Most people usually say there are two stages to successfully gaining employment. First, the application submission and second, the interview. In most cases, if both steps go well then you are offered the job. While the job application and interview styles may vary, most professionals view the job application process within the sphere of this two-step process.
There is, however, a crucial component missing in this equation; salary negotiation.
Rather than being viewed as an incidental matter or accessory to the more important challenges of an application and an interview, salary negotiations should be seen by both employers and job candidates as a crucial foundation upon which the job vacancy and a future working relationship is built.
What to do as a Candidate
Whether you are actively looking for work, seeking a new job whilst currently employed, or perhaps even seeking an internal promotion, once you’ve received confirmation of an interview you can feel confident you’ve made it past the first hurdle. Reaching the interview stage means your application has done what it should: made a solid introduction of who you are as a professional and given your potential employer an insight into why they would want you on their team.
To start salary negotiations, confidently propose an ideal figure that can be supported by your experience and expertise. You may well find that the figure you cited is not just theoretical, but a realistic salary figure moving forward. Rather than consigning your application to memory, be sure to reference it throughout the interview and then leverage your experience in salary negotiations.
What to do as an Employer
Just as a candidate should look to leverage their application and its strengths throughout the interview process, so too should a potential employer use it as the devil’s advocate when negotiating salary.
It should be said that it is important to be professional throughout negotiations, your desired candidate may not be as skilled as other applicants but rather than stating a vague figure for a salary without reason, cite evidence of their professional value as the basis for your offer.
Achieving a Salary Increase
It must always be remembered by candidate and employer that a salary being negotiated right now is not just about today, or the next year – or even the next couple of years – but the future as a whole. Just like professional athletes sign multi-year contracts because of their anticipated growth and value in years ahead, so too can a candidate leverage future education, developing skills and achievements to raise their prospective salary higher in negotiations.
By contrast, if you are an employer who cannot (or is unwilling) to pay a candidate what they desire now, be upfront and direct with them about why. In the day and age of online searches a candidate can easily deduce their market value – so rather than just decline their suggested figure, offer your counter offer but indicate what they could do to raise their salary in future. A prime example of this is if a candidate proposes a higher salary but has yet to complete the related educational course or qualification – negotiate a figure within their current market value and indicate renegotiations are possible once they’ve obtained that certification.
The Middle Ground
For each scenario that can play out in a salary negotiation it ultimately boils down to a common factor for both candidate and employer: clear communication regarding expectations. As a candidate it is entirely fair to have some clarity about your earning potential in a role, similarly, it is fair for an employer to indicate the milestones needing to be met before a higher salary can be awarded.
For a candidate going through the job application process, be sure to be honest and clear about the salary you expect today and what you wish to earn in the future. For an employer, don’t be afraid to say no initially – for you need a role filled and have a budget in place – just be sure to provide a clear path forward for wage growth thereafter. This strategy could be the difference between potentially losing the perfect candidate and having them join your team at a lower salary, knowing the potential to grow with you in the future is immense.