5 Tips for Getting a Higher Starting Salary

Original Post: http://www.frugalhabits.net/2012/10/5-tips-to-getting-a-higher-salary-at-your-next-new-job/
Tip #1 – Don’t give out your current salary if at all possible

The first thing most companies will do is try to figure out what you are getting paid today. Their intent, obviously, is to do everything possible to minimize what they have to pay you. When they know your previous salary and decide to offer you the job, they are going to base their offers to you off of that salary in order to minimize their expense, even if the proper rate for that position is 10k-15k higher.

So, if at all possible, kindly state you don’t wish to give this information out unless it excludes you from the running. If they insist, and you still really want the job, make sure you include all your extras like bonuses, special retirement benefits, and your gross salary before taxes. Next, you can have a little fun by watching for their offer, it will usually be 5% more than your current salary.

Tip #2 – When asked the desired salary before the offer, be ambiguous 

A lot of companies will ask you for your desired starting salary, either in the application or during the initial interview. When this question comes, I always have a prep answer in order to avoid giving out a number. By giving out a number you lock yourself into that number and will have a hard time negotiating more.

My prep answer is always simple and goes like this, “I want the industry standard’s compensation for the position based on my experience and skillset.” If they ask what this amount is, say you want to do more research to determine the correct salary range after you learn more about the position, and that you don’t have a good answer right now.

The goal here is to not give out a number and lock yourself in. You want to be able to negotiate freely when you get to point when they offer you the job.

Tip #3 – Know the correct salary range for the position

The idea here is to know the industry salary standard for the position you are applying for. What you are looking for is a salary range of the position. Don’t just look for the highest salary out there and go with that as it could be an anomaly. You want to make sure you are getting the correct range based on the title, location, and your qualifications.

A good place to start on this is salary.com. You can search the salary wizard to determine the proper salary by job title, location, and your qualifications (like education and experience). What I love about this, is that it gives you an appropriate range to go by and the mean salary of that position.

You goal now is simple… shoot for a starting salary above the mean if at all possible.

Tip #4 – Ask for the salary range of the position

Another tip for getting the best salary is to ask the employer for the salary range. Every employer has this range back in the HR database, but they will rarely give it out.

Only one company I’ve worked for in the past has been open enough to give it out to me. This was great, because I could get a lock on what the average salary was for the position at that company specifically, and could use this as a reference point during salary negotiations.

Tip #5 – Negotiate yourself above the mid-point of the salary range

Here’s the key, my main goal when negotiating a starting salary is to never come in on the low end of the range. This is my cardinal rule that I will never break. The reason I have this rule is because I know I will “ticked off” one year later when I am performing at the same level (if not higher) than my peers – but getting paid on the low end of the scale.

My intent when negotiating my salary is to use my research and the company’s salary range (if they give it out) to put myself into the top 50% of the range. I use two main methods to make this happen…

First, I make requests and not demands. The first thing you will receive when being offered the job is a starting salary. I always thank them for the offer and say I am excited about the new opportunity but need time to analyze it.

I will then follow up the same or next day with my requests. It’s important that you always come across as grateful for the opportunity, at the same time making requests for more. If you need an example, my exact language is usually like this… “Thank you for the job offer and I’m very excited about the position, but I would like to make a request for a salary of X with a starting bonus of X”.

It is important to understand you are not going to get anything unless you ask. Most employers are expecting you to ask, so if you’re scared, you’re going to have to just “cowboy up”, push through the fear, and make it happen.

Second, I’m honest with them about my intent and reasons for these requests. In other words, always have a reason for the requests you are making.

I always tell the employer that my desire is to come in above the mid-point as I know I will perform at a high level and be valuable to the company in a short amount of time. I explain that I don’t want to be stuck in the lower half of the salary range, when I’m performing at such a high level, as I want to prevent myself from becoming disgruntled in the future.

Final Thoughts…

Every employer I’ve used these steps on has understood and come back with meeting my requests or at least a higher offer to consider… so it’s safe to say I’ve been happy with the results.

Its important to understand that the employer is expecting you to negotiate and that you will not maximize your salary without doing a little negotiation. The best way to negotiate is with facts, so research is critical in winning them over to your desired compensation.

By Sriramjithendra Posted in Others

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