When you’re offered a new job, do you feel relief or horror? That depends partly on where you’re from.
People from India, for instance, are the least bothered by negotiating salary after accepting a job, according to an international Monster.com poll of more than 3,500 people released last week. More than half say they are very or somewhat comfortable with negotiations. (A LinkedIn survey from two years ago found the same thing.)
But people in Canada just hate talking pay, eh? More than half there are “not at all comfortable” to negotiate a higher salary. They’re the most uneasy, followed by the French and the Dutch.
Americans are a little better, but it’s still not our idea of fun. About 40 percent of us are “not at all” comfortable, and 19 percent are only “slightly comfortable.” We’re more anxious than the international average.
So how do you negotiate more like Indians and less like Canadians? There are entire academic papers devoted to analyzing cultural differences in negotiation, but let’s face it: You can’t make an American hiring manager act like an Indian one. So let’s stick to the tried-and-true tactics…
1. Do your homework
You can’t negotiate effectively if you’re plagued with self-doubt about your worth — you won’t know when you’re being lowballed or when to stop pushing.
Research typical pay for someone with your experience and in your market on Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, or Payscale.com. Try to make sure the job title you see online matches up with the job description you’ve been given, since companies sometimes use different names for the same role. The best possible number would be the pay for that job at that company.
The sooner you have that range, the better — pay could come up at any time in the hiring process.
2. Aim a little high
Even if you don’t remember all that stuff about projectile motion and parabolas from high school physics, you still know this basic thing: When you aim at a target, you have to account for gravity. The business world has a similar force that’s always trying to keep costs down: shareholders.
Knowing what pay range the job you were offered, factor in your own experience, and you have an idea of what you deserve. Setting the target a few grand above that and then compromising can make your desired salary look more reasonable. Just remember: The company has probably done its homework, too. You still have to convince them you’re worth it.
3. Respond without answering
It’s not a good idea to lie at any point in the hiring process. But just because somebody asks what you made at your last job doesn’t mean you have to give a straight answer. You can instead say you’re looking for a job in a certain pay range.
If pressed — and you might not be, since some skittishness and evasiveness is common in negotiations — you can give up the number and explain why you’re worth more now. Cite new skills, more experience, and specific accomplishments from the last job.
The goal is to stay in control while avoiding deception.
4. Think of the perks
Sometimes a hiring manager’s hands are tied and they’re locked into a specific salary range. But they may be able to offer you other forms of compensation — flexible hours or occasional work-from-home, training opportunities, extra vacation time, a gas allowance, or maybe the use of some company equipment. It never hurts to ask, especially if there’s something specific you already want.