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Preparing for a Successful Salary Negotiation

You’re on the fast track to a job offer, and your prospects look bright. You wrote an excellent resume, crushed your first few rounds of interviews, and it seems like you’ll be having a conversation about salary rates within the next few days. Your employers may deliver the job offer with a flat salary, as in “This job will pay 50,000 per year plus standard health insurance benefits.” Or they may present the number in a way that’s clearly open to negotiation, as in “How does 50,000 sound to you?” or “Let’s talk about salary…What would you consider a fair offer?”

In all cases, recognize that you always have the option to respond with a counteroffer. And under almost every circumstance, it’s wise to ask for at least 24 hours to think over the offer before you respond. When you’re ready to reopen the conversation, keep these tips in mind.

1. Conduct research.

Go online and determine the average salary rate for this position, in this geographic area, at your level of experience. Then determine the average for similar positions in other industries. Use several sites, not just one ( and are great places to start).

2. Recognize the metrics that generate this number.

As far as your employers are concerned, your salary is based on only two factors: 1. How replaceable you are, and 2. The amount of money you make for the company. But if you let these two metrics provide the final number, that number won’t represent what your time is worth. You also need to factor in your own metrics– For example, the length of your commute, the sacrifices you’ll be making for this job, the other opportunities you’re passing up in order to accept this one, and the other things you’d rather be doing with your time.

3. Don’t ask, state.

Keep your body posture, your voice, and your nonverbal gestures in line with your core position: You’re worth money. Lots of money. If you cringe, apologize, shrink your body into the smallest possible space, perch at the edge of your chair, or allow yourself to believe that this offer is an act of benevolence or charity, you’ve already lost. A tip: Pause for several full seconds after your employer speaks. Don’t rush in to fill the silence.

4. Get specifics.

When you receive the offer in writing, look carefully over the details of your perks, benefits, and health insurance plan if this will be part of the offer. Don’t contact your employers again until you’re ready. Above all, don’t allow yourself to be rushed through the process.

For more on how to use your language, gestures and research get the salary offer you need and deserve, contact the staffing and job search experts at Cordia.