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Almost everyone feels like they are in a pressure cooker when it comes to any type of bargaining, and salary negotiation is no exception. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A little knowledge can turn the heat down and give you confidence in this business discussion.

iStock_000007009445XSmallThis guide is about sharpening your negotiating skills with some insider tips on how employers think about money and how you can ask for what you want.

Salary negotiation can be very uncomfortable. if you have been out of work for quite a while, the idea of being back in a job is so attractive you may not negotiate your salary for fear you will not be hired. You may accept any salary just to get back to work. Continue reading to learn more about preparing yourself for this process.

Things to Consider When Negotiating Your Salary

When to Talk Salary
One approach is to avoid salary talk until after you have a job offer. The other way is to find out up front what the salary range is so you don’t spend your time on something you won’t accept. Either way can work for you. You have to figure out which style is good for you and best in each situation. Be sure you are comfortable with the method you choose.

Preparing for Negotiations
The “perfect job” you found isn’t really perfect unless it pays enough to support your lifestyle or at least pays for the essentials. Before you start looking for a job, you should know how much money you need to pay the bills and to live comfortably.

Interviewing with a Small Company
In small companies and nonprofit businesses, salaries are not usually fixed. In fact, many managers of small organizations say they have a hard time deciding on a fair wage. They want to offer reasonable pay in order to attract good workers but they do not want to over inflate overhead expenses. Knowing the small business manager’s concerns can give you an opening in your negotiations. Provide the employer with wage details for your job that will educate him and support your salary request.

Be Flexible: Keep Your Options Open
Many times the interviewer will mention salary as if it is set and not changeable. Do not agree or disagree. Simply state, “This figure fits into my range.” Using this open-ended statement will allow you to continue the interview with all your salary options open.

Try your best to avoid mentioning salary until you receive a firm job offer. This will give you some more time to gather information about the job and sell your skills to the employer.

Postponing salary negotiation has several advantages. Here are several to consider. You:

  • May get a better salary offer than you expected.
  • May avoid asking for too low a figure or end the negotiation by asking for too much.
  • May be able to discover the starting point of the negotiation process.

Be Prepared
Practice your negotiation skills with family and friends before your interview. Go into your interview with your research done and your negotiation skills polished.

Remember that salary negotiation is not about win/lose. It is a two-way process where you and the employer are each trying to get what you need at the best price. When that occurs, it is a win-win for both parties.

Never Negotiate Salary over the Telephone
Negotiating over the telephone puts you at a disadvantage. You cannot see the facial expressions of the interviewer, so you are unable to learn valuable information that could affect the discussion. Wait until you have a firm job offer and then arrange for an in-person interview to discuss salary.

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