When you’re finally down to the wire on your impending job offer, there will come a time to talk numbers, says Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job.”
“That one last conversation — where you negotiate salary — can unnerve even the most savvy job seeker.”
If you’re wondering how much to ask for in a salary negotiation without leaving a bad taste in the employer’s mouth or losing the job offer, you’re not alone.
“Many job candidates don’t know what to ask for and end up leaving money on the table. You don’t have to be one of them,” Taylor says. “You’d be well served in your career to become comfortable with the process. You get one chance to accept a final compensation package at your company, so be prepared to make a persuasive argument.”
So how do you stay true to your target without alienating the hiring manager or hurting your prospects?
First, to prepare for that discussion, you’ll want to do your research ahead of time and figure out what someone with your experience and skills typically makes in this particular role.
Once you hear their offer and it’s time to negotiate, you should keep those numbers in mind, “but also consider the nature of the first offer and how much bargaining power you think you have,” Taylor says. And think about whether you’re currently under- or overpaid.
As a general rule of thumb, however, it’s usually appropriate to ask for
10% to 20% more than what you’re currently making.
That means if you’re making $50,000 a year now, you can easily ask for $55,000 to $60,000 without seeming greedy or getting laughed at.
“If the original offer is on the low side of the scale, you have more leverage,” Taylor explains. “If you get an offer for 20% over your current salary, you can still negotiate for more — ask for an additional 5% — but know that you’re already in good stead.”
The bottom line: Do the maths (and your research!) beforehand — know what a 10% to 20% pay increase would total, and what the going rate for someone with your skills is — and ask for that amount. Worst case scenario, the employer says “no.”
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