Can you negotiate a higher salary on your own? Yes, but it will be more difficult. Hopefully you know what you’re doing because there’s a lot of emotion on both your side and the company’s side. As a candidate, you’re trying to get the best deal and so is the company. Unlike a real estate deal, the parties don’t part ways afterwards but are actually joined together, so it’s in both parties’ interests that the deal ends in a “win-win”. That’s why it’s best to have a middleman whose role is to make sure everyone is happy in the end.
Recruiters are better able to negotiate an offer simply because they have much more experience and know what to expect on both sides. The average person changes jobs about twelve times over the course of their career, while a recruiter might handle that many job offer negotiations every month or two. Here are some things to keep in mind during salary negotiations, whether or not you partner with a recruiter:
Make the Ask
Asking for more money is often uncomfortable, especially if you’re early on in your career. Remember that negotiations take place on practically every offer, so no one is going to think you’re rude or arrogant unless you’re being unreasonable.
Do Your Research
What’s your market value? Have this number established and be ready to back it up with facts. You lose all credibility if you ask for more but can’t justify it beyond “that’s what I want”. This intel can either be found with internet research or direct experience if you have peers taking similar jobs in similar companies. This is where a recruiter comes in handy because they usually know your market value without even having to think about it. Even better if they’ve worked with this company before as they may know exactly what this company would normally pay for this particular role.
Explain to your employer or potential employer how the position excites you but don’t be the first to throw out a number. If the salary is below what you expect, take the time to think it over and weigh the pros and cons. Sometimes they have valid reasons for not being able to pay what you want, usually internal equity – that is, they can’t pay you too much more than other people at your level. Sometimes smaller companies usually can’t pay as much as larger ones, and some industries tend to pay higher than other ones. In these cases, you can inquire about timing and amount of future raises. If you’re on the higher side of the experience level, you can ask if they can elevate the position to a higher salary grade. Either way, money is rarely the only important thing to you, so consider if the other positives about the company or role are worth taking slightly less in salary.
If you still think the offer is too low, make a counteroffer. This amount is one that you will accept if they can reach it, and you must tell them exactly that. They need to know that if they risk their neck and go back to the well to get you what you want, they won’t get it chopped off because you decline. If they won’t budge when you counteroffer, consider the possibility of walking away. Your best leverage is the willingness to vote with your feet if what you proposed is reasonable. It can be scary and difficult, but in the long run, you’ll be happy you didn’t settle for a less-than-ideal salary.
Partner with Talance
Negotiating can be a lengthy, difficult, and awkward process but it’s worth it to take control of your career. Contact the Talance Group in Houston, Texas at (713)-357-9565, or visit our website talancegroup.com for more industry insights or career help.