Salary Negotiation: Aren’t You Worth It?
“Please Sir, I Want Some More?”
When thinking about negotiating salaries, I’m reminded of the musical OLIVER! when young Oliver stands in front of Mr. Bumble with his porridge bowl to ask for a second helping
Oliver! Directed by Carol Reed (1968)
It can be frustrating and awkward to negotiate salaries when being offered a position. On one hand, you might feel as though you’re lucky enough to have a job in this market, and so it is best just to accept the initial offer. On the other hand…aren’t you worth it, plus some!?
There might be some truth that jobs are scarce in this market, but don’t sell yourself short or make excuses because of the country’s current economic status. Measure your monetary assessment for the prospective position by considering your experience in that field as well as your personal financial needs.
Don’t Touch the ‘Emergency Money’ Fund
It isn’t fun living check to check, and even if you have a savings account with ‘emergency money,’ if you aren’t making enough to cover your basic living expenses, that savings will start dwindling quickly.
Sit down and take an account of all your monthly expenses including your rent/mortgage payment, car payments, insurance, phones, internet, television, electric and power, water, and anything else you pay on a monthly basis. (Obviously in duel income homes and adjustments for child expenses, the amount needed will differ.) By taking a moment to calculate your monthly expenses, you can base your salary needs on that number (multiplied by 12). Also account for your ability to put a small amount in your savings account each month. This practice will get you out of the rut of anxiety that comes when your monthly bills show up in the mail.
Know Your Worth
Now that you’ve covered the basics, you can also consider the salary for this position by looking up the pay that would be offered to this same position in another company. A quick Google search can provide average salaries for most job titles. See if you have any negotiation leverage by knowing what someone else in your position might make.
Popping the Question
If you’re accepting an offer for a position from a company, you want to be sure the marriage between you and this corporation is a healthy one. Like any other marriage, keep the communication open. Ask your potential employer if there is any room for negotiation on the salary.
In many situations, there will be some negotiation room for the salary being offered. The employer wants you as a part of their team because they’ve decided that you would be an added asset, adding value to the company. The employer also has a budget that they need to stay in, so the negotiation comes from weighing the value you add against the budgetary restrictions.
One job I applied for, early in my journey, required that I filled out a paper application along with sending my resume. Right there on the application was this question:
What is the least yearly salary you would accept?_______________________
Being new to the interviewing world, I figured they really wanted to know my lowest number that I would consider, so without allowing for any kind of pad, I wrote it down and sealed my fate. I was offered the position, but it was at my LOWEST considered salary…lesson learned.
The bottom line is that if you’ve been offered a position, the company has chosen you out of all the other candidates. That being said, there is always a bit of wiggle room for salary negotiation. Don’t feel awkward or afraid to ask, they are in the same boat hoping that you will accept their offer.