Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.
After a lengthy job search, you finally landed an interview that you’re excited about. The company culture is an excellent fit, and the duties align perfectly with your career goals.
You’re eagerly anticipating the interview and want to understand how the position, flexibility, and compensation would fit into your life.
In fact, you’re ready to negotiate your salary on the spot to ensure the hiring manager knows how willing you are to move forward.
On one hand, it’s great that you’re ready to negotiate. A recent study reports that 58% of Americans accept the initial offer. That means they’re likely leaving money on the table.
This same study by Fidelity says that 85% of job seekers who offer a counter on salary get at least a portion of what they ask for.
When considering your conversation, however, it’s important to set yourself up for success by choosing the best place and time to negotiate salary, or risk losing the offer entirely.
The Best Time To Negotiate Salary
As a job seeker, you want to avoid a job that won’t pay you what you’re worth or meet your needs.
It’s tempting to launch that conversation during the interview. After all, you don’t want to waste time if the salary isn’t a fit.
However, there are better times to bring it up. Here’s why.
1. Dive Into Thorough Research First
You should never negotiate your salary before you’ve done your research. This means looking into the average salary for your position in your industry and location and considering factors like experience, education, and benefits.
Once you have this information, you’ll better understand what you should be asking for and what’s reasonable. Thorough research is key to ensuring that you’re setting yourself up for negotiation success.
Use a combination of the following tools to determine an appropriate salary range before beginning the conversation:
- Online resources: Several websites offer salary information, such as Payscale, Glassdoor, and Salary.com. You can filter data based on factors such as job title, location, and experience level.
- Job postings: Job postings for similar positions in your industry and location can give you a solid baseline. Pay attention to desired skill sets and how yours align.
- Recruiters: Recruiters in your industry might have insights on current market trends.
- Your network: Professionals in your industry may be willing to share typical salaries. Rather than ask about their personal salary, inquire about typical salary ranges.
2. Understand Your Salary Limits
Have you considered all of the factors that go into your salary and the benefits offered? Start with the minimum pay you can accept and still be able to meet your financial obligations and goals.
Along with that, you should determine a target salary that will make you feel like you’re earning your worth. Analyze your research and be honest about where your experience and skill set place you on the scale.
Once you have that, you can begin to factor in other considerations.
For instance, if the company is offering flexibility, is that worth taking a lower salary? Or, maybe they don’t provide any retirement benefits. In that case, your minimum might need to be higher.
3. Wait Until You Have a Firm Offer
It’s best to wait to launch your salary negotiations until a job offer has been extended. If you bring up salary too early, the hiring manager might only hear dollar signs.
Without time to get to know you, they might not appreciate the value that you offer.
Not only that, but discussing salary too soon can come across as presumptuous, putting you at a disadvantage in the hiring process.
4. Note the Average Time Frame
Clarify the deadline for your answer. A standard time frame is three to five business days, but verify if that’s the case for this particular company.
If not, you could be scrambling to make a decision without sufficient time to consider it.
The Best Place To Negotiate Salary
Once you’ve got a plan for when to negotiate your salary, you’ll need to determine the best place for your discussion.
1. Choose To Negotiate in Person When Possible
Negotiating salary in person can be the most effective way to communicate your value and build a personal connection with your potential employer.
It allows for a more nuanced conversation and can help you read the other person’s body language and reactions.
Additionally, in-person salary negotiations allow you to showcase your professionalism and confidence, which can leave a lasting impression on the employer.
2. Utilize Phone Conversations When Needed
If an in-person meeting isn’t possible, negotiating salary over the phone can also be effective. While negotiating via email may seem convenient, conveying tone and enthusiasm through written communication can be difficult.
A phone call allows for real-time conversation and allows you to ask questions and get immediate feedback.
However, it’s important to remember that negotiating over the phone can be more challenging than in-person negotiations, as you won’t be able to read body language or facial expressions.
To prepare for a phone negotiation, ensure you have a clear idea of what you want to say and your goals. Consider role-playing with a friend or family member to practice your negotiation skills beforehand.
3. Get It in Writing No Matter What
Although your negotiations should be done in person, always remember to get it in writing. Even if it’s to follow up with an email after your meeting to thank your interviewer again for their time, you’ll want to ensure you have a paper trail of your conversation.
Put all agreed-upon salary terms in writing to ensure you and the hiring manager are on the same page. You’ll also have something to refer to if needed.
Negotiating the Salary You Deserve
Negotiating your salary can be nerve-racking, but getting paid what you’re worth is essential to your career happiness and potential.
Do your research so you understand the market value for your position. Know when and where to negotiate your salary, and you can set yourself up for success in the negotiation process.