How to negotiate first Salary
Many of you might be glad to just land their first Job. And in fact, it is something special and a great achievement to sign your first employment contract. However, what you probably don’t know yet is that your first salary will for a big part determine your future income and wealth. Read here why your first salary has such a huge impact. Negotiating it should not be postponed to later. On top of that, I know that you are hungry and not willing to settle with the status quo.
Nevertheless, negotiating your first salary is particularly difficult. While your employer has negotiated hundreds or even thousands of salaries before, it is a new situation for you. Therefore, I have put together the following guide on how to negotiate your first pay.
Step by Step Guide on how to negotiate first Salary
The advice below is written for your first salary negotiation. However, as you will see, most pieces of advice can be applied to whatever career phase you are currently in.
- Go into the interview prepared. Know what salaries other companies pay for the same position or what the industry average is. There are different platforms that offer these information for free. Read more about this further down when I share the advice from Lea Berry.
- When receiving the offer, start by asking if there is any flexibility. Important: Don’t shy away from asking this important question. It is absolutely legit for you to do so. A study conducted by Salary.com even found that 84% of employers expect potential hires to negotiate for higher pay. You are in fact increasing your chances to get hired if you negotiate your salary.
Additionally, you will see that usually there is some flexibility. It makes perfect sense for the firm not to give you their best offer right away. Trust me: They know how to negotiate – and this is why you should know too!
However, employers often use a typical scare tactic by saying that the offered salary has no flexibility. If they are telling you this, you probably did something wrong earlier on in the process. Think about it this way: If they really want you, if they believe that you can make a real difference, they will be willing to pay you more than they had in mind for the “standard candidate”. Read here how to be the candidate everybody wants to hire.
- Tell them that you want to be evaluated on the value you personally can bring in, not their standard paycheck frame. Compare your skills and experience to the job description. Show them what skills you have in addition and how this is relevant to the position.
Important: Focus on being different, not better. An employer will not give you a higher salary because you graduate with an A, while other candidates “only” graduated with an A-. Show them instead how you can bring in a unique talent they cannot find elsewhere. Tell them how you can add value by bringing in this talent. Share the plans you have with the company for the next 3 Months, 6 Months, etc. Make sure to build a connection between your actions, your unique skills and the company’s objectives. Be as concrete as possible.
- Try to get multiple offers from different companies. This is only fair, as also your employer will look at various candidates. You are thereby creating a level playing field.
When it comes to negotiating your salary, tell the Hiring Manager that you got a fantastic impression about their firm and the open position. Explain to him/her that you would love to carry out the work and activities involved. However, you also have to make sure to pay your bills and take care of your finances. From this point of view, another position currently has more to offer. Then, simply ask if they can match your other offer.
- If they keep telling you that there is no flexibility, propose the following: Tell them that you are highly interested in the position. Then explain to them that if you do an extraordinary job during your first 6 Months, you would like to come back to this topic and re-negotiate your salary. The probability that your employer will agree to this is extremely high. They are getting a good deal by first sticking to their pay scheme and only increasing the salary if they receive something of higher value than expected in return. When starting the job, ask them what you have to do in order to perform extraordinarily well. Define concrete and measurable objectives and write them down. Already plan a meeting 6 Months down the road. Then: Work your ass off! Over perform! Don’t leave them with any other option but to give you the pay raise. Always keep in mind how important your first professional years are.
If you want more detailed advice on how to negotiate for higher pay, make sure to sign up for our FREE 5 Day Career Accelerator.
What other Career Coaches recommend
In order to give you not only my advice but also the tips and tricks from other experts, I sat down together with Lea Berry from leaberrycoaching.com. Lea is a certified Life and Career Coach with expertise in organizational motivation and workforce training and development. In her coaching practice, she fuses her decade of government and consulting experience with her core belief that an organization’s workforce can be both successful and motivated with the right tools at hand. As an avid believer in living one’s purpose, Lea hosts workshops and coaching classes focused on helping people develop and align their talents to an organization’s strategy to help increase productivity and happiness.
I asked Lea to give me her top 3 pieces of advice when it comes down to negotiating your first salary:
- Do your research. Use payscale or glassdoor to help you get a sense of the range for the position. ALSO ask your network for someone who actually does the job and discuss the range of the position.
- If you decide to give them your salary requirements first, remember not to go too low on your scale – the employer doesn’t need to get a “deal” on your education, talent and expertise.
- Remain calm if the answer is no and seek alternatives. The more open you are to finding some way to make it work, you might be surprised that the employer will get creative as well.
Thank you Lea for your valuable advice and insight!
If you want to learn more from Lea or me, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us! We look forward to your remarks and comments.