Prepare for the Salary Negotiation

Start by looking at the salary range for someone with your level of experience and skills, in your industry. You can talk with people in your network who know the industry or even the company you are interviewing for. I also recommend that you use the Salary Radar at the ekonomit.fi member service.

Decide a range. Have in mind the number you would be happy with and also the bottom line – what is the lowest salary that you are satisfied with.

Think about your negotiation strategy. Do you start with asking a specific amount or do you offer a range? New research from Columbia Business School found that offering a range instead of an exact number, you open up room for discussion and you come across as flexible team player. But make sure the lower end of the range is the salary that you really want.

After you have given your salary request, be patient. Even if the recruiter does not answer you right away don’t start to hesitate and explain yourself – or worse, back down from your request. Be quiet and let the other side make the next move.

When you are at this stage you still have one important asset in your negotiation – your trade offs. Bring them in the negotiation table if the salary you are offered is below your happy number. If you want to have 3500 and the recruiter offers 3000 and you really want the job – that’s when the negotiation really begin!  

If you hesitate to start negotiating, remember that it takes time and money to find a great candidate to fill a position. If you are negotiating about salary, the company have already invested a lot in you and actually expect for you to negotiate!

What are your Trade offs?

One way of figuring out your trade offs is to write Must-have and Nice-to-have -lists. These help you in your salary negotiations but also when you choose which jobs or companies you want to pursue.

Must-haves are components that you definitely need or want to exist in your job or organisation. These might be such as working in a global company with international career opportunities or that the company supports sustainability. They may also be more practical things like the length of commute to work or possibility to work remotely.  

Nice-to-haves are things that are valuable to you but will not turn into deal breakers. For instance opportunities to learn skills that raise your own market value in the long term or chance for rapid career development may be such trade offs. Personal mentor or coach, language courses or even great extracurriculum programs may be some things that you value.

These Nice-to-haves are the trade offs that you can use when negotiating your salary. They are something so important to you that they may make up the lower salary level.

The other side of trade offs is what extra do you offer the employer. So be prepared to prove your value. If you gave a bold salary request you need to be ready to boldly explain why you are worth it. Prepare to give examples from your previous jobs, hobbies or studies what is unique in you way of working and what kind of results you have delivered – and are willing to deliver in this new job.

The Negotiation is not a One Time Opportunity

Keep in mind that if you don’t get the salary you originally wanted right now, you can ask for a job-performance review after e.g. six months. You will have a new chance to re-negotiate for a raise after proving yourself to the employer.

Text: Arja Parpala, Career Coach, Suomen Ekonomit