Prepping for Your Salary Negotiation

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Avoid Questions About Salary Expectations

Yes, an interviewer or negotiator will sometimes ask how much you expect to be paid. Such questions are nerve-racking: Throw out a ludicrously high number, and you might scuttle your chances of landing the position; but if you go too low, you might land the job only to find you’re not being paid what you’re worth.

When confronted with such questions, do your best to dodge. Suggest that you and the negotiator can arrive at “something that’s reasonable,” or that you expect to earn a salary appropriate for your skills.

In any case, do you absolute best to avoid talking numbers until the company makes you an offer with a hard salary attached to it. A similar logic applies to current employees asking for raises: Don’t bring up money or percentages until your employer offers something up.

Negotiation

When it’s time to talk, keep the following points in mind:

Justify Your Requests: Don’t ask—or offer—anything without evidence or suitable justification. Want another twenty grand in annual pay? Be prepared to explain to your employer how your specialized skills, connections, and worth ethic support that valuation.

Take a Good Deal: Sure, you could keep negotiating—but at a certain point, an employer’s patience will wear thin. Be prepared to concede on some points in order to get most of what you want. A good negotiator knows when to walk away from the table.

Stay Professional: Excessive emotion has no place in a salary discussion. It’ll just make people uncomfortable, and thus harder for you to effectively make your case.