You crushed the interview process and are on the verge of clinching a brand new job. The only thing left to do is hash out your starting salary with the hiring manager.
So you did your homework, determined your ideal number, and asked for it.
And all you got was a big “no.”
“The best way to handle a ‘no’ is to prepare for it in advance – the salary negotiation can take multiple turns,” Paul McDonald, senior executive director at global staffing firm Robert Half, tells Business insider. “Your thorough preparation means you’re not as likely to get surprised in the meeting.”
McDonald recommends responding to a “no” during a salary negotiation with several questions. Even though your original number may be off the table for now, these follow-ups can help you get closer to your ideal compensation:
‘What salary range is the firm considering for the role?’
First of all, McDonald says it’s important to get a sense of the hiring manager’s expectations. Just make sure to press for a range, not a single number – that’ll give you more wiggle room.
‘When would the role be up for review?’
“Figure out how soon you can ask for a salary bump,” McDonald says.
When you get your answer, determine whether that date is flexible. For example, if the role is up for review in a year, see if you can move the date up to six months, instead.
‘Is the role eligible for a bonus?’
Sometimes, companies can sweeten the deal with the promise of regular bonuses, or at least a one-time signing bonus.
If the response to this is yes, then McDonald says to ask about when the bonuses are paid and what the percentage range has been over the last few years.
‘Are there opportunities to look at adding more benefits to the current offer?’
Salary may be the most talked-about aspect of compensation, but there might be other perks or benefits on the table that you can add to the mix, including vacation days and stipends, opportunities for flexible work, and educational opportunities.
“Think about what’s most important to you that doesn’t cost the company in terms of salary and bonus,” McDonald says.