You got the offer, congratulations! It’s good to be wanted, let’s face it.
But now you’ve got another hurdle in front of you—the money isn’t exactly what you’d hoped. How can you ask for more without ruining the deal?
Money is such a sensitive topic, it’s no wonder the prospect of asking for more would give a job seeker pause. Plus, no one wants to sound greedy, or desperate for cash, or mercenary, as though money is the only interesting thing about the job.
Okay … let’s put all that junk—and it is junk—aside. You have skills, and the employer has needs. Asking for more money, provided the added amount is in line with the market and your KSAs (knowledge, skills, and abilities) is nothing to be embarrassed about, and it doesn’t make you greedy or “cash” desperate, either. Companies need to make money, and so do you.
And now that we’ve got THAT out of the way …
If you can’t get more money, are you prepared to walk away? If you aren’t, make sure your soon-to-be employer knows that. If you are, make sure YOU know that.
Regardless, it’s important to approach the conversation as objectively as possible, prepared to accept a “no” graciously.
Before asking for more money, know the market rate for your services. Companies like PayScale make it easier than ever to customize benchmark data, allowing job seekers to base wage information on company size, industry, years of experience, education, and so on. Online wage tools aren’t perfect, but they’re a very good start. You can also comb the job postings in search of similar positions, keeping an eye out for those with publicized wage ranges.
Along with knowing the market, be ready to articulate how your particular skills and background will positively affect the organization.
The more data you present that supports your case, the greater chance your future employer will perceive your request as reasonable and professional.
Exactly how you broach the topic of more money depends on who said what during the early stages of the hiring process.
For example, if you’ve primarily interacted with the hiring manager and he or she indicated your wage expectations weren’t a problem, but now you’re dealing with HR, well … this just might be an example of HR not getting the memo. In that case, you’d thank HR for the offer, say how much you’re looking forward to working with the company, and then mention that you were expecting an offer more like X, because when you spoke with Hiring Manager Maureen she’d indicated your desired salary was acceptable. Then be quiet and wait for a response.
On the other hand, if now is the first time you’re hearing about salary, obviously you can’t claim so-and-so told you anything different. What you can do, however, is pull out that benchmark data you researched. Even if you’re prepared to walk away, you can still start your pitch with a reiteration of how much you appreciate the offer. With barely a pause, however, you’ll then segue into how you were hoping for a salary of more like X, which you understand is in line with market for someone of your skills, etc. Then be quiet and wait for a response. (See a pattern?) You can also try this technique with the hiring manager.
If more money isn’t going to happen, but you still want the job, consider what perks might make you happy. A flexible schedule? The option to work from home? A salary review in six months? More vacation? You probably won't get what you don't ask for.
Negotiating pay is uncomfortable for many, but the more you do it the easier it gets. And trust me, nothing feels quite like starting a new job you want for the salary you’re worth!