How to negotiate 10-50% more money in an interview

Money! That's what this is all about.

Unfortunately business owners don't hire you simply to give you their money. The surest way to not get a job is to ring up and ask how much it is paying. The second best way to miss out on the job is to ask how much you will be paid in the first interview.

Either wait for the final interview or until you have received a job offer. Besides, your research of the industry should already give you an indication of how much to expect.

How to ask for more

Once you've been offered the job it's now time to talk money. Depending on the job you've applied for and the organization there may be no room for negotiating. You may simply have to take what's being offered. The two choices open to you in this case are to put up with it or find a company that is willing to pay more for your skills.

The next section only applies if you think you are worth more, or want to earn more than what you are currently being paid.

If you were an employer and you have $60,000 allocated as a wage for a new employee, would you offer the potential employee all of your $60,000? Or would you offer them $50,000 to see if they take it, in which case you've just saved yourself $10,000?

So, keeping this in mind, when asked how much you were earning in your last position, answer truthfully and then explain part of your reason for leaving was because you wanted a chance to earn more. That you felt your skills and contributions to the company weren't being rewarded hence the reason for you applying to this job.

It's important to demonstrate early on why you think you are worth more. Bring up case histories of saving the company X% or increasing sales or service while you were there.

"We were thinking of a salary package of $50,000. How does that sound?"

You'll hear this when you ask them what the salary for the job is or they may simply say it up front. The 3 ways to handle this are:

  1. Say NOTHING. This tactic added $50 a week to my paycheck once. OK, that's not a lot but it's an extra $2,500 a year and I didn't have to ask for it. A good 2 minutes work. The reason this tactic works is because people generally don't like silences. When you say nothing the employer can tell that their offer is less than you were expecting. By saying nothing forces the employer to possibly make another offer; an offer a little closer to what you had in mind.
  2. Explain that you were earning more in your last position and would expect at least that. If that doesn't apply to you, tell them the salary you want plus a few thousand dollars more. The reason for this is -- if you ask for too little you can't negotiate up, you can only get what you've asked for or negotiate down. You've got no room to move in. But, if you ask for more than you want you have room to move down. Chances are that you may get what you asked for which is more than you originally wanted.
  3. Accept the offer on the condition that you meet again in 3 or 6 months for a wage review. Explain that you have skills that will really benefit the company and you are willing to work for less than you would ordinarily accept on the proviso that in X months time you meet again to renegotiate your salary package. You're taking a little of the risk away from them.

OK - now hang on to your hats - here's a lateral thought for you: you can always get paid on a results basis...

Depending on the sort of position you've applied for, if the salary is not up to your standard then ask for a share of profits, increased sales in a certain area or a share of savings made. If the company is spending $50,000 in a certain area and you can save them $15,000 (for example) you could ask for a one-off fee of half the savings ($7,500). (After all, they're better off by $15,000 every year because of your idea.)

The same thing could apply if you can help to increase sales or productivity. You don't have to be a salesman to do this.

I remember a story of a secretary in the Illinois or Ohio who worked for a sausage making company. She thought it would be neat to sell sausages by mail order so she brought the idea to her boss. The boss said OK and she now heads up a multimillion dollar mail order sausage business. Oh yes, she gets paid a lot more than when she was a secretary.

Use them as an example for you being paid more...

If the money they're offering is less than you want or need and it doesn't look like you're going to get what you're asking for, try saying something like this:

"I've researched your firm and I know that the widgets you sell and the services you provide aren't the cheapest on the market. Why is that?" They will go ahead and tell you about their quality and service and expertise and how it's superior to the rest, etc...

To which you would reply: "Well, the same thing applies in my case. I'm not saying that other people can't do my job for less. All I'm saying is that like you, I offer (insert your skills & experience etc... here) and I'm always learning and improving those skills so that I can be of maximum value to you and your customers."

Then say nothing and see what follows. You can always accept what they're offering with a review in 3 months or so if this tactic fails.

If the company is the cheapest on the market then you may be in trouble with the example above so you might have to point out that if you can work more quickly and efficiently, etc... then you'll save the company money. They may pay you more for that.

The last resort..

If all else fails and they won't meet your salary expectations, don't take the job. This might get them to pay what you want or else it won't. The fact is you have to be happy with the salary you're being offered otherwise there is little point in working there is there?

If you can show the employer why you're worth the money and they can see that there is no way you'll do it for less, refusing the job may be what it takes for them to meet your demands. It shows them that you are serious about what you can do and the money you think you're worth.

If they think you are being unrealistic they'll let you go. Maybe one of their competitors will appreciate your skills and pay you the money you want.

But remember this: You don't get what you deserve. You get what you negotiate.

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