As a job seeker in this economy, it can be a challenge competing against all the candidates in your industry. When you do find a position that suits your needs, the next step is negotiating salary. What is the best way to go about it without taking too low of a salary but not going too high that the employer chooses another candidate?
Bill Humbert, author of “RecruiterGuy’s Guide to Finding a Job,” offers his advice for job seekers.
“As people who have been looking for work a long time start to get back into the work force, many of them are so happy just to get a job that they sometimes accept a lower salary than they have to,” says Humbert. “Some employers feel that they can probably get away with a lowball offer, and many job hunters will grab it just so they can have a job. The truth is there are ways to get the job and still get what you want.”
Working as a recruiting consultant for corporations, Humbert has firsthand experience and understands how companies compute salary. His tips include:
- Avoid providing salary requirement. When companies ask for your salary requirements on the application, it is usually the first test, which can be used against you. Humbert recommends putting “open” in the salary part. Instead of giving a past salary amount, inquire about the salary range of the open position.
- Avoid writing down too much information. If the application asks for a past job salary, write, “willing to discuss at appropriate time during interview process” and leave out the numbers.
- Avoid negotiating salary during the interview. When the hiring manager requests your salary amount, Humbert suggests saying that you don’t know until you find out about all the job requirements and the possibility of promotion over the next few years. Then you can discuss your “impacts” — or what Humbert refers to as your job’s responsibilities that influence the company’s end result. That way, you have a chance to discuss your strengths that can be beneficial to the company.
- Don’t stop looking. Continue to network until you have formally accepted the offer.
- Ask for clarification on the offer. Before you accept the offer, Humbert recommends going through the logistics once more and even asking for more flexibility when it comes to perks or vacation time.
“Keep in mind that salary negotiation is more art than science, so these tips may not always apply,” says Humbert. “Many hourly workers don’t have as much flexibility on pay, and some companies have policies that would require you to adjust the script a little to fit those situations.
“Remember that they are interviewing you because they need to fill that position. It’s important to the company to have someone in that job, and while they are considering you, they aren’t doing you a favor. They need what you have to offer, so you should get the best offer out of them that is possible.”