If you do not know what you are worth, or
What you will say when the salary question is asked,
You are not ready to apply for the job!
One of the things that make us feel weak as negotiators is the sense that the other side has more information than we do. When you have done your homework this is rarely the case. If the other side has a need they believe you can satisfy they will not want to lose you. They would not be talking about salary if they did not believe they might want to make you an offer. For certain they don’t know what your needs are. Use that to your advantage.
The salary question is often asked much too early to negotiate a fair conclusion. The question often comes during the online application process, and if not then, it may be asked in the initial screening call. Otherwise it will certainly happen somewhere in the interview process.
What am I worth?
There is more information available today to help you assess your worth than ever before. Find your comfort zone by researching what similar jobs pay in the location of the job. Do this before you apply because later you will be at a distinct disadvantage.
Your comfort zone is the take home pay required to sustain your living style. Don't ignore the value of benefits, your out-of-pocket costs of benefits and of course, taxes.
When asked, should you give a high, low, middle, or range number? Most salary negotiators recommend fending off giving a number at all until such time as you have enough information to make a decision. That time is not when you fill out the online application or when the company makes its first call to you. You do not yet have enough information from the company to make an intelligent decision.
There are some who recommend starting with a high but reasonable number to plant an “anchor” in the ground. The Anchor argument is based on human behavior. When you plant a high stake in the ground, even an unreasonable one, people tend to become fixated on it. It affects their judgment which can result in a higher offer than they were thinking of making. But, be aware that sometimes you will be dismissed as being unreasonable.
There are numerous theories and no one correct answer for everyone. The answer comes down to what you are comfortable with. You won't be comfortable unless you have done research on what you are worth in the location of the job and you understand all other compensation factors.
My Personal Opinion on Negotiating:
1. Know what you are worth and what you can live with. Start from a realistic place.
2. Decide ahead of time how you will answer when the salary question is first asked and practice your answer.
3. Keep your answer brief and succinct. Talking too much usually works against you. Listen carefully for objections.
4. Probe objections with questions. Keep the adversary talking. Understanding objections will prepare you to respond, again briefly and succinctly.
5. Understand what benefits they offer and what your costs will be to provide them yourself. Understand what they don't offer.
6. Use silence and body language to your advantage if the negotiator takes an unreasonable position. Silence implies you don’t like what you just heard. It worries your adversary.
7. Learn closing techniques used in sales – how to use them, how to recognize when they are being used on you and how to respond.
8. Keep your cool. Don't lose control of your temper if things go badly.
9. Get everything in writing!10. I'm a fan of the anchoring approach, but it's not for everyone.
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