6 Do’s and Don’ts of Negotiating Salary

"... personal favor to start me with an enormous salary."

For most people, negotiating salary is the most daunting part of the hiring process.

By Priti Dadlani

It seems we’d rather talk about anything else – our health, our relationships, even death – than money, let alone ask for it.

“People feel uncomfortable asking for money when they’re being hired because they think it makes them look greedy or they feel it will negatively affect the relationship with their future employer,” said Raj Dadlani, CEO and founder of Huntech, a global recruitment firm based in Toronto.

“Often, they don’t bother to negotiate and just accept what’s offered. That’s a big mistake.”

While 50 per cent of employers will be fair in the salary they offer you, the other half will try to take advantage of your naivete, said Mr. Dadlani.

In a survey of 548 millennial cited in a Business Insider article, 82 per cent failed to negotiate their first salaries: 38 per cent said they felt uncomfortable doing it and 44 per cent said they didn’t know they could.

Your first salary sets the baseline for your wage progression throughout your career so starting out behind has long-term ramifications, according to Sara Laschever, a negotiating expert and the author of “Ask For It.”

“Not negotiating your first salary in a low-wage job can amount to a sacrifice of half a million dollars over the course of your career. In a higher-wage job, that loss is magnified, Laschever told Business Insider.

As a recruiter, Mr. Dadlani, has placed thousands of candidates in computer and software engineering jobs over the last three decades and typically negotiates six-figure salaries on their behalf.

He offers 6 Dos and Don’ts of Negotiating Salary:

1. Do your homework. Research websites such as Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, to determine the salary range for the role.

2. Don’t lie. If you’re asked what you are presently earning, be honest. If you expect to get paid more in the new role you’ve applied for, frame it in terms of the added responsibilities and effort it will require compared to your current position. For example, more travel, more direct reports, more responsibilities, more customer interaction, etc.

3. Do a realistic self-assessment. Do you have all the skills the new role requires or are you missing some, in which case you can’t command a premium price.

4. Don’t bring it up. Let the interviewer broach the subject of salary. Try to deflect questions about salary until they make you an offer.

5. Don’t get hung up on a number. Look at the whole compensation package. Some companies have great benefit packages that are worth money to you. They may offer other attractive perks such as profit-sharing, RRSP matching, a pension plan, a signing bonus, allowing you to work from home, an extra week of vacation, etc.

6. Don’t be greedy. Once you’ve agreed on a number, don’t come back and try to squeeze more out of them because your wife/husband doesn’t think it’s high enough. Hard to believe, but it happens, said Mr. Dadlani.

In Part Two of this discussion in my next post, I’ll tell you how to get a raise once you’ve been hired.


2 thoughts on “6 Do’s and Don’ts of Negotiating Salary

  1. Outstanding article on a topic that many shy away from…negotiating salary and talking about money in the workplace. I like the “Do’s and Don’ts” format. It makes the article clear cut on what to do and what not to do. I really enjoyed reading it!

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