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Working WildCat: Negotiating salaries successfully

Ariel Hernandez

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Ariel Hernandez


If you never ask, you will never know.

There is no way around it — asking for a higher salary is an awkward conversation that most dread and avoid.

Being turned down is an embarrassing blow to the ego. The fear of your boss thinking of you as an unreasonable, greedy employee is even worse and a solid reason to hide from the situation.

While being turned down is always a possibility, 87 percent of employees that asked for a raise received additional benefits in addition to or in lieu of an increase in pay, according to a 2012 study by Accenture.

Additionally, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management and CareerJournal found that 84 percent of managers have more respect for employees that are willing to negotiate a higher salary compared to those who don’t.

Some tactics used to negotiate a higher salary are better than others.

Here are six tips to help ease you into the, “So, can I have more money?”

1. Do your homework

Research the average pay for the position you’re applying for. GlassDoor is an excellent website to compare wages across the nation. If you’ve done your research you will know how much wiggle room exists for negotiation when offered your starting salary.

2. Go ahead, make the counter

Odds are the first offer isn’t the company’s best. The hiring manager almost always expects some haggling when they make a first offer but applicants often pass up the opportunity to ask for extra cash. If you have done step one, and there is room for improvement, make a counter offer.

3. Don’t make the question a surprise

You may feel that it is time for a salary increase if you have been at your job for a while. Set up a meeting with your employer and let them know what it is about in advance. This allows the employer time to prepare and keeps them from feeling like they are being ambushed.

4. Ultimatums are not your friend

Never use your employment as leverage for more money. Telling an employer that you will leave if you’re not offered more money is tasteless and will often work against you.

Requesting additional pay should be based on the value you bring to the company, not the contingency of you leaving.

5. Be ready for the big “no”

Even if you have made a solid case for why you are a wonderful employee who really deserves the extra money, you might not get the increase. It’s important to understand that the response isn’t set in stone. Ask you employer to explain their decision and when would be a good time to have the discussion again.

6. Follow up

If you got a “no,” then it’s your responsibility to follow up at a later date to revisit the issue. An employer isn’t going to just throw extra cash at you whenever they are in a good mood. It’s your job to stay on top of your salary increase.

Luckily, since you have already had the conversation earlier, the follow-up will be less stressful. If you have been working hard to demonstrate your worth, you have a sound basis for asking for a raise.

Negotiating a higher salary doesn’t have to be a nerve-racking event. Do your research, plan ahead and face the awkward conversation.

You might not always get what you want. But if you never ask, you will never know.

Ariel Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @Aj7uriel on Twitter.

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Working WildCat: Negotiating salaries successfully