It can be hard to justify negotiating a higher salary if you already feel an offer you’ve received is fair. Not only that, but negotiating can be uncomfortable for the candidate to bring up – there’s the inherent fear than an offer could be rescinded if you ask for more money. However, negotiation is an integral part of the job acquisition process, and omitting that step could cost you big over your career.
According to a study published in 2010 by George Mason University, “assuming an average annual pay increase of five percent, an employee whose starting annual salary was $55,000 rather than $50,000 would earn an additional $600,000+ over the course of a 40-year career.” This is a very large chunk of change to miss out on!
It’s all accounted for
Being a recruiting agency, we’re intimately familiar with the hiring process. Most companies we’ve done business with have had budgets and salary bands for positions. It’s not just “here’s a job for $100,000 strict,” but more “we’d like to spend between $80,000 and $110,000.” There is usually wiggle room in the budget, so it doesn’t hurt to ask for a small chunk more. Don’t be greedy, but – for example – if you’re offered $105,000, it’s ok to ask for $110,000.
You might not be able to revisit your salary for a while
Most companies do performance reviews on an annual basis. If you accept a lower salary with the goal of asking for a larger raise during your review, a year can be a loooong time to wait! It’s better to get the salary you want upfront, especially since raises aren’t guaranteed, and especially especially since standard raises barely cover inflation at the moment.
The company prooobably won’t rescind their offer
It’s easy to let your imagination run wild into the negative. You’re probably picturing an old guy looking at your counter request and going “WHY, THE NERVE OF THIS PERSON!” and tossing your offer letter in the bin.
Being realistic, however, that’s most likely not going to happen. Companies expect you to negotiate – it’s par for the course. If the company really can’t afford to pay you more, chances are they’ll say as much and let you know what they offered you is the best they can do. In which case, you accept! No harm, no foul.
Companies invest time, resources, and money in finding their hires. Once they’ve found the person they want to hire, not much will stop them. If an offer gets rescinded after a negotiation attempt, it’s most likely because the attempt was conducted poorly. For example, a candidate could have been brash and discourteous in their response email. As long as you ask for more respectfully, it should all be ok.
When you shouldn’t negotiate
There are few circumstances where you shouldn’t negotiate. However, here’s one that’s a real peeve if you’re working with a recruiter.
Usually when you begin working with a recruiter, we’ll ask you where you want to be salary-wise. This is to see if the position is a good fit financially for both parties. When you give us that salary requirement, that’s what we submit you at with our client. If our client says “yes, that’s great!” and offers you the job, please take it at that salary, since that’s what you agreed to be submitted at. It makes us, and you, look awful to the client when we all agree on a salary and you change your mind. When we ask for your salary requirements, please be honest from the start and give us the magic number. We want you to make as much as you can, and we want our client to have a hiring experience that won’t leave a bad taste in their mouth. Honesty wins for everyone.
It’s really simple when you think about it
Ask for what you want. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll receive it, but this option gives you a chance at more money, and not speaking up doesn’t. Really simple! Go ahead and formulate arguments as to why you should make more. Research your market value. Know your worth, and get that money!