Almost everyone should salary negotiate a little bit when they receive a new job offer. But young job seekers are not always aware of the implications and risks of over negotiating for a role. Of course, there’s the obvious risk of having the offer rescinded. But what if you actually get what you ask for? Are your talents and contributions going to be worth the dollar amount you asked for during your interview?
Things to consider when negotiating your salary:
Cost of living
Of course, when considering the cost of living in an area, you’re going to want to keep your expectations realistic. Just because you picture yourself in a certain lifestyle once you land your new job, doesn’t mean that’s what the employer will be able to give you.
We know, Glassdoor tells you that the average Investment Banking Analyst in New York, New York makes $103,000 a year. But what young job seekers need to consider is the fact that they’re probably not the average investment banking analyst, not yet anyway. If you have 0 years experience and are looking for your first “stepping stool” job, you’ll need to take that into account when considering your expected salary. But hey, if you kill it at your first job and have some clout you can point to, you’ll have much more negotiating power in the future.
Manager of… what?
Just because the job title has the word “manager” in it, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily in a management role. Say you’re a content manager or even a project manager, you may be juggling several balls in doing your job, which is great, but managing people is another story entirely and it’ll make a difference in a salary offer. So instead of looking at and comparing titles, instead look at comparable responsibilities when getting an idea of an appropriate salary.
Be honest about what you currently make
Of course it’s now a huge no-no (or even illegal) for an employer to ask what you currently make during an interview, but as a job seeker, you may feel incentivized to use your current salary as a reasoning point during your salary negotiation. If that’s the case and you choose to disclose what you currently make, be honest! Just because you have a pretty good idea that a promotion is coming at your current job, doesn’t mean you can use that prospective salary as leverage. Your employer could look this up during a background check after you’re hiring and have grounds to fire you.
If you decide to negotiate and ask for more compensation:
Make sure you’re able to live up to it. You don’t want to risk putting a bad taste in your hiring manager’s mouth by making claims and promises (to get them to pay you more) that you can’t follow through on. When your annual review comes around and your manager realizes they could get someone with the same skill set for less compensation, you may find yourself on the job hunt again sooner than you expected. If you are able to live up to what you claim, great! Just be careful not to set yourself up for failure if your negotiation claims end up being all talk.
If you choose to take the lower salary:
While it’s a good practice to negotiate at least a little bit, there’s something to be said for proving your value to a company first. For example, if you ask for $65,000 but your employer can only offer $55,000, it might be worth sticking it out at $55,000 for 6 months, rocking at your job, and then coming back and asking for $65,000 now that you can prove you’re worth it. In the meantime, while you’re rocking at your job, do your best to quantify and measure the value you bring to a company. If you’re able to prove your value to your hiring manager, you may be able to give yourself leverage enough to ask for a significant raise with your track record to backing up your reasoning rather than promises.
Things to negotiate other than compensation:
When thinking about what you should push for or leave on the table when it comes to negotiating compensation, remember that a lot more goes into a total compensation package than your actual paycheck. Think: healthcare, life insurance, dental, 401k, tuition reimbursement, vacation, flexible work hours, etc. Remember that these do have a quantifiable value that should be included when thinking of overall compensation.
The key thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that you want your new employer to actually be excited when you start working for them. Having an employer who thinks, “We’re so excited to have you here!” rather than, “This person better be worth it” can set the tone going forward in your work relationships. You’ll also give yourself a much better chance at impressing your employers and exceeding their expectations rather than having to live up to them.