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Extreme Salary Negotiation - $1 to $100,000 Strategy (Genius)
How $1 worth of advice could land you a $100,000 salary. When making a big professional change, you may not feel you’re entitled to ask for more money. Do it.
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You have probably accepted at least a few job offers by this point in your career, but how often have you negotiated for a higher salary before taking the job?
If your answer is “not often” or “never,” you’re not alone.
But before we delve into the nitty-gritty of negotiating a better salary when you're eyeing a career switch… trust me when I say, I didn’t know how to negotiate — I took whatever came my way.
Before ADPList, I found myself at several crossroads. I was faced with the exciting yet daunting challenge of transitioning careers, moving from one industry to another, learning new skills, and getting familiar with a completely new culture.
Perhaps the most intimidating part was negotiating my salary. Yes, I know, it can be a tricky landscape to navigate, but that's exactly why I'm writing this.
In this article, I’ve referenced resources to help equip you with the tools and strategies necessary to advocate for yourself and your worth. I've walked this path, and I can tell you from experience, understanding how to negotiate your salary is an empowering skill that brings not only financial rewards but also boosts your professional confidence.
How to negotiate for a better salary when you’re interviewing for a new job
Remember — you have *this* information. They don’t.
Your current salary and your expected salary are basically the only informational advantage you have in price negotiation.
Let’s begin and dive into key learnings of this process:
1. The salary negotiation process is stacked against you. [Advice: Stack up yourself]
HR people have an incredible amount of information about you at their disposal. At the very least, they have your résumé, LinkedIn, portfolio, and Behance profile, which you gave them earlier in the application process.
Your goal is to even the playing field as much as possible. One important way to do this is to take this in real-time. Go into the interview ready not just to answer questions but to ask some of your own.
Here are a few examples of what you should ask:
What is the team's current topmost focus?
Why is there a vacancy for this position?
What is the most significant hurdle for someone taking up this role?
How is the organizational structure within the team designed?
How does X company prioritize Y's role?
2. Regardless of their offer, negotiate upward.
What if you’re switching from an underpaid profession like teaching to a more lucrative field like software development? The initial offer you receive from them may be for significantly more money than you or your colleagues have ever earned.
I see a lot of members on ADPList in this position.
Let’s suppress that FOMO for a moment, and instead think practically about the incentives an employer faces when it comes to hiring.
Have a “prepared to walk away” mindset.
If you turn down that offer, they have to go and spend that time and money all over again, trying to find another candidate who meets their standards.
So if you have an offer in hand, you already have a reasonable amount of power over the situation.
3. Know the market.
Sure, you could find someone in your LinkedIn network who works in a similar capacity at your target employer and ask them, “How much do they pay you over at Airbnb?” That may get you one data point.
Does this company have a good trajectory?
How do promotions get evaluated?
Is your team visible enough to get good resourcing?
What’s the company brand worth to your earnings trajectory?
How does this salary compare to other companies?
What is the market rate, and how to renegotiate?
4. Your job is to win hearts and minds (Lenny’s Newsletter)
It can be tempting to think you need to negotiate now that you have data. Nope, not yet. The next step, instead, is to upsell your worth before you come back with any kind of counteroffer. This is especially important if you’re going for a senior role.
What to do next: Ask for follow-up meetings with decision-makers. If you’re a Director or higher, you can usually ask to meet with any VP and possibly C-level execs. VPs can often meet with the CEO and even board members. Take your time; this is important if you want your salary to reflect your value. If everyone wants you, you’ll be calling the shots later.
How to run these effectively: Come prepared with three things, tailored to who you’re meeting:
Questions about how you can create meaningful impact
Ideas based on your interviews so far
Bonus points: discussing obstacles to your taking the role and making them sell you on it
5. A high starting salary really is worth all of this hassle.
The reality is that your future raises — and to some extent, your salary at subsequent jobs — all depend heavily on your starting salary at this next job.
What’s the difference between a $100,000 salary and a $120,000 salary, five years out?
A case study where you get a 10% raise each year:
At $100k salary: 100k + 110k + 121k + 133.1k + 146.4k = $610.5k earnings
At $120k salary: 120k + 132k + 145.2k + 159.7k + 175.6k = $732.5k earnings
That’s right — just an extra $20k in starting salary can translate into more than $120k in total additional wages within five years.
Yes, Salary Negotiation is worth it.
TLDR; Must-know crowdsource advice
There’s a lot of excellent negotiating advice available. You can find it in dozens of career books or online, so you don’t need me to tell you the basics. Here’s a quick synopsis:
Defer the in-depth salary discussion until after you have an official offer in hand.
Research your market value and how to relay it to the employer based on what you bring to the role.
Focus on your worth in the market, not what you personally want or need or what you were making in the last position.
Never accept an offer on the spot, even a seemingly great offer. There’s always something to negotiate.
Negotiate directly with the hiring manager (versus the headhunter or human resources).
Be confident and respectful, not demanding or entitled.
Don’t drag out the negotiations over multiple meetings. Know your negotiating points and alternative options so you can be efficient.
Know your BATNA (best alternative to a negotiated agreement) and your walk-away number.
That’s all for this week, readers! What would you add? Till next week, have a productive week! 🙏 Here’s to finding the best fit — and the best salary!
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