It takes courage and planning to successfully negotiate your salary for a new job or a salary increase in your existing role. In fact, it might be even more nerve-wracking to ask for a raise than it is to negotiate for a new position. Negotiation is not only critically important, but it is also often underutilized by most professionals. In fact, Linda Babcock did a study for her book Women Don’t Ask where she found that about 7% of women attempted to negotiate, while 57% of men did.
Even though there is obviously a desperate need for women to take ownership and ask - even men do not completely feel comfortable in the negotiation process. The reluctance in women to negotiate can be attributed to feelings of self-doubt, self-confidence issues, or concerns about social repercussions. Because negotiation can be very stressful, I've included a few easy tips to ensure that your salary negotiation experience is as positive for you as possible.
1. Understand & Articulate Your Value
In order to articulate your value to be persuasive in interviews or negotiation situations, I recommend that every professional develop an Impact Inventory. Keep a file of all of your ‘wins’, kudos, thank you emails or anything that is a testimonial to your career contributions. Specific examples of your professional impact provide solid evidence to back up that you deserve the best and why.
While hard work and dedication are important, it's challenging to ask for a raise "because I deserve it" or "because I work hard". It's best to have tangible data in the form of impact stories as to WHY you deserve an increase (or the best fit for a new job) that outlines your unique value proposition (UVP). This also removes any doubts that you might have to brag. You aren’t bragging, you are only stating facts!
Research also shows that women perform better (e.g., negotiate higher salaries) when their role is to advocate for others as opposed to negotiating for more for themselves. - Hannah Riley Bowles | Harvard Business Review
2. Research and Evaluate Your Salary Range
I'm sure that you are already aware, but understanding where you fall in your expected salary range is important for negotiation. You can do research on Glassdoor or Payscale for example. You can also look up other positions just like yours at simplyhired.com which often lists the estimated salary range.
Consider your years of expertise and your depth of abilities. Assume you deserve the top pay for your experience range - then back that up with the 'why' from your Impact Inventory.
3. Know Your Exact Number
Ask for an uncommon and specific salary figure. The art of negotiation includes physiological factors. Most professional ask for a 'round' figure. If you don’t wish to haggle - be very specific in your salary number. For example: instead of $65,000 ... ask for $65,475.
When you ask for an exact figure, you are more likely to receive it. Your employer (or future employer) will assume that you have done research and will be less likely to use hard negotiation tactics.
4. Centered, Calm & Confident
Amy Cuddy stole the TED stage when she talked about Power Poses and how they can actually affect our self-confidence. Your body language is a huge factor in negotiation! Everything from how you walk in, to your eye-contact, handshake, and facial expressions will largely determine your outcomes. Practice in front of a mirror or hone your handshake with friends.
Poise and professionalism are even more important for women than men. Social expectations of women’s behavior in the workplace are thankfully becoming more equalized. Regardless, you may be speaking to a person from an older generation. It’s great practice to be polite and pleasant during the exchange.
5. Take the Emotion Out
If your first attempts at salary negotiation are rebuffed, don't give up. Keep trying! Remain calm during the conversation, stick to the facts, and don't be afraid to discuss your contributions to the company. Don’t take any initial rebuttals personally.
Sixty percent of the women surveyed take the outcomes of their salary negotiations personally. - Carol Frohlinger, JD | Negotiating Women
Explain why you deserve better pay without being defensive or angry if you aren't getting the response you'd like to see. Remember, even if you don’t get the answer you would like right away - it does NOT reflect upon your self-worth! Often, decisions are made due to budgetary reasons and have little to do with individuals.
6. Pick Your Time Wisely
Don't plan to meet with the decision-makers right before they leave on vacation or wait until your performance review. Start discussions well in advance of performance review time. “Start talking to your boss about getting a raise three to four months in advance,” writer and former human resources professional Suzanne Lucas of EvilHRLady.org told LearnVest. “That’s when they decide the budget.”
Crazy Data Fact: Studies have proven that Thursdays are the best days to ask for a raise! Salary negotiation meetings set on Thursdays and Fridays are more likely to have positive results.
7. Don't Ignore the Perks
There are some things worth more than money or could give you the same monetary net result, just in form of bonuses or more vacation. You can negotiate a raise but, once you are hired, it’s very challenging if not impossible to negotiate more vacation time.
Many of my clients don’t think to push back on the standard American ‘two-week’ vacation allowance. Quite frankly: if you are an experienced professional - require a minimum of three weeks if not more. Be very cautious that a new job offer doesn’t lump vacation in with sick in a PTO format. Review your offer letter closely and ask for a copy of the benefits structure up front.
Don't Let Fear Stand in Your Way
It's a good idea to come prepared with a comprehensive document (like an Impact Inventory) that articulates your professional value, your expected salary range and data documenting why you deserve better pay.
Attitude is everything and projecting a calm and positive attitude helps tremendously. Of those people who negotiated, they were able to increase their salary by over 7%. Don’t let fear stand in between you and the salary you deserve!