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Negotiating Salary: Mindset is Everything

by Taylor Slattery | May 21, 2020

Negotiating Salary - Mindset is Everythin

When searching for a job, there are a number of important things to take into consideration. Ensuring that the workspace will be a comfortable environment, that you’ll have coworkers who will support and challenge you, and hopefully, a short commute. You’ll have a lot on your mind. One important and often overlooked aspect of this process is negotiating your salary.

Every dollar counts. Even a small increase in your salary will add up over time, allowing you to build up your savings and grant you more flexibility. Obviously, we all want to make as much money as possible. So why is this critical step one that is so often skipped? Fear. The dynamic of the job interview process is such that you are selling yourself to the prospective employer. As the interviewee, this puts you in a lower status position and if you don’t have much experience interviewing or haven’t taken the necessary steps to prepare, bringing up the topic of salary can be an uncomfortable bridge to cross.

Maybe you don’t want to ask for too much and risk lowering your position in the pool of candidates, or perhaps you lack the confidence in your skillset that might embolden you to ask for more. Either way, you’re selling yourself short. Let’s take a look at some of the steps you can take to better prepare yourself for the next time you’re in an interview and the topic of salary comes up.

First, know your worth. Do some research and find out the average salary of the position you’re applying for. Next, take into account your experience. Are you bringing any unique skills that make you more of an asset to the team or is this your first time applying for this type of role? Regardless, you’re going to want to ask for more than the going rate. Even if you are new or aren’t entirely confident in your abilities, put on a brave face and aim for the top range.

Unless the employer is trying to convince you to join their company over another, expect for them to counter with a value lower than your initial ask. From this point, there’s no going back up, which is why you want to start at the top of the range. A strange psychological trick you can try is to ask for a very specific number. This strategy works in advertising and works in salary negotiations as well. For example, if your top range is $70,000, you might try asking for $69,450 instead. It sounds strange, but it makes your number feel more intentional and well-researched. People are more likely to abide by a request when a reason is given, and this principle is at play when you give a specific number.

Ultimately, you will need to feel the situation out for yourself and make the best decision for you. Be realistic but don’t undervalue yourself. If you accept a salary that’s less than you feel you’re worth, you’ll start off on the wrong foot and it will only be a matter of time before the resentment starts to build. A new partnership is built on mutual trust and respect. You need to be able to respect yourself enough to walk away if the offer is too low.


Taylor is the Managing Editor of Notes on Design. Taylor is a graphic designer, illustrator, and Design Lead at Weirdsleep.


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