The concern is that, if you state a salary that is too high, you may price yourself out of consideration. Conversely, if you state a salary that is too low, you have left money on the table.
Here are five tips that will make sure you get the best salary package:
1. Research Salaries
Three great sites that provide real-time salary information are Salary.com, Payscale.com, and Glassdoor.com. They have salary date by title and location, and offer some free searches. This is the place to start to see what typical compensation is for the kind of job you are seeking.
2. Research The Company
Before you enter discussions, check the company’s job postings and see if they indicate salary ranges there. This does not have to be for your specific position, as you just want to see if they are offering competitive salaries across the board.
So, if you see that they are offering $25,000-$30,000 for administrative assistants when typical salaries are higher for this position, it tells you they are at the low end of the spectrum.
3. Whoever Speaks First Loses
A common rule in salary negotiations is that whoever offers a number first loses. Personally, I do not believe this, but nonetheless, you can just turn the tables on them and just ask, “What have you budgeted for this position?”
You will be surprised how often they will respond.
4. Give A Good Generic Answer
If you must say something and do not want to indicate what you are currently making or have previously been paid, a good statement is:
“Although the job and the challenge are most important to me, you should know that I am considering positions in the XX to YY range.”
Note the subtlety of the “I am considering positions” statement as it makes you look like you have other opportunities and will cause them to think about making a competitive offer.
5. Negotiate Other Things
You may not be able to get all you want from the salary negotiations, but remember that there are other things that you can negotiate.
The most common is vacation time. If they offer two weeks for the first three years and you are used to more than that, just indicate that your family is used to 4+ weeks of vacation and can they start with three weeks. You will be surprised how often this works.
Consider other things that will make a difference for you such as a company-provided cell phone, car, laptop, and so on.
Use these tips and you will get the best compensation package they offer.