Do your homework and know what your value is before attending an interview or contract negotiation:
- Glassdoor, Payscale and 81cents (which uses data that’s usually only available to employers to help women and minorities negotiate salaries).
- Women who consistently negotiate their salaries earn, on average, at least $1 million more over their lifetimes compared to those who don’t, according to research from Linda Babcock, an economics professor and author of “Women Don’t Ask: Negotiation and the Gender Divide.”
Here’s one woman’s story (Tori Dunlap is a millennial money and career expert) as shared on CNBC MakeIt:
The script, as indicated by its name, starts with gratitude. “Wow! This is such great news — thank you. I’m so excited for this opportunity,” I said over the phone when I was first given news of the offer.
“I felt right at home during my interviews and am really looking forward to being part of the team,” I added. This showed that I already had one foot in the door, and that we were all very close to sealing the deal.
Then, it was time to make my case: “However, this salary is much less than my previous one, and I want to make sure I’m being compensated fairly.”
I continued: “Based on my skills, experience and the market salary rate, it would make sense for me to be in a higher range — of $65,000 to $74,000. If you could increase the offer by $10,000, I’d be eager to accept.” By presenting an updated range, I was showing him that I’d done my research, understood my value and was willing to be flexible.
There was a brief pause on the other end. “Hmm. I’m not sure if there’s any wiggle room,” he told me.
I responded by reminding him what I accomplished and the success that my work had driven. It was a way for me to back up my worth and let him know how much value I could bring to the company.
“OK,” he later said, “I’ll need to regroup with the team. Again, I can’t promise anything and I’m not sure if there’s room to go any higher. But give me some time and I’ll get back to you.
I ended the script with another expression of gratitude: “Of course, I appreciate your consideration. Thank you again for this incredible opportunity. I look forward to hearing back! In the meantime, let me know if there’s anything you need from my end.”
She waited patiently and didn’t cave in
It can be tempting to follow up and bug your hiring manager immediately within one or two days, but it’s best to be patient and let them get back to you.
Remember: They gave you an offer and want to close the deal as soon as possible. (Of course, if it’s been more than a week with no word back, the smart thing to do would be to send a follow-up email.)
It’s only natural to be nervous during the waiting period. When I was negotiating for this job, I was unemployed and anxious. And there’s an inherent risk that comes with negotiations: What if they just rescind the offer?
I had to wait a full week before getting a response, and I’m glad I stuck it out without caving in; most people would get nervous and just accept the initial offer, for fear of losing it.
In my case, it turned out that there was wiggle room in the offer. The CEO came back and offered $10,000 more than the original offer. I happily accepted it.
Related read: Reflections on rising above failure
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