Even those established in their careers can find salary negotiations intimidating — and perhaps even hostile. But there’s an art and skill to salary negotiation that can lead to more favorable outcomes: Don’t think about the process as a negotiation, but rather a conversation, says Judy Wert, the co-founder of executive search agency Wert & Co.
Judy has guided many leaders through navigating career changes, and she stopped by season six of the Design Better Podcast to share her perspective. When moving to a new organization, she recommends discussing how total compensation benefits both parties rather than just talking about base salary, bonuses, and equity. Taking this approach allows you to think about a new opportunity’s financial and non-financial value and is a better gauge of whether you’ll feel satisfied:
“Financially, ‘What do you need?’ ‘What do you want?’ ‘How does this fit into your family needs?’ Judy says. “The non-financial value is: ‘Is it going to give you joy?’ And the tension of those two things need to be considered when you’re in a negotiating mode.”
There’s no harm in thoughtfully asking for a higher salary to reflect, say, your successful track record, but simply pushing to see how much you can get salary-wise brings a different energy:
“Come in with the right spirit,” she says. “Come in knowing if you want this job and then ask for what will make you feel comfortable on your first day of work.”