A company is interested in hiring you for a new opening in the company. You feel as if you are in high demand because you are in a skilled-labor or professional position that requires skills that you possess. If you are considering any new position and you currently are already employed, you should be seeking higher wages, a better working atmosphere, and an overall improvement in your career.
Not asking about your wages up front is a mistake. During most every interview the employer is going to ask you that one question, which is: " What wages are you asking for if you were to come to work for us?" While this can be a difficult question to answer point-blank when you don't know the current rate of pay in the company, you can come prepared for the question and negotiate a higher rate of pay.
Never act surprised when that big question is asked
Come to your interview prepared! Make a list of questions that are always asked during interviews, such as: Are you new to the area? Do you have a degree in this industry? What did you like best about your last job? What did you like least about your last job? Can you name three strengths you have, and that would apply to this position? What are your weaknesses?
Being prepared is going to help you get through the interview; then as it comes time to negotiate your salary you are better prepared, not only with good conversation, but also in selling yourself to this company, which is essentially what you are doing! You want to start out with a base-level salary, but you are expecting a review of your performance in 60 days, or 6 months. In stating you are asking for a base salary and then expect a raise as you show you can perform and be beneficial for the company, you will show the potential employer you are confident in what you do and in how you complete your job.
Along with asking for a higher salary right from the start, you can also have a conversation with the employer that you are prepared to accept a set dollar amount per week, but you also would require additional benefits. Many times, the benefits are going to be easier for the company to provide, but even with a base salary, overall you are getting paid a higher rate. Examples of benefits include a laptop computer so you can work from anywhere, a cellular phone, a gas card for traveling, and perhaps an expense account for dining with customers or dealing with marketing needs.
You may be permitted a clothing allowance, a tool allowance, or perhaps you could start out with two weeks of vacation per year instead of one. But you need to remember that the perfect salary is going to be one that you are happy with and one with which you feel you can support yourself and / or your family. You don't want to give up too much of your salary to get the benefits that will not be cash in your pocket.
Preparing your answers up front before the questions about salary are asked during your interview will show you are confident in your abilities, and that you know what you are worth. Never be afraid to ask for another $29 per week, or another $200 per week, when you know what the salaries are in the industry you are working, and you have the experience to back up the negotiations for additional salary! If the employer states that your price is a little out of their range, remind the employer they are going to save money by hiring you because you are trained, you are bringing years or months of experience, and you have ideas for the position that will boost your overall levels of input and productivity that will benefit the company almost immediately. Never be afraid to state what you know, and what you can do for the company.
Negotiate with the employer before the first day of employment
It is important that if wages were not discussed during your interview, that you make an appointment and discuss your salary before you start working anywhere for anyone. While you may have a set wage in your mind and what you know you should be paid, the employer may have a scale, stating you are paid X dollars per week, and raises are given yearly. If you are not sure what your salary will be, then nine times out of ten you are not going to get the wages you expected.
Negotiate with confidence
When you are negotiating your wages, you need to be confident in your answers, and in what you are asking. If the question never comes up during the interview, then you need to initiate the topic. Look the employer in the eye, showing you are not afraid of any topic, any time. Ask what the salary is. If the answer is not high enough for you, add additional questions.
Looking the person in the eye, with a strong voice, ask what the benefits are, and when reviews for raises are considered. If you are not happy with the answer, make a statement along the lines of: "I was expecting the position to pay $X." If you are not satisfied with the beginning salary, set expectations about when you expect reviews, or find out what the company has in their policy for reviews and raises in compensation.
Things you can do if you find the employer is not going to budge on the salary being offered
o State that you will have to think about it, and then don't call the employer for a week. If you are not calling the employer and they need to fill this position right away, there is a chance they will call you and offer you a higher wage.
o You can ask for additional benefits, such as the gas card, expense account, cellular phone, or extended vacation time.
o Your compensation also includes a combination of sick time, personal time, and medical benefits. If you are not able to get the higher salary you want or need, inquire about the company paying full medical benefits, more sick time, more personal days, and similar types of benefits. These are benefits that hourly employees may not be offered but ones that you can negotiate into your salary package.
o If you are interviewing at more than one location, for more than one job, don't be afraid to bring up the fact that another company is interested in you and is, in fact, offering you a much more competitive salary (if it is true, of course). This will reveal to the employer that you are valuable and perhaps they should rethink the salary offer they put on the table.