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Best Salary Negotiating Tactics

By: Jason Markum

I know we are in the middle of the worst recessions in the history of America right now, and people are getting laid off left and right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t necessarily negotiate a better salary. In this article I’m going to discuss my best negotiating tactics when it comes to salary.

I’m not going to lie to you, anytime you have to negotiate salary with a prospective employer, or even with your current employer, it is going to be awkward. On the other hand, you might not ever have such a good opportunity to negotiate exactly what you want from your employer, especially if it’s a new employer.

It doesn’t matter what you’re negotiating for, salary, or anything else; in all negotiations you can’t expect to prevail unless you know exactly what you want and exactly what you can realistically expect to get.

In my opinion, the best tactic when it comes to negotiating salary, is to wait and not talk about salary at all until you’re absolutely sure that you have the job. Why is this? Because most of the time if you are actually offered the job, then the other candidates have been turned away. I find that most of the time companies don’t keep any sort of back-up applicant ready and waiting in case you turn them down. They usually put all their eggs in one basket. And now you are holding the basket!

That means that the company has to start from scratch to find a new candidate if you turn them down. This costs them a lot of money and a lot of time and a lot of headaches that they would rather not deal with. Not to mention the fact that they will probably find less qualified candidates the second time around.

If they start to talk about compensation early in the interview process, try and change the subject or evade the question as well as you can. Remember, it’s in your interest to leave salary talk till the very end. If they keep pushing it on salary the beginning, I suggest mentioning what you made earlier in your old job and then distract them with a generic stock phrase like “I’m actually more interested in the career opportunity here than anything else”. You get the idea…

After you’ve been offered the job, be confident with your salary demands. Just don’t go overboard. If you ask ridiculously high compensation levels that are not in line with current industry standards, the fact that you’ve been offered the job and other candidates have been turned away may not save you. Be confident just don’t go overboard. You don’t want to start your new job, after all, off on the wrong foot by haggling over pennies.

If you do reach a standoff at this stage in the game try throwing a curve ball. Offer to work for a period, say a month or two, at the minimum wage level that they are offering with the understanding that after that trial period if they are satisfied with your work, the compensation level will increase to what you have been asking for.

I’ve never heard of a company actually taking somebody up on this offer… but just the fact that you offered it may be enough for them to go ahead and grant the salary level that you are asking for. This sort of selfless behavior should impress them enough to take a chance on you.

Whatever you do, and however the negotiations go, be sure to remain confident, surefooted, and act in a professional manner and I’m sure you’ll be just fine.

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