By now you've probably read about how women's tendency not to negotiate salaries contributes to gender pay inequity
(If you want to know exactly how this plays out, check out former bank executive Sally Krawshaw's interview with National Public Radio.)
In 2012, Business Record Chairman Connie Wimer and I talked over lunch about her upcoming speech to a group of female journalists on how to negotiate.
She added that in all her years as owner of Iowa Title, she didn't remember a single woman who had negotiated on salary, although several men had. I remember thinking that I wish I would have had her advice on negotiating when I was going through the hiring process for my jobs.
In fact, Wimer had never negotiated on her own salary, position or her title, she said later. But she had, over the years, been purposeful about learning to negotiate. Here are some of her tips:
1. Never lie about your current salary. If you are asked about your salary expectations, try saying "I am confident I'm in your price range." If pushed, consider giving a salary range and tell them that you would be willing to negotiate within that range depending on other benefits.
2. Never, ever accept the first offer. There is always a better one. The corollary to that is never make the first offer if you can avoid it.
3. Be concrete in your own mind before you start negotiating. Have three specific figures in mind: Whoopee!! Good. Lowest Acceptable.
4. Avoid any salary negotiation until you know they want you. Your strongest negotiating position is after they offer you the job and before you accept it.
5. Listen more and talk less. Silence is valuable in negotiation.
6. Avoid the quick deal. Slow it down. Once you have an offer, don't accept right away. Go home and think about it.
7. If they can't meet the salary you'd like, consider negotiating on benefits and perks to increase your compensation in ways that your prospective employer might accept.
Some words to use in negotiations:
- "Would you consider taking $xx?"
- "Is that your best offer?"
- "I really want this job. Can you do a bit better on the salary?"
Even if you don't expect to be talking about your salary soon, you can start flexing your negotiation muscle on small projects - perhaps on the price for a consumer good or a home or car repair.
Whether you get a deal or not, you'll become more comfortable with negotiating words.