The final stage in cementing any business relationship is contract negotiation. Whether you're entering the contingent workforce, becoming a full-time employee or re-negotiating a pre-existing agreement, the workers who get what they want achieve it with a sound negotiation strategy.
And you're expected to have one.
Employers rarely make their best offer first, and workers who negotiate tend to earn a higher rate/salary than those who don't. Because, to a hiring manager, a well thought out negotiation strategy positions you as a stronger candidate -- since you're demonstrating the skills they hired you for.
Before you accept the first offer, lay the groundwork for getting what you deserve.
Do your research
When it's about money, get the best rate/salary by learning the company's current pay rates/salary ranges ( you can find this info on review sites like Glassdoor), what the competition pays for the same role and what the industry standard is set at.
Then, try to strike first! Having the ball initially in your court ensures the whole negotiation is based on that first number, which will most likely be higher than the organization's initial offer.
It's important to articulate exactly what you're looking for in terms of rate/salary, non monetary benefits and opportunity. These could be things like flexibility on work/life balance, remote work options, available technologies or ownership over a particular project or department. Whatever matters most to you! However, if an organization simply can't meet your financial expectations, another valuable benefit to consider is education, which can greatly increase your long-term marketability.
You'll also need to take into consideration the specific organization you're negotiating with. A young startup company may not necessarily have as high a budget for labour as an established corporation. Moreover, if you're working with a staffing firm, let your recruiter know from the very beginning if you have a firm rate/salary, so that he or she won't submit you to a client to only find out at the end of the hiring process that they couldn't afford you.
It's easier to get what you're worth when you can prove your value. This means letting an organization know how valuable you expect to be in the new role. You can do this by mentioning your past achievements in quantifiable terms. How much money did you save a previous organization? By what percent did you increase revenues or decrease production time? Were you able to manage multiple locations while working remotely part of the week?
Aim high - but be flexible
It's always better to start with a number that's slightly higher than what you're really aiming for. It's easier to negotiate down than it is to raise the price after you've already laid the starting point.
Look for clauses in the contract
If you're entering full-time employment or a long-term contract, do you have any probationary clauses in your contract? If so, you can expect zero job security. Whether it’s the typical 90 days or more, try to discuss it. If you don’t, you can be let go at any time or for any reason within that time frame—regardless of your performance.
Contract negotiations can be awkward conversations; remember to be always be confident in your value.