Asking a future employer for more money or better benefits is difficult. But, the truth is, if you’re not asking, you may be missing out and being undervalued. Negotiating a salary is an important skill to have, especially when applying for remote jobs.
As a remote employee, you could be at a greater risk of missing out on raises and other benefits. Taking time to negotiate salary helps you assess company culture, practice advocating for yourself, and–most of all–establish strong communication between you and your manager.
Feeling intimidated? Don’t worry. This article will offer you a step-by-step guide to negotiating salary for a remote job. We’ll also talk about some important dos and Don’ts in the negotiation process and give you some examples.
Why it’s important
Remote jobs come with unique requirements and considerations. Negotiating your salary is important for ensuring that you’re able to meet your basic needs and you’re being paid what you’re worth. Your salary can have significant impacts on your financial well-being and career satisfaction.
Fair compensation means that you and the company are agreeing on the value of your work. Negotiating your salary can help you establish your worth within the company and set a positive tone for future salary negotiations.
Furthermore, being paid fairly contributes to greater job satisfaction and motivation. When you know you’re making what you’re worth, this has positive impacts on your professional and personal well-being.
If you’re someone who feels intimidated by the thought of negotiating a salary, you can also try thinking of it from the company’s perspective as well.
Let’s say you accept a salary that doesn’t reflect the value of the work you’re doing. You will likely feel resentment, be dissatisfied, produce lower-quality work, and have a higher likelihood of leaving the job sooner.
From a business standpoint, the cost of replacing an employee can fall between 50% and 200% of that employee’s annual salary. On top of that, employee turnover reduces company morale and can affect customer impact.
In summary, negotiating your salary is an important step for both you and the company that wants to hire you. With that being said, there are a few unique things to take into consideration when negotiating salary for a remote job.
Things to take into account
When negotiating a salary for a remote job, it’s important to consider what you’re truly worth. This means negotiating with the elements of your experience, living conditions, and bottom line in mind.
Cost of living differences
Where you live is an important factor in what you ask for. It’s important to keep in mind that the company you’re applying to may not have a comparable cost of living. If this is the case, they may not be able to offer you enough money to meet your living expenses.
Remote work can come with additional expenses. This includes internet and phone bills, utility bills, coworking space, travel expenses, and home office expenses. Be sure to take these into account when considering if your salary is adequate.
Value to the Company
A big part of salary negotiations is knowing your worth. Consider your resume. Do you speak another language? Have niche skills? Extensive experience in leadership? How available are people with your expertise? These are important aspects of yourself to consider when evaluating what your bottom line is.
Steps to take when negotiating salary
It’s important to approach salary negotiations with confidence. To do this, it’s important to have a clear understanding of your value and the market rates for your skills and experience. Here are the important steps to take when negotiating your salary.
1. Do your research, know your value
The first step in any negotiation is knowing your true value. When determining an appropriate salary, websites like Glassdoor and the Bureau of Labor Statistics can help you determine a baseline for your industry.
Beyond that, you can take into account other aspects of your professional repertoire such as:
- Demand for expertise
- Relevant or niche skills
- Demonstrated achievements
- Additional values such as languages, certifications, and connections.
It can also be helpful to find out the company’s compensation strategy. This will provide you insight into what the company is willing to offer candidates. It can help you set realistic expectations for negotiating. It can also help you identify negotiation points (i.e. health and wellness benefits, PTO, etc.), and provide a good benchmark for how the company stacks up against industry standards.
2. Determine what you want for salary and non-salary compensation
You can’t start negotiations without first determining what you want in terms of both salary and non-salary compensation. For remote jobs, non-salary compensation could look like this:
- A stipend for home office upgrades
- Health and wellness benefits
- Paid time off
- Flexible work schedule
- Bonuses and incentives
When it comes to salary, a good rule of thumb is to add 10-20% to the average market wage. With that being said, salary negotiations should begin with a realistic anchor. You don’t want to undervalue yourself but you also don’t want to destroy trust between you and a future employer by starting off with an unrealistic opening offer.
3. Prepare your pitch
Remember that list we made of things to take into account? When you receive your initial offer, take time to evaluate it in the context of the unique aspects of remote employment.
It’s important to take into account your geographical location, experience, licenses, etc. This will help you understand that initial offer and justify your requests in negotiation.
Once you have developed a clear understanding, create a concise pitch that justifies what you’re asking for. When you’re making a salary request, set yourself up for success by offering a range rather than a specific number. This shows that you are flexible and give both you and the employer room to negotiate.
Next, cite your skills, experience, and accomplishments. You want to remind them why you are worth what you’re asking for.
4. Listen to the employer
If your first request gets rejected, don’t worry. It is normal for the employer to reject your first salary request. It’s all part of healthy negotiation. Take time to listen to the employer’s response and consider their perspective.
5. Learn the art of response
What’s difficult at this point is maintaining the delicate balance between advocating for yourself and not coming across as arrogant.
One way to do this is by emphasizing your qualifications, experience, and accomplishments. Using real numbers and data points can also help you justify your requests and demonstrate confidence in your abilities. You can also take this time to ask more questions about what skills or experience you would need to get your desired salary.
Also, using “I” statements as opposed to “you” statements is an important aspect of remaining respectful during negotiations. For example, you should say “I believe my extensive experience justifies higher pay.” as opposed to “You are undervaluing me and need to pay me more.”
Do’s and don’ts of salary negotiation
Don’t be the first to bring up salary
When it comes to negotiations, timing is everything. By bringing it up too early, you may risk sending the wrong message about your interest in the position. Or, you could risk throwing out a number that is too low. For the most part, experts agree that you should let the employer bring up salary first.
Do be honest about your current earnings
Lying about your current earnings is dishonest and may cause you to get caught in a lie. Instead, you can indicate that that amount may not translate to the new position. You can stress that you will need to know the responsibilities of the job before you can commit to a figure.
Don’t give up after one round
Negotiations are like a game of chess, it’s unlikely that you’re going to get what you ask for the first time around. It’s also unlikely that you’re going to get everything you ask for. Remain professional, persistent, and confident. Don’t hesitate to remind them that you’re an asset.
Do know your bottom line
At the end of the day, you know what you need to live comfortably. If a company can’t offer that, it might mean you need to walk away. Don’t compromise your happiness by settling for less. In the end, doing so may cost you more.
Don’t forget to ask questions
Asking questions is an essential part of determining an appropriate salary and negotiation. During an interview, try to gain clarity on your day-to-day tasks and overall responsibilities. When it comes to the negotiation stage, you can use this information to help justify your requests. You can also ask questions to determine the justifications behind the “no’s.”
Do say thank you
Remember that the person you’re negotiating with maybe your future employer. It’s important to be courteous and gracious throughout the entire process of negotiation. Don’t make your counteroffer right always. Wait a few days to show you’re considering their proposition and then begin and end your response with “thank you.”
Congratulations, you got a remote job offer! It’s time to start negotiations. Remote jobs can be nuanced because it’s unlikely that you will interview in person. Here are a few examples you can follow:
Subject: Salary Negotiation for [position]
Dear [Hiring Manager],
I am thrilled to be joining your team as [ Position Name]. I want to express my excitement and gratitude for this opportunity to contribute to [Company Name]’s mission.
Before I can accept this offer, I would like to discuss my salary. Based on my own research, experience, and understanding of my role as [position], I would be more comfortable accepting a salary between [salary range].
To give you a better understanding, here is how I arrived at this amount:
- [List experience and how it adds value to your role]
- [Mention the market rate for this position and how that relates to your salary]
- [other justifying factors]
Again, I would like to say thank you for this opportunity. I am thrilled about the potential of joining your team and eager to find an amount that works for both of us.
If you need anything else from me, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
[ Your Name]
If you’re hoping to continue the negotiations in person, but were made an initial offer via email. You can adjust the email accordingly. It may look something like this:
Subject: Salary Negotiation for [position]
Dear [Hiring Manager],
I am excited at the prospect of filling the remote position of[ Position Name]. I am grateful for the opportunity to join your team and excited to contribute to the company’s success. However, I cannot accept this offer and would like the opportunity to discuss this further.
Given my qualifications and experience, I feel that the compensation package does not align with my role and contribution to the company. Based on my own research and understanding of my role in [position], I would like to propose a revised salary offer of [insert figure].
While I am enthusiastic about the role, I would like the opportunity to discuss this with you further. I am confident that we can find a solution that works for both of us. Please let me know a time that works for you to discuss this further. I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Thank you for your consideration.
[ Your Name]
Negotiating your salary can feel difficult, especially for remote workers, but it’s an important part of the hiring process. Just because you’re a remote employee, doesn’t mean you should miss out on pay raises, bonuses, or even PTO.
Your salary and benefits are an important factor in your total well-being. And, as long as you stay professional and gracious, you have nothing to lose when it comes to salary negotiations. When you receive your next job offer, take an honest look. Are they offering to pay you what you’re worth? If the answer is no, don’t worry. You’ll know exactly what to do!
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