This article was originally published on Jobbio’s blog.
Money is a universally taboo subject. Therefore, it is difficult to negotiate a salary, not only for fresh job hunters, but even for those with many years of work experience. Finding the perfect middle ground between feeling short-circuited and being unrealistic is crucial to getting the job offer you deserve.
We spoke to a group of experts consisting of talent acquisition specialists, hiring managers and CEOs for advice on the best salary negotiation techniques and the most important things to consider.
1. Know your worth in the market
Knowledge is power, so be sure to do your research beforehand. Start by determining the average salary range for the position you are pursuing in your geographic area. Glassdoor, PayScale or Indeed offer great resources to help you do just that.
Based on whether you have more or less experience than the average person with the job in question, this should be a useful starting point for your salary negotiation. If you feel comfortable, you can also get help from friends or colleagues in the industry.
Certainly do not ask for a salary without having a strong basis for this request. Chris Wilkinson (Head of Talent, Forward Partners) emphasizes that you need to “do your research beforehand, know your worth in the market and keep all this in mind before talking numbers to a company”, while Sorabh Dhir (founder) . and CEO, docuvo) puts it simply as: “Do not go blind.”
2. Understand your boundaries
Chances are that higher packages correspond to more responsibilities and higher expectations. Do not be distracted by the dollar signs and take on something that is beyond your ability. As Chris says, “know where your red lines are in relation to your commitments.” Similarly, Sorabh stresses that “the same as any negotiation, know your limits.”
Chances are you’ll be pretty exposed in a startup if you’re overpaid and underperforming, so be realistic and negotiate accordingly – Chris Wilkinson
3. Always go number two
When a potential employer asks what salary you expect, do not feel pressured to answer first. Change the direction of the call instead. “Mention that you want to know more about what the position will entail,” advises Nick Larkins (Talent Manager, Hire Space), “and ask the employer for a figure.”
If you are a woman, it is even more important to become number two. In her experience, Hanna Sanford (Talent Acquisition, OneFineStay) found that “female graduates are more likely to undersell themselves – so let the employer give the first number.” Statistics show that female candidates undersell themselves by 15-20%.
4. Check your priorities
Again, do not let the dollar signs distract you during your job hunt. Examine the role you have been offered in detail: Do you want to learn new things and challenge yourself? Do you get access to a good mentor? Is there ample opportunity for growth? If the answer is no, the initially high salary may not be worth it in the end.
“Prioritize growth and education over money instead,” said Samantha Hepburn (Partnerships Lead at General Assembly). “You may be offered 60,000, but if the role is something you have already done, you will not learn anything. How will you be able to go beyond that in the future?”
Always take long-term rewards rather than short-term cash – Chris Wilkinson
5. Company salary versus starting salary
From the company culture to the dress code, working in a company is very different than working in a startup. It should therefore come as no surprise that wage bargaining also requires different tactics at a startup versus a company. Due to their limited resources, startups are less likely to offer perks such as health insurance or paid pensions. Instead, you may want to negotiate to have flexible working hours or to be able to work from home. You may have more options for creativity, so why not try asking for a dog-friendly office?
Why go into a startup for corporate pay packages? It screams wrong thinking – Chris Wilkinson
At a company, you can see what additional benefits can be offered, such as gym membership or health checks. While a company salary may be higher than a startup salary, beware of the “brand-name rebate” – some companies use the weight of their well-known and reputable brand to get away with offering lower salaries. As with everything else, whether this is worth it depends on your priorities.
6. Stock options
If you believe in the product of a startup, you may want to consider stock options when signing up. When determining the value of your equity, be sure to ask what percentage of the company your shares actually represent when you are told that an independent figure is likely to be meaningless.
Now that you’ve got your paycheck down, you can start searching for the latest tech jobs here.