Congratulations on landing a job in the U.S. from Australia! Perhaps salary is not an issue; maybe the compensation package was listed in the job posting or explained early in the process, and you are fine with it. However, if the salary is not what you believe you should be paid, you have a few avenues when it comes to negotiating.
Find Comparable Data
You may have done this one already, but if not, now is the time; check the salary numbers for comparable positions and for people with your expertise and experience. Also keep geographic location in mind because someone working in, say, New York City might not be paid the same as a person in the same job who lives in Kansas City. The Bureau of Labor Statistics website is one place to look for this comparison information.
Assess other factors that go into a compensation package when you compare, although these can be trickier to find and quantify. Health insurance, bonuses, vacation times and how early you will be eligible for a salary raise may be important considerations when you have a job in the U.S. from Australia.
Begin the Discussion
Now that you know how much other people in your type of situation are paid, you can begin or continue negotiations. Start your counteroffer slightly higher than the salary you would be willing to accept, and know what your absolute minimum is. For instance, at what point, if any, would you walk away from the job offer?
As you present your counteroffer, also explain why you are making this specific request. Use the data you have uncovered and any exact, hard-to-replicate attributes you bring to the table. Emphasize your value, and do not make the talks about your need for money. You have a job in the U.S. from Australia, so you may want to discuss how your “outsider perspective” helps the business.
Keep Things Professional
It is often hard not to take salary negotiations personally, especially when you know a company is flush with cash and seems like it can afford to pay what you are asking. If you do decide to walk away from the offer, do so gracefully. Always thank the hiring manager for the opportunity. You never know what role that company will play in your future.
Wait Until You Have a Job in the U.S. From Australia
One mistake that some people from the U.S. and from Australia make when undertaking salary negotiations is to start way too early in the process. The best time to talk salary is when you are the candidate a company has picked. Hiring managers have gone through an extensive process and are loath to start it all over again or to contact candidates who did not quite make it to the top. Of course, it can be frustrating to discover you have expended a lot of time and energy only to be offered an astoundingly low salary. Sometimes negotiations do fail; if low salary offers become a problem, you may want to respond to job postings only if they list a salary.
Avoid Accepting a Job Offer Until You Know the Salary
A common pitfall when you have landed a job in the U.S. from Australia is to excitedly accept the job without knowing the salary. After all, you are thrilled to have found work and security in the U.S. However, if you are disappointed when the salary is finally disclosed, the amount of space you have to negotiate with is virtually nonexistent; it is bad practice to discuss money after a job offer has been accepted. If a too-early job offer acceptance does happen to you, wait until your first performance review or salary raise meeting to make your negotiations.
There is a lot that goes into negotiating a salary. As long as you handle the balance of good timing, solid research and professionalism, you are doing your part.