You should be feeling good about yourself. You have found a job in the U.S. from South Africa, and now it is time to talk numbers. Of course, in ideal situations, the salary would have been disclosed in the job posting or early in the interview process. But it was not, so here you are, contemplating an offer you view as too low.
Include Other Aspects of Compensation
One of the first things you should do is see if there are other aspects of compensation you want to discuss; salary negotiations are the time to do so. In fact, “salary” is often a word that combines the actual salary as well as bonuses, time off, health insurance, retirement plans and perks, such as gym memberships. It can be easier to get more money through these means than from a straightforward salary raise. For instance, suppose you think you deserve to be paid $5,000 more, but the idea of expanded vacation time is appealing because you can stay in South Africa longer if you travel home. When two weeks on your job equal about $5,000, you could see about trying to get an extra two weeks of vacation time, or one extra week and a smaller $2,500 raise.
Ensure Your Request Is Justified for a Job in the U.S. From South Africa
Another move to make when talking salary for a job in the U.S. from South Africa is to ensure your requests are justified. Check the salaries for comparable jobs in the same location on sites such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics. You should expect to be paid more at a big company than at a nonprofit that squeaks by, so match your value with the resources of the company or organization.
If you skip doing research, you risk asking for a salary that is ridiculously high; it could lead to the job offer being rescinded. Skipping research could also result in a too-low offer in which you are still not paid what you should be. In fact, female jobseekers and those from outside the U.S. may feel especially hesitant about asking for fair compensation.
Prepare and Present Your Case
Now it’s time to make the case for the value you will bring to the job in the U.S. from South Africa. You can use portfolios, accomplishments and what you uniquely bring to the company (an international mindset, for example). Focus your negotiations on your value rather than on what you “deserve”; you do not want to appear greedy. Saying something such as, “I need more money to visit my family overseas,” may not carry sway either. Companies mainly care about what you can offer them.
Before you present your case, know what the lowest number is that you will accept. What happens if the company won’t go there? Will you reject the job offer? If so, be sure you do so politely and professionally. Staying on good terms with your business contacts will serve you well in the long run.
Also, wait until an actual job offer has been extended. Sometimes, people begin salary negotiations before an employer has even said they are the final candidate. Salary negotiations take time, and most employers won’t get into these talks with multiple candidates at the same time.
Keep Emotions Out of the Talks
You may have felt stung and disrespected after being faced with a low salary offer. As you negotiate a higher offer for a job in the U.S. from South Africa, try to stay professional and non-emotional. Stick to the facts, and emphasize your value. Also look at the issue from the other person’s perspective. What type of body language or research would impress him or her? Smile, make eye contact, sit straight, and remain serious and grounded.
Salary negotiations are rarely open-and-shut processes. There may be multiple rounds of back-and-forth offers, so be confident of your value, and know the absolute minimum you would be okay with.