Pay is a delicate issue. Most of us don't like talking about it, so when a vacancy says 'salary negotiable' many people are nervous about applying and may even steer clear altogether.
But negotiating pay is not that difficult when you know how. If you have the right skills for the job and it's clear that the employer wants you, it may well pay you to try to negotiate the salary upwards even before you accept the job.
First get over your reluctance by realising that negotiating is not the same as fighting a battle. If the employer wants you and you want the job, you are both on the same side. Both of you share the same goal - negotiation is simply discussing the best way to achieve it and is commonplace in many sectors such as trade jobs or engineering positions.
Plan in advance. Research typical rates for the job - if the job you are being offered is paying below the average rate, you are in a good position to negotiate the pay upwards.
Pick your time. Simon Horton, author of Negotiation Mastery, says: "You are strongest when they have offered you the job but not named a figure. Then get in first with a high figure, otherwise they will start low and it will be hard to negotiate upwards."
Make your case quoting not only the current market rates for similar jobs (check our Job Search for salaries) but also with hard evidence that your particular skills can really help the company. If the employer cannot offer more hard cash, look at the rest of the package - can they offer better benefits such as an enhanced performance bonus, or medical insurance? On the other hand, are there any benefits that you don't need? Ask if you can pass on those and get more cash instead.
If they cannot pay you more now, will they consider reviewing your salary in six months and giving you a raise if you have performed well?
Whatever you are negotiating - the salary for a new job, a raise, or a promotion, the skills are much the same. And as Horton says: "Don't be sneaky or manipulative, just honest and comfortable, and you will be more likely to be successful."
Until next time,