cause conflict. But a salary negotiation for a new job is not a fight over a commodity. The company is looking to minimize its expense in the hire. You are looking to maximize your potential in taking a job. What you have to offer is time, talent and potential. They offer income, benefits and future potential. At this point both parties have agreed on the ultimate outcome provided the salary negotiations can be resolved. That is a significant aspect of any negotiation. Both parties now want the same thing!

Change the Negotiating Environment Strategically

Knowing at this point that you both want the same end result, you can relax and seek ways to make the other person more comfortable with the process, with you and with his or her decision to hire you. Instead of an antagonistic environment you want the discussions to become mutually supportive and respectful. Make an effort to recognize the pressures the company faces n its hiring practices and seek ways to assuage such impact my reselling your credentials or capacity to handle more than the specific job description. Suggest that they are hiring not only someone to do the job in question but to grow with the company and take on far great responsibilities. You are their investment in the future. This shift in mood exudes confidence on your part and may make your salary requests more palatable.

Establish Your Value

Job applicants are readily available. If you have made it to the stage where you are discussing salary you are doing very well. Now is the time when you slow down, take a few moments to resell your unique assets for the company. Note that I said the company and not just the job. Sure you can do the job. That is why you are talking salary. But you have more to offer. You are looking for a future with the company. Once they have trained you, you will be a valuable asset they won't want to lose. Your addressing why you are seeking a position with this particular company for long term reasons will enhance your potential value to them and improve your ability to seek a higher salary or more benefits.

Be Creative When Structuring a Compensation Package

Salary is important but it is only one portion of a compensation package. Seek benefits that are meaningful to you such as medical coverage, dental coverage, 401k matching contributions, stock option, a company car, and / or a company mobile phone. All these items add value to you and also become leverage when you go to another company. At that time you can indicate the total package you are getting and require it be improved upon to get your attention.

Be Patient When Negotiating

This is an important negotiation. You job will consume at least 30% of your waking hours. You need to like the job and you need to feel adequately compensated for doing it. That means at the onset you should be patient and make sure you do the best possible job getting the right package for you. That includes an opportunity for advancement either with our without the company. It is your career and each step should be carefully planned and executed.