A survey conducted by Glassdoor revealed that a staggering 59 percent of employees accepted their initial salary offers without negotiating. Understandably, the thought alone of asking for more money might seem uncomfortable to you, but failing to know your worth could lose you more than just money.
Here are a few ways to negotiate your initial startup offer.
1. Use your accomplishments as ammo
Don’t give them a low-ball figure of your expected salary. If the application requires a number, leave it blank.
Make it clear early on that you’re absolutely confident of your worth (within reason) without having to divulge a number.
Instead, highlight what you’ve done for your previous employer and what you’re capable of doing for the company. Concretize your accomplishments in an organized document, and back these up with precise numbers, for example, how much money a past project was worth, potential business and clients your work can bring.
Doing this will prove your worth beyond a simple monthly pay – you’re good at what you do, and you can produce results.
2. Be transparent about other offers
But let them know they’re your preferred company.
Remember to do this with complete honesty and don’t get caught on a bluff. Once they know other companies are interested, they might begin to sweat a little, especially if you’re considered a priority. It is important to give them a sense of urgency, because leaving a crucial spot open and losing a potential employee can cost them more money in the long-run.
Startup companies rely on a small group of people to execute big work, and they can’t afford to take their time. A good template of mentioning the offer would be something like this:
“Thank you so much for considering me. I wanted to make you aware of something and see if you have a recommendation for me. I’ve unexpectedly received another job offer and while (insert company) is my top pick, there are aspects of the other role that appeal to me. Do you anticipate that (insert company) will be firming up a decision shortly?”
3. Go off topic
Talk about more personal details about yourself and forget about the goal for a second.
Sharing information irrelevant to the negotiation establishes rapport, and therefore builds trust. A study revealed that 59 percent of applicants who did this reached an agreement.
For example, you can talk about hobbies or circumstances that influenced your current career. For example, “Growing up with brothers meant playing console and computer games, which eventually evolved into a deeper interest in programming.”
This technique will encourage hiring managers to meet your expectations with less worry.
4. Prepare for war
Well, not really.
The negotiation process might be a tug-of-war between you and the hiring manager. If you think the offers were below your expectations and worth, then do not accept it. Though it may be an tiresome process, always assert yourself respectfully, and be ready to make an amicable settlement.
5. Walk away
Negotiations don’t always go according to plan. If the offer is way below your worth, get ready to say “no” and don’t look back. It is important to have a non-negotiable figure or offer in mind, otherwise you’re running the risk of devaluing your work.
In this situation, it’s best to thank the hiring manager, tell them what you like about the company, and be honest about your reason for declining.
For example, “Thank you for your offer (tell them what you like about their company), but upon further consideration, I have decided to explore other opportunities (insert your reason here).”
As always, do this with utmost respect – don’t burn bridges. The power move of saying no might convince them to bump up the offer, you never know.
What’s the trade-off?
Don’t get caught up in the limited satisfaction promised by bigger money. Negotiating your offer should not only apply to the salary, don’t forget the other — and more important factors — of your career. Will you learn from this new role? Are you promised a promotion after x number of years?
Remember to review the job description and make sure you feel good about the company. Joining a startup is a risk in itself – don’t work for a cause you don’t believe in.
Are you willing to swim in cash but drown in work?
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