Neale even suggests asking friends, colleagues and acquaintances with whom you have a good rapport, or who you think would be open to sharing salary information. She said you could also phrase the question like this: “What is a reasonable salary for this kind of job with these expectations?”
Find out what the other side wants
After you decide how much you want, figure out what the company wants. Neale said of a negotiation, “Think of it as problem-solving, make it collaborative.” That will keep your request from coming off as too demanding or greedy.
Both Sethi and Neale said before you get to the actual negotiation, you need to know what your counterpart’s goals are – and you need to have ideas on how you can help accomplish them. For instance, Sethi recommends coming up with a 30-, 60– or 90-day plan of how you will tackle those company aims, typing it up in a one– to three-page document and presenting it during your negotiation.
Come up with a full package
Put more than just salary on the table. Consider the full compensation package, including flexible hours, the resources you’ll need to do the job, or even perks such as quarterly dinners with the CEO (yes, this is something that Sethi said one of his students bargained for).
Neale said that new graduates in particular may not have as much leverage with salary, but could package together other factors: “They might negotiate the kind of resources they have to do their job, the quality of their technology assistance, or, if they have a job that requires a lot of travel, an expense account for their automobiles.” Rank these in order of importance to you, and know at what point you’re willing to walk away from the talks entirely, when you have better alternatives. At the same time, set an optimistic aspiration so you know what you’re shooting for, and focus on that.
Practice, practice, practice
Once you’ve come up with your argument, rehearse with a friend – not just once, but several times, until your speech become second nature. Have him or her mix up the counterarguments, so you’re prepared to defend your case several ways and so you don’t get ruffled in the process.
How to negotiate salary for a new job
When you’re accepting a new position (as opposed to requesting a raise), you’re in the best position to boost your salary – maybe not for your very first job, but definitely later on, when you switch companies. Why? Because then they have less information on you and you’re not already working for them. You have more leverage.
Sethi said that you should use what he calls “competence triggers” to signal that you’re a top performer: Speak calmly and slowly, not at a nervously quick pace. And push the money discussion off – until after you’ve gotten the offer.
When asked the dreaded salary requirement question, just answer N/A if it’s on a form, or respond “I’m sure we can find a number that’s fair for both of us but for right now, I just want to see if there’s a fit on your side and on my side.”
Sethi said the best situation from which to negotiate is one in which you have multiple offers. Then you can say, “You’re my top choice, but I want to be totally honest with you – I have two other offers, but if we can work this to a fair number, I think we can sign this and get this done.” He says this friendly, candid but firm tone will keep things non-adversarial but also get you what you want.
Even if you don’t have multiple offers, you should use what he calls the “briefcase technique.” This begins with you asking the hiring manager about his or her top challenges, what worked the previous year, what didn’t, etc.