Many times when placing candidates, we encounter people who are fixated on the salary they feel that they deserve. This can be a good thing – it’s important not to undersell yourself. Knowing your worth and not settling for less can help significantly in your career progression. However, it’s equally imperative to be prepared to do the work that a high salary requires. Knowing what’s expected of you to meet the requirements of the role is important.
5 things to consider before embarking on salary negotiations
1. Be careful what you wish for
Too often, people haven’t carefully considered the extra responsibility and expectations that come with high salaries. You may manage to secure a salary above the going rate for a similar role, or the company has agreed to pay you beyond what they were hoping to. This can be a fantastic opportunity, however nothing comes for free, and it’s important to keep in mind that expectation levels are often in line with what you’re being paid.
We encountered a situation recently where the candidate was so hard lined on salary that they weren’t initially offered the job. Eventually the company decided to hire the candidate in another role, however they were let go after just a few days. The expectations on the candidate were obviously high and the candidate wasn’t able to meet them.
2. Be prepared to cut your losses
Is the job that you’re going for a dream job? Is it an opportunity that could really help you build your skills and grow your career? How you answer these questions should have impact on what you’ll consider with regards to salary. Many people overestimate the importance of salary on their happiness at work. Studies have indicated that happiness at work is connected more with feeling valued and believing the work you do has significance.
If you’re not prepared to budge on salary, that’s fine. Standing up for what you feel you’re worth is important. However, if you’re asking to be paid beyond what is typical for the role then you have to be prepared to experience more rejection. Reflecting on what matters to you at work will help you decide how firm to be with regards to salary.
3. Be professional
As with any business relationship, it’s important to always treat others with respect. It sounds obvious but sometimes things can get a little heated in contract negotiations. It’s ok to feel strongly about the salary you think you deserve, however there is no need to be disrespectful or rude to the company you negotiate with if they aren’t prepared to give you what you want. Burning bridges with business connections is never advisable as you could wind up with a reputation that hurts you down the track.
4. Be honest with yourself
We all have in our heads the salary we would like to be paid and think we are worth. Still, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence around what is considered an average salary for the role. It’s also a good idea to factor in how many years of experience you have and how much training. You might compare people in similar roles that are able to secure higher salaries than you have, but you need to ask yourself if they’re more experienced and skilled than you are. If they’re not, then you may have great cause for asking for a higher salary. Either way, you have to be honest with the stage you are currently at in your career.
5. Be prepared to work for it
Ambition is a great motivator and often a marker of success. However, if you’re not prepared to match your ambitions with plain old hard work, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. If a company is prepared to pay you above the usual rate, then it stands to reason they are going to expect you to be a cut above the usual employee.
Show that you are worthy of the high salary they are paying you with enthusiasm and diligence. Be prepared to work hard to meet and ideally exceed the requirements and expectations of your new role.