Anxiety issues: Negotiating Salaries

Individuals with Anxiety really struggle with salary negotiations. I know because first I have anxiety and have been there and two I have hired people in prior roles and negotiated salaries. So in this post we will cover 3 things you need to know BEFORE negotiating a salary and 2 things you can say to an interviewer when the subject of salary comes up. First up: What you need to know before negotiating a salary

  1. Your bottom line: So this is vague let me explain. You have to know what your minimum number is. Your circumstances might be unique, maybe you are unemployed, maybe you have a high paying job. Whatever it is you have to know what your bottom line is. Specifically, you need to know what number you will not go below.
  2. Be educated on the range: So there is no one absolute number. Not all Analysts get paid 125K a year etc. You need to go online find a salary range website (there are several) and use that as a gauge for what you should be asking for. HR dept.’s is using these sites as well and they know what the range is. So if its 60-80K and you’re asking for 55K they know you are undervaluing yourself. This presents a few issues; first they are wondering why you are underselling yourself. Second, if they hire you they are doing so knowing that you are undervaluing yourself and its likely they know you will walk (once you find out what you should be paid).
  3. Your skills: You have to be crystal clear on what you can and can’t do. Skills are now paramount and with more and more online work if you say you can do excel you better be able to do excel. Companies aren’t as focused on work history anymore it’s all about the skill set you bring to the table. Included in that is maturity, how well you work with others, attitude. You have to really be clear here, if you don’t work well with others you better know that and if they ask you don’t say it outright but you don’t claim that you can when you know you can’t.
Negotiating pay can be a nightmare

So what about when they ask about salaries? This comes up eventually if you are a serious candidate. Often you will be asked on the first call from HR what your “salary requirements are” so they can eliminate you quickly if it’s not in their budget. Look I’m going to be blunt here, you don’t want to answer this question directly and if they press you then you ask for your max number. Here are two ways to answer it:

  1. “I don’t have a firm number in my head at the moment but I have done the research on the job requirements and with my experience I know approx. what the range is but I am flexible, what is the companies range for this role?”
  2. “I haven’t come up with a number yet as I was really focused on the role and job tasks. The job is very interesting but I suppose I do have to get paid right (chuckle here). I don’t know, what is the range the company is offering?”

Both of these answers throw it back on the person you are speaking with. This is the negotiation phase and everyone has to go through it. They want you at the lowest price possible, you want the highest price. Don’t take it personally, its business and good business too I might add. Chances are the person you are speaking to knows what you are doing and they might press, again your fallback position is the high end of your personal range. ONLY if they demand the number, this gives you the best position in that scenario, if your number wasn’t too high.

Negotiating a salary with anxiety doesn’t have to be painful. Know what you can command in the market place. Your current salary and job is a good starting point. Someone is already paying you that number for that work, so you know you are at least worth that.

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