By Ken Sundheim
After recruiting all levels of job seekers for the past decade, I’ve come to understand that many people lack a true understanding of how to negotiate salary.
The most common mistake we have seen is that interviewees do not know how to accurately gauge if a company is likely to be amenable to accepting a counter offer.
Prior to asking for more money, it’s important to see the hiring process from the point of view of the employer. The first step in that process is to define what situations will make a hiring company more or less likely to negotiate your salary.
For that reason, our executive sales recruiters have mapped out a few variables that will determine if you can successfully ask for higher pay and, if so how much can you realistically ask for.
Sense of urgency
The more a company needs to fill a position, the more agreeable they will be to your request for a higher salary.
Though, it can be difficult to gauge whether the position you are applying for is of high, low or medium priority to the organization.
Simply because a company says a job is of high importance to them, does not necessarily mean they are in a rush to hire. Actions speak louder than words.
For example, if an interviewing process is being moved forward very slowly, regardless of what that hiring manager may tell you, the job may not be of crucial importance for them to fill.
On the flip side, if the hiring process is being moved along rapidly, when you obtain the offer from your potential employer, you could probably negotiate a bit more on your compensation package.
Current industry hiring trends
If an organization perceives others in their space to be looking for new recruits, almost instantaneously they become motivated to send out offers to their most promising interviewees.
For any competitive company, the thought of losing a prospective hire to competing firm within the same vertical is disturbing. People always want what they can’t have.
Interestingly enough, our recruiters have found that industries tend to hire in cycles. Moreover, they tend to be aware of what others are doing.
Prior to negotiating salary, it is encouraged that you visit the career pages of similar companies to gauge whether this may be the case.
Skill-set supply and demand
Before deciding whether to negotiate an offer and, if so by how much, take an unbiased, realistic measurement of:
- Quantity of expert candidates available to that employer. If a hiring manager alludes to the fact that they are interviewing dozens of fitting candidates, they tend to yield more power than the job seeker.
- Replacement complexity. If the employer decided not to negotiate your salary, that employer would risk you not taking the job. If that were to happen, how labor-intensive would it be for the hiring company to have to do the search over again?
Typically, the longer it would take for the hiring firm to do recruitment process over again, the more amenable they are to higher salary requests.
Current salary package
Your current salary package is inevitably going to factor into how much an organization is willing to pay you. However, if your historical earnings are less than you believe they should be, use another metric.
For instance, if you are making $50,000 right now, companies are less likely to offer you anything more than $65,000. Though, if you inform the hiring company that you are being offered other positions in the $70,000 range, they are more apt to bump you up to that range.
Past employment stability
Companies that possess intelligent HR protocol are much more apt to pay more for an employee whom they perceive will be with the company long-term, rather than someone with a history of job hopping.
If you plan on negotiating your salary, it would be recommended that you inform the organization that you intend to remain at the firm for a lengthy period of time and grow both professionally and personally with them.
Additional salary negotiating factors
In addition to the above salary negotiation factors, variables such as your hiring company’s financial health, their benefits package and how much you impressed the hiring manager will determine whether you can successfully ask for higher pay.
In the end, greedy job seekers never win. When you negotiate your compensation package, make sure you provide logical evidence as to why you are requesting the amount you are. Be polite yet firm and never allow your personal emotions to get in the way.
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Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement Recruiters, an executive search firm based out of New York City specializing in sales and marketing recruitment of all levels. Follow Ken on Twitter at @Ken_Sundheim and through his blog.