The interview process is over, you’ve been offered the job – congratulations! – and the salary negotiations have begun. While this is an exciting time, many new employees dread the back and forth discussions. How much is too much to ask for and what can you do to be sure that you walk away with a salary that meets your needs?
The best place to start is to know what the standard industry pay is for the position you are applying for. According to Payscale.com, salaries for travel consultants average out to around $40K annually and spread from $24K to $55K per year. The average travel agent salary is around $39,000, but of course can depend on experience and location. You should know your base number – both the job average and what you want to make – before you enter into negotiations.
In Business Insider magazine, Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of "Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behavior and Thrive in Your Job,” said that you should keep in mind your bargaining power once you hear their offer. "If the original offer is on the low side of the scale, you have more leverage," she said. "If you get an offer for 20% over your current salary, you can still negotiate for more — ask for an additional 5% — but know that you're already in good stead."
Unless your offer is firm and was already discussed, Jerome Young, a contributor with Forbes magazine says that anyone who really wants to hire you but has limited resources may offer a lowball figure with the excuse “This is what we can afford right now.”
Think outside of the box if you want the job. “If you want the job, ask if they would be open to discussing a performance based bonus,” he writes. “You could start by saying “Let’s talk about specific, measurable results that would improve your bottom line and increase my earnings.” Get any incentive pay agreements in writing during the hiring stage so your employer is committed to following through.”
Most importantly, make sure they understand your worth. In the Harvard Business Review, Deepak Malhotra, the Eli Goldston Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the author of Negotiating the Impossible, said that you shouldn’t just state your desire, but also the reason why it’s justified. “If you have no justification for a demand, it may be unwise to make it,” he says. “Again, keep in mind the inherent tension between being likable and explaining why you deserve more: Suggesting that you’re especially valuable can make you sound arrogant if you haven’t thought through how best to communicate the message.”
Don’t quibble. If you watch the popular ABC show Shark Tank, you will see that entrepreneurs who come into the ‘tank’ and want a certain amount of money will lose the deal due to a difference in percentage points. One entrepreneur lost a deal because of a 5% difference in the offer on the table and what the entrepreneur wanted. If you’re that close to making a deal, consider accepting. Often, you can renegotiate after a specific amount of time at the company and earn that five percent or consider negotiating for a performance based bonus.
And women shouldn’t be afraid to negotiate either. According to New Yorker Magazine, in a survey of graduating professional students, Linda Babcock, of Carnegie Mellon University, found that only seven per cent of women attempted to negotiate their initial offers, while fifty-seven per cent of the men did so.
Finally, if you’ve gotten the offer, tried to negotiate and you’re both too far apart, consider turning down the position.