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The two things to know going into salary negotiations

Written on May 1, 2020

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Salary negotiations aren’t always the most comfortable conversations to have, for the job seeker or the hiring manager.

“Historically, money conversations contain a lot of anxiety for all of us,” said Kris McGuigan, president of Professional Courage. “Whether it relates to a personal issue or limiting beliefs that we’ve had for a lifetime.”

That anxiety extends into salary negotiations. The employer has invested a lot of time and energy into finding the right candidate, hoping to land on a number appropriate for the interviewee and sensible for the organization. The job seeker has worked hard to earn this offer during the interview process and now doesn’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.

On our podcast “How to prepare before you negotiate salary,” McGuigan explained how to navigate these negotiations with forethought and preparation.

There are two points you need to understand before going into a salary negotiation, she said. The first is knowing the standard salary for your position in the marketplace, accounting for geographic region. You can learn this from resources online such as PayScale.com or the Robert Half Salary Guide but be sure to look for reputable sources when gathering this information.

“Perhaps talk with your mentor who might have more advanced industry knowledge and be able to offer insight into what that position value is,” McGuigan said.

The second point is knowing what you bring to the table. She said to consider your past performance evaluations and documented accomplishments, how you’ve added value to the company and helped save time and money. Your prior experience and accomplishments can make a difference when proving your worth during the conversation.

After you feel confident speaking about those areas, McGuigan urged practice, practice, practice.

“Attempting to pursue those negotiations in lower stake situations, whether it be a mock interview or even calling your cable service provider to negotiate a lower rate, can boost your confidence,” she said.

Practicing and anticipating how the conversation might play out will help you come across as a more confident, prepared negotiator.

“You want to have a really clear sense of what exactly your numbers are going to be,” she said. “You never want to walk into the negotiation not sure of what’s going to happen.”

Watch the video above to hear more from McGuigan and listen to the complete interview to understand how negotiations change depending on your career stage, if women negotiate differently than men and more.