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10 tips to negotiate a higher starting salary

February 11, 2014 11:08 IST

10 tips to negotiate a higher starting salary

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Rhea Kavarana, YouthIncMag

Follow these tips to get the salary you deserve.

You're a graduate, who's fresh out of college and after months of hunting for the right job have finally landed an offer. Congratulations!

However, you are not happy with the salary they are offering. How does one negotiate a win-win compensation package without being overtly greedy or downright modest?

Negotiating salary is an art that only a few have been able to master. Here are 10 tips to help you strike the right deal.

1. Shed all inhibitions

Over 15 years of studying is finally paid off with your first job.

Take all emotions regarding salary negotiation like fear, apprehension, etc and wave them goodbye.

This is a business transaction, so if you don't ask for a higher salary, you have left that money idle for someone more outspoken to take. So may as well be the outspoken one, right?

Courtesy:YouthIncMag.com

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2. Always negotiate

Any figure presented to you by an employer is always the lowest limit, with wiggle-room intentionally left for negotiation.

Just a 10 per cent less salary difference in your first job can represent a serious lifetime loss if you include annual salary-hikes.

Since your starting salary is the benchmark for all future appraisals, negotiate without exceptions.


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3. Do your homework well

Research the company, talk to people working in competitive companies, contact your mentors, etc to have a clear idea on what kind of salary is offered in the market.

Only then can you go into an interview well informed, enough to know if the salary being offered is legitimate.


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4. Let the employer initiate negotiation

Being too eager and initiating salary discussion yourself may come across as desperate and will seem like you are after the salary more than the job profile, which creates an awful impression.

Furthermore, once the employer gives you a starting salary figure, know that it is a baseline and it can only go higher from there.

 

 


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5. Be mindful of your tone and body language

Before the negotiation actually begins, be very aware that your tone is a tell-tale sign of your reaction to the salary.

Keep your tone calm, sans excitement.

Similarly, observe your body language and avoid widening your eyes with glee if presented with a good salary, or even slouching and rolling your eyes if the salary discussed is inadequate.

Maintain a professional tone and body language at all times.


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Determine your worth

The foremost thing for you to do is emphasise on the value YOU as an individual will add to the productivity of the company.

Discuss personal skills, past work experience, internships, academic background, etc.

Bring to the attention of your employer what you have to offer that keeps you a cut above your peers, be it internships, prior jobs, duties in college, etc.

This will help determine your value, which in turn will demand a higher salary.

 


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7. Be reasonable and realistic

No matter how much value you add to the company, you must be reasonable while negotiating a salary.

Once you've found out the market rate, use that as a benchmark and avoid going above that rate unless you have a very specific  reason to.

Being unreasonable during negotiation can really turn an employer off and even come off as too Smart Alec for a fresher.

 


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8. Understand that a little goes a long way

An important thing to note is that even a single digit salary hike can go a long way.

Your starting salary if boosted by even five per cent will automatically boost all annual hikes and bonuses, which cumulatively sums up to a healthy amount.


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9. Be flexible

While negotiating, know the value of non-monetary recompense such as additional leave, paid leave, company-sponsored higher education, annual bonuses or stocks, a personal development course, a car park space, etc.

These factors add tremendous value to the total employment package. If you couldn't get a monetary hike of the desired amount, understand the value of perks.

 


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10. End on a positive note

Irrespective of whether the employer has agreed to your terms, end the interview on a respectful note by politely smiling, shaking hands and saying Thank You.

Avoid bitter facial expressions or even overexcited handshakes.

Make sure the employer is willing to provide the determined terms in writing.

When starting out, until written offers are made, leave all doors open.

In her advice to graduating students Haseena Sayed, placement cell coordinator, Jai Hind College, Mumbai says, "Students should be able to take their stand as very often companies stress students out while discussing salaries, but they should be firm enough to take a stand. Never say, 'Pay me whatever you want'. This is a deadly mistake that several students make." 

Meanwhile Dipali Sheth, HR country head (India), Royal Bank of Scotland counsels freshers to rather focus on finding the right job that matches their skill sets.

"People start thinking about salary as the number one objective and talk about it first; this is one of the major mistakes made. It is the most important to see if the job fits your skill set, strengths and talent," she sums up. 

 


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