Read Part 1 here.
Once you’ve figured out what’s holding you back, what your fear is, you can face it and prepare for salary negotiation. This preparation will give you confidence to move forward. Kim Keating breaks it down into four steps: Do Your Homework, Silence is Golden, Time to Negotiate, and Make a Decision.
As with any type of negotiation, you must do your research and have facts available to support your request. This is the homework phase. According to an article at salary.com, “Women who fail to negotiate their salaries at the start of their careers could leave up to $2 million on the table.” The amount you want now may seem small, but it can make a big difference over the course of your career. Assess your qualifications and skills, do research on salaries in your field, and, if possible, find out what people in the company are making. Think about why they need you and use credible compensation data so you can say that “this is the standard.”
When Keating says “silence is golden,” she’s suggesting not bringing up the actual salary amount until the right time. You want the employer to know your value before discussing any salary. Use the findings from your homework and consider all aspects of compensation, including benefits, tuition, and retirement to get an accurate picture of what you’re worth. She says to make that number as high as you can back into. Ask questions and determine what the offer is based on. Take the time to get your research together, even if you need more time. Susan Adams shares advice from career coach Ellie Chase in How to Negotiate Your Salary Once You Have the Job Offer, “A lot of people are afraid that if they ask for more time, the hiring manager will rescind the opportunity. But that doesn’t happen 99% of the time, he says.”
When it comes time for the actual negotiation, you’ve done the homework and can speak with confidence. Women tend to underestimate themselves, but this is not the time to back down, even though it’s true that women might experience more hurdles than men at this point. One such problem is what Keating calls the likeability-competency conundrum, where women who act authoritatively are disliked more than men. An article at Forbes.com, states that women may experience what is referred to as “…“gender blow-back”—a subtle but powerful punishment for stepping outside our cultural gender role.” This is an unfortunate reality, but one that can be overcome. Choose to defy the stereotypes and demand better pay.
Whatever you experience, it will help make your final decision. The turnout may be a best case scenario, just acceptable, or worst case. There are so many variables at this point that will affect your decision. Is it a good company to work for? Do they offer something that your current position doesn’t, so you’re willing to take their offer? Did the negotiations give you insight into the culture of the company, for better or worse? If they don’t match your criteria, it may result in a worst case scenario where you don’t get what you want and choose to walk away, but that’s not a defeat. The process has prepared you for the next negotiation. It’s up to all of us to face our fears. The result may be that we eventually change the culture surrounding salary negotiations for the betterment of all.