How to Negotiate a Higher H1B Salary Offer

Negotiating or re-negotiating your salary is, to say the least, a delicate subject.
But it can be done to 'your' advantage with a little bit of advice and preparation.

First, salaries for the same types of jobs in the USA - can vary greatly.
Not only by company, profession, level - but also by geographic location 
For example: the same H1B job in New York or California will have a higher salary than for most other States (but then so is the cost of living higher)

Section 1 - What affects your salary negotiations?

Section 2 - Benefits & Packages

Section 3 - Negotiating a salary after Redundancy

Section 4 - Handling salary related interview questions

Section 5 - 20 Salary Negotiation Tips

Section 1 - What affects your salary negotiations?

There are a number of factors that affect your ability to negotiate the best possible salary.
Your resume must be well-written and reflect your true market worth. If it doesn't then you may struggle to get interviews and when you do get interviews you will be fighting an uphill battle from the start. A good resume will lead the employer through the successes in your career and tell them why they should employ you. If you need expert help in writing a professional resume click here

At the interview stage your resume will form the basis of an employer's questions. So, if it doesn't convey a highly favorable impression of you it will severely hamper your salary negotiations. In fact a good resume could add 10% or more to your next salary, as it will convey your full market worth to an employer - so it would be money well spent.

The impression you give of yourself at the interview will play a major part in determining your salary. Make sure that you are smartly dressed and well groomed. You should prepare thoroughly beforehand. As well as preparing for the actual interview itself you should also prepare for the salary negotiations as well. Research and find out the salary range for the job you are applying for and also the salary range for similar jobs (see section 6 below).

To maximize your next salary you must ensure that you perform well at the interview. At the interview itself make sure you state all your work related achievements. It is also very important to stress what you can do and what value you will bring to your new employer. The more they feel they need you the more they will be prepared to pay you. If you are a specialist or a senior manager you may be able to negotiate a substantial bonus for a certain level of performance. Of course, you will have to achieve this level of performance to get your bonus!


Section 2 - Benefits & Packages

There are a number of components that makes up your final remuneration package - so there is often a lot of room to negotiate.

As well as a basic salary you may also be able to negotiate bonuses if your performance is at a certain level, or other benefits, such as a company car, health insurance, 401k plan, etc.

Before you go to the interview make sure you know what is included in your current package and what they are worth. You will also want to think about what sort of package you are expecting from your new employer.


Section 3 - Negotiating a salary after Redundancy

If you have been made redundant you may feel that you will have to accept a lower salary than your previous position.

This should NOT be the case, in fact you may well be able to increase your salary. Do not be tempted to accept a lower salary if this will cause you to resent your new employer - your feelings of 'they got me cheaply' may well affect your performance.


Section 4 - Handling salary related interview questions

So we now come to where we deal with the two crucial questions you will be asked at an interview:

1) How much did you earn in your last job?
2) What level of salary are you looking for now?

Getting this part of the interview right can add literally thousands to your next salary package - so you need to make sure you get it right!

"What did you earn in your last job?"
You have to be very careful when answering this question because once an interviewer knows your current salary they will try and fix your next remuneration package based on this figure. This may be satisfactory if you only wanted a modest rise in salary and your current salary is in line with their salary range, but, what if your current salary is substantially lower than the rate for the job, or if you want a substantial salary rise?

In these cases you would be best advised to say that you do not really want to prejudice yourself by being too high or too low. Ask if you can discuss this later after the responsibilities for the job have been discussed; you may also want to ask them what the range for the job is (if you do not already know). If the new job you are discussing is substantially different from your current job you might want to point this out. This is especially true if the new job carries far more responsibilities than your existing job.

If you feel that you must state your actual salary then add up all your benefits, including salary, bonuses, etc. Giving just one figure will make your total remuneration package seem larger than just giving them your actual basic salary.

"What level of salary are you looking for now?"
Be very careful when you answer this question - you do not want to appear to be too greedy or just be seen as a money grabber. You need to make sure that you convey that you are looking for a new career opportunity and you should emphasize your potential with their organization.

If you are applying for a specific vacancy you could ask them what the salary range is. Once they have answered you could say "I think my experience would place me at the top end of your range, don't you?" This one question could add thousands to your next salary - so don't be afraid to ask it. You should only ask this question if you feel confident that they would say, "Yes".
If they ask you this question fairly early on in the interview you could delay answering by saying "It is hard to discuss salary without first knowing a little bit more about the job and the responsibilities."

If this is a new position or there is no defined salary then the salary negotiation is wide open. It would probably be best if this was the initial meeting with the employer to say that you would need to see the full job description before you could answer this question. If there isn't a job description then you could offer to help write it - this would give you scope to find out more before you negotiate your salary.


Section 5 - Top 20 Salary Negotiation Tips

1. Show your experience and know-how
Be confident and positive: put your experiences on the table and let the employer see exactly why 'you' are the best candidate for the position.

2. Put numbers where your mouth is
Flashing your past job titles isn't enough; you must also demonstrate exact figures and examples of your major achievements and what you've accomplished.

3. Don't ask about salary too soon
Let employers make the first offer, as it is primordial to push off any actual salary talk until after you've secured the position. At that point, it'll be much easier to negotiate since you'll know that the company wants you on board.

4. Show excitement about the position
Motivation is the key to good productivity. Be sincere about this emotion and put on your happy face, in order to show the employer that the only thing stopping you from taking the job is the compensation.

5. Visualize yourself already having the job
As a personal tip, perceptual visualization is a great way to follow through and get something done.

6. Don't bring your personal life into the negotiation
Salary is only based on the company's budget and your capability of getting the tasks done. So bringing in the fact that your dog needs an operation or you want to get yourself the latest Rolex watch ill not get you far.

7. Do your research about the position
When you walk into the room, you should know -- from A to Z -- what the position entails, the skills required, the industry average salary, and the market demand. Use all these hidden assets to your advantage and be prepared for any curve ball the employer might throw at you.

8. Know your worth
Match how much you're asking to what you're worth. If need be, tell them what you were being compensated at your old job and how much your skills are worth on the market. Prove to them that you know what salary fits your skills, and use it as a bargaining tool.

9. Know your minimum expected salary
Employers expect to negotiate salaries with new employees, but figure out beforehand how low you will go. And if you see you're not able to match your minimum salary range, don't be shy to ask about employee packages, or even turn down the offer.

10. Be prepared with alternative solutions
Stock options, signing bonuses, expense accounts, profit sharing, commission, and performance raises are only some of the perks that can make up for lower base salaries.

11. Don't be afraid to walk away
If things aren't going your way, turning down the offer can often be a good negotiation tactic. Show them you're not scared to walk away from the table; this will prove that you're very capable of going somewhere else and getting what you deserve. If they really want you they will counter offer.

12. Sell yourself
The employer shops around for the best employee, paint them a picture of your skills and all the reasons why they should hire you.

13. Be comfortable with the employer
Don't turn the negotiations into a "do or die" situation. Avoid conflict. Be loose and friendly in your exchanges and let things flow. You'll be surprised at how receptive your employer might be to this approach.

14. Be calm and in control
The last thing your future employer wants to see is you throwing a fit because you didn't get what you want. Prove to them that you're capable of remaining grounded and reasonable, even when things don't go your way.

15. Don't necessarily turn down the first offer
Who knows? The first offer made might be exactly what you're looking for. But if it isn't, remain quiet and indecisive, and the employer might just make a higher offer.

16. Be flexible about the hours
the more flexible you are, shows commitment and dedication to the job - which can often bring higher rewards.

17. Forecast other benefits
If you don't get the salary you were expecting, don't despair because the company may just have a salary cap and must therefore remain within the budget. Ask about potential advancement within the company and future potential for raises.

18. Prove you're the best candidate for the job
Ultimately, employers want to see future employees defend their case and follow through with their ideas. Do the same when it comes to getting the position.

19. Have a backup plan
If you see that negotiations are not going your way, whip out additional reference letters, take a salary cut during the early stages to prove your worth. Whatever you do, improvise and be ready to adapt.

20. Anticipate objections
The same way you prepare for a Q&A session at the end of a presentation, cover all your angles; be ready and steady for any unusual inquiry from your future employer. Know exactly what to respond if they say, "you're not qualified enough" or "you're asking for too much."

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