What you need to know about salary negotiations

Tamara Papo  |  September 21, 2017

Businesswoman listening to her workmate talking

Salary negotiation can be a very delicate and uncomfortable topic, but I decided to write about it as I get a lot of questions about the proper way to negotiate.

Whether you’re negotiating your salary for a new job or with your current employer, it can be quite daunting.

Here are some tips that will help ease the struggle to get the salary you deserve.

First, you have to know when it’s a good time for salary negotiation. Many job seekers make the mistake of asking about the salary too early in the interview process.

The right time to negotiate is when you are sure you will get the position.

Salary negotiations often start towards the end of the second interview and the most important thing is to be prepared for it.

Do your research. Try to determine the average salary of people in your field and in that particular organization. Resources could include current employees, online salary calculators, websites and directories of professional associations, government reports and industry-specific trade magazines.

If the discussion is headed towards salary, try to get the employer to mention a figure first.

If presented with: “What salary do you expect?” A good response may be: “You likely have a figure in mind that fits the responsibilities and requirements of the job. I would be interested in knowing what that figure is.”

You must also remember that you are not only negotiating salary. It is a good thing to ask about medical benefits, RRSP, vacation days, sick days, performance bonuses and all the other extras that might come with a new job.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to make sure that you ask to have everything in writing.

For example, this could apply if the employer states that he or she will give you a lower salary to start, but that it would likely increase after a three month review. Even if it’s less than you were hoping to make to start, you can agree but should mention that you’d like that in writing.

By doing so, you can be sure that the employer will keep their promise.

Don‘t feel hesitant and apprehensive about negotiating. It is a part of the process. Employers often prefer people who negotiate, as it show them that a candidate has good communication skills and confidence.

If negotiations are not going your way, you could propose working from home to exempt the employer from having to set up your office and hence accrue extra costs.

Whatever you do, improvise and be ready to adapt. Understanding what you are getting into when you start to negotiate for a salary is one thing, but being prepared for it is where these pointers come into play. Take this negotiation process seriously and only accept the position if you feel comfortable with the offer.

Tamara is the Career Services Specialist for University Canada West, which is located in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. The university offers both online and on-campus Bachelor of CommerceBachelor of Arts in Business Communication and MBA programs. The business-oriented university provides students with the experience to succeed in their careers and scholarships to recognize students’ academic excellence.

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