Gather Market Data
When it comes to salary negotiation best practices, the first rule is to avoid asking about salary too soon. Still, you do want to be prepared when compensation comes up during your phone screening, whether that is during the initial interview or even three interviews into the hiring process. Do your research and know what comparative positions pay in your area. The same job in New York and Indianapolis, for example, may have different salaries due to different costs of living. You can then adjust that salary based on your experience. Armed with this information, you'll be prepared if the topic arises.
Stéphane Sarrazin, global executive recruiter, also recommends considering the lowest salary you're prepared to take.
"But you don't want to focus only on cash,” Sarrazin said. “There are also benefits to consider."
Weigh your Offer
If you receive an offer, it may be tempting to accept immediately. But a better strategy is to wait. Make it clear you're thankful for the offer and ask if there's a deadline to accept. You'll want to fully consider the salary in addition to the benefits package. If your prospective employer hasn't provided you with benefits information, you should ask for it and approximate the value of all the extras.
Negotiate a Better Package
Once you've gathered all the data, you can be transparent with your expectations. If the compensation is lower than you expected, even when factoring in benefits, make your case for your desired compensation. If the salary is spot on, or there's no avenue to increase monetary compensation, you can negotiate other benefits. These can include more vacation time, work-from-home flexibility, educational opportunities or other perks that could boost your job satisfaction and productivity.
Whatever you decide, whether it's to accept or reject an offer, stick to the deadline. Respecting your interviewer's time will ensure that you remain on good terms regardless of your decision.