Salary Negotiation Phobia πŸ˜±πŸ’°

Hello!

As a recruiter, I normally do not deal with the salary negotiation portion of the process. However, some people I speak with always ask me for advice on how to negotiate properly. As a woman, I think it is important to have strong negotiation skills, but unfortunately I am too not the strongest in this area. What is your best advice for those negotiating salary in a contract?

courtneybranson's profile thumbnail
Hi! My best advice for someone wanting to negotiate salary is to get to know the company's compensation approach. Ask questions early on about the range, how the range is decided, how they decide what to offer within a range, what measures they take to ensure internal and external fairness, how + when compensation reviews happen, and what other forms of compensation exist (e.g., stock options, bonus, sign-on bonuses). Understanding how the company thinks about compensation offers insight into where you can negotiate. At some companies, it's easy to get a sign-on bonus approved, but it may be impossible to get a base salary increase approved. Or foregoing some stock options may be a way to get a higher base salary. If a company offers you the low end of the range, they could be assuming you'll negotiate, or they want a buffer to give you a raise in the future. It's annoying, but usually, it's an easy request. But if a company offers you the low-end because, based on the interviews, they felt that was the most equitable level for you to be at, that's tough. You'll want to make a case for your talents or try to negotiate a compensation review at the 3-6-month mark. If a company offers you the top of the range and it's still not enough for you, let them know that after learning more about the role, you believe that x salary would be more aligned with the impact + responsibility. Lastly, whether or not compensation feels fair to you will depend on how much weight you give every aspect of the role. If the compensation doesn't feel fair, maybe the overall experience the company is offering isn't a good match for your values.My qualifications: A decade of experience running compensation, interviewing, and negotiating offers with candidates.
There are two problems with asking about salary early on. One is that you’ll give the impression your main concern is your compensation, not company philosophy or culture. The second is that the people you meet with early on might not have the information you need and probably won’t be able to make compensation decisions. Save your questions for later rounds, when you meet people who do have access to numbers and can properly discuss salary range, reviews, etc.
You don't say what kind of recruiter you are. Inhouse? Agency? Definitely not full lifecycle- not meaning anything negative by this. I would suggest you refer them to others if it's not your wheelhouse. Learning how to ask for what you want is an essential part of any new opportunities discussion and should be had in the first conversation if you are a candidate. You should ask for what the role will pay as the total reward. Ask for what the base range and bonus for the role is set at. Ask if there is any equity stake as well. Those 3 pieces make up the response you should expect to get. If they ask you what you want best not to respond until they share their part. You don't want to tag a price to your head before you know what their budget will bear. Many states are going to a pay transparency act and in some states it's now required to share range when they post a role. You don't say if this is something for you or for others but perhaps if its for you find a mentor that can help educate you on the how and then you can also share with others. You only get what you ask for when you have all the info up front.