Holly Lee Coaching

How to negotiate salary

In most situations, you will need to negotiate with your employer or interviewer regarding your salary. Without doing the due diligence, you may find yourself in your dream job. But with the lowest salary on the team, you will feel undervalued. Being underpaid is not beneficial for yourself or the employer. The best way to get the most out of your salary negotiation is to do prior research and be prepared.

The first offer an employer outlines will always be the bare minimum. It’s not to their benefit to provide the maximum salary value. You should never take the first offer.

I’m going to outline a few items to help you in preparation for your next salary negotiation:

Research your employer, position title and prepare to negotiate

Start by outlining your skill sets and work out how long you have excelled at your work. Amazon and other tech companies want to know how many years you’ve been doing well at your specified job. You may have 20 years of experience as a software engineer, but how many of those years were you delivering and achieving your own goals.

Find market research data on your job role

Start understanding what the market offers someone in your position and at your city location if you apply for a job as a senior software engineer in Seattle.

Find online the salary range for a senior software engineer in the Seattle metropolitan area.

Make sure it’s also relevant. If you find online a salary published three years ago, it is probably 20% below the current market rate. You need to keep in mind that salaries grow each year. 

Find the most recent salaries for your job role.  This relevant salary will be closest to the true market value for your position.

Use tools such as Glassdoor to understand the exact salary someone in your position and company would get.

Pay attention to the:

  • Position title
  • The location of the business
  • The year the salary was published

Setting expectations and getting more than just a salary

Employers appreciate an employee who can negotiate. It shows them that you really want to stick around for the long term. You can ask for more than just a salary in your negotiation. Before you start the negotiation process, prepare by knowing what you are asking for and why you are asking for it.

When I prospect a potential employee, I interview them and ask: 

“Why do you want to join Amazon?” and they answer, “because of the money”.

This response is a red flag for me to hang up the phone. It is the worst answer to give to an employer, especially to an Amazon’s Hiring managers. 

It also signals that there is a lack of company fit. Amazon is such a desirable place to work that they can select (and prefer) to find those who are passionate about the role they are applying for. 

DO NOT Describe yourself as an expert

Hiring managers will be turned off when you talk to them along the lines of: 

“Hey, Mr. Director. I’m an expert in communication and I’m also an expert with implementing technologies” 

Bragging that you’re a self-proclaimed expert is egotistical. During your test, it will prove to the company that you can perform well and that you’re indeed the expert. 

On a phone interview, a recruiter has started the process of evaluating you. Yes, a conversation is a test too.  

If you receive a call for an interview then it has already been determined that you are worth their time. They have already looked through your basic qualifications that you have passed the initial phase.

Your resume and LinkedIn profile has shown clear examples that you are capable and great at the role you’re applying for. Your history of work will help back you as an expert. Showcase through examples how you are great at these skill sets rather than reiterating how awesome you are.

What if they take the offer back? 

“Holly, I’m really scared. I’ve been affected by the pandemic. I haven’t worked since March. 

My god! I have an offer from Amazon and I’m so scared to negotiate.” 

Out of the two decades in recruiting. I have never witnessed a single team or organization from Amazon take their offer back. 

Negotiation is an art. Negotiation is also a skill worth cultivating. An employer is also going to respect you, it shows initiative and shows that you’re fighting hard to get what you want. 

So, why would one want to take that offer away from you after it has been accepted?

The only time a company will retract an offer is when they are a startup or a company that doesn’t really have the budget to afford you. 
They’re always thinking in the back of their mind about the budget that is approved, and what is the maximum salary they can budge for. They are also willing to fight for the right candidate.