One of the most dreaded questions during the job search process is “what is your salary expectation?” We learned to provide an ambiguous answer, something like “I trust that your company is fair and the pay for the position is aligned with the industry rate” or, “I trust the company has a fair remuneration policy”. What we are trying to convey is that we expect no less than what other companies are paying but we also appreciate the opportunity. However, this is not what the company hears! When general answers like these two examples are given, the companies usually make a quick judgment that you have not done your research, and you most likely will not do a thorough job if hired or even worse that you do not have any negotiation skills and they are absolutely a must in today’s business environment.
Our advice: always negotiate your salary. There is no better way to show the employer that you are capable, confident, know your value and are quite comfortable with the skills and competencies the position requires than negotiating. But make sure that you wait to do so for the appropriate time, after you are offered the position and you have a number in front of you. In other words, let them throw out the first number!
Let’s be clear: unless you ask for it, nobody will give you what you want! So, once you see the starting number, begin the discussions. The list can be as ambitious as you want for money, benefits, vacation or other perks. You never know what you might get unless you ask! But be also prepared for a less successful dialogue. If money is not negotiable, try asking for better benefits, more vacation days, or other perks.
Once everything is said and done, even a small victory will greatly benefit your self-esteem, the way your manager is looking at you from the very beginning and maybe the best of all, will increase your future income!