There are fewer things in your career journey that are going to strike fear and anxiety, and a desire to go and hide on the couch with a pint of Hagen Daas, than salary negotiation brings up for most reasonable people.
However, it doesn't have to be like that.
Negotiating a job offer is a very necessary aspect of getting a new opportunity and it doesn't have to be bad. It doesn't have to feel dirty. You don't have to feel like you need to take a shower once you're done. All you need to do is negotiate your salary and the job offer from an authentic place using the seven steps that I am going to lay out for you.
Step 1: Confirm You Want the Job
This probably seems extraordinarily obvious, but the vast majority of articles and blogs and videos out there actually don't mention it. You need to confirm that this is a job offer that you actually want to take.
Do you want to change some things about it? Probably, that's why you're here.
However, once those things are aligned, is this an opportunity that you're going to say yes to? What if you can't adjust those element during the negotiation, are they deal breakers? Knowing that at the outset is going to help you understand what your decision is as you move through. It's very easy for this to become emotional and for it to feel very personal.
The clearer you are on the fact that you want the opportunity, and that you're in fact eager to make this opportunity work out, is going to bring you a long way.
It's also important for your potential employer to know how excited and eager you are to get this offer into a state that you are super excited to say yes to it. This includes things like telling them how excited you are (I know, I know genius advice, no need to thank me). Even from a deep subconscious and energetic level, the more that you actually want to get to a place that you can say yes to the opportunity, the more the person that you are negotiating with is going to want to get you there as well. And when they're there, they're going to move mountains to make it happen. And that leads us directly into step two...
Step 2: Negotiate from the same side of the table
This is easily the biggest mistake that professionals make when they're negotiating their salary. They make it a me versus you.
"I have this offer doing X, I want you to do Y for me."
That's not how you're going to win.
Maybe you'll be successful in the negotiation, but you're sitting across the table from that person and it is going to be really hard for you to get onto the same side again. If you are joining a big company, there's a very good chance that you're going to be negotiating with a recruiter and that you are going to be distant from your actual hiring manager. However, that doesn't totally insulate the fact that a ruthless negotiation, which is very much pitted against you versus them, is going to create tension.
And any tension you create before you sign the dotted line is going to remain one the other side of the job offer contract singing.
Plus, if you're negotiating from the same side of the table, you're actually coming at it from their perspective. You're building the case for them of why they need to give you more money, more time off, more benefits, whatever it is that you're actually trying to achieve through the negotiation.
It's putting you onto the same team before you're officially a team member before you walk into it.
Step 3: Remember it's not personal
I know when you're negotiating your salary, your compensation, the money going into your bank account,- it's very easy for it to feel personal. How many times have you heard, or have you even said, you 'need to be paid what you're worth'?
I know this is something that I'm totally guilty of saying.
The reality is that you, my friend, are absolutely priceless. They can give you $1 million a year and they would still totally not reflect your value as a human being.
Valuing you is not possible. No company can actually meet that obligation.
What you're appraising through the salary negotiation process and through the job offer negotiation process is actually finding the intersect of your skills and experience, what you're bringing to the table, and what exactly they need. You're appraising from this .point in the middle where the two meet. If you're negotiating from anywhere outside of that cross-section, it's not generating a win win situation - and that's going to kind of miss the point.
The more that you can understand the fact that the company isn't making an offer based on you and your value, and that you're not fighting for your personal value, it's just simply a business transaction.
This also serves when the offer is far from what you need and you're not able to close the gap. Because it is an offer, and you are actually not fact required to accept it.
Also on this point, another mistake that I see made that I want to make sure you're not going to make, and I want you to walk into this fully prepared to not bring up these things, is I have heard in negotiations where people have made the defense of they have living expenses. Their rent is this much, their mortgages that much, they need to do these things.
But here's the truth: your personal financial requirements have nothing to do with the company or the compensation.
This is a really important differentiation and this is actually true if you're negotiating a job offer, and if you're negotiating an increase, at any point your career journey. Your personal requirements are actually not going to be the driver in any way to have the company give you what you're asking for. The driver to give you what you're asking for is going to be the market