#JustABoss is a blog series about women who’ve negotiated their pay to level up in their careers and their financial journeys!
For this weeks #JustABoss spotlight, Meet Dani, a MBA candidate and current HR professional. She’s negotiated for herself and as a HR professional.
Years of Experience:
What’s your Negotiation Story?
I’ve experienced negotiation from both sides – as the person negotiating for myself and from the HR side. I’ve also taken a course in negotiation through my MBA program.
I’ve twice negotiated a job offer. In both instances, the hiring manager didn’t even think twice to give me more money. This is very much aligned with what I’ve seen on the HR side, where recruiters and hiring managers often anticipate that you’ll negotiate and have a number prepared that they’re comfortable going to on the spot. It’s much more normal and expected than people seem to realize.
I also think we forget to realize all the small ways we can negotiate every day. It doesn’t need to be a formal salary negotiation. It can be asking for a discount at a store, asking a credit card company to waive a fee, coming up with a compromised solution when disagreeing with a friend or partner, and so many more.
Negotiation shapes our lives in so many more ways to an we realize.
How did you first prepare to negotiate?
When it comes to salary negotiation, it’s important to have an understanding of what objective criteria you are going to use to justify why you want more money.
Is it to be competitive with market rates? Is it due to your advanced experience or skills? Etc.
Making it about your personal life (like needing to pay rent or pay for child care) shouldn’t matter in the negotiation. Keep it to clear facts and data points, which you can prepare ahead of time. That’ll give you more negotiating power.
Also, don’t be afraid to practice your opening request. It sounds silly but stand in front of the mirror and practice what you will say aloud. It really makes a big difference when the day actually comes, because you’re used to how to phrase your “ask”.
What are your best tips to get in the right mindset?
Realize that the absolute worst outcome is that they say no. And that either means you are in the same spot you’re currently in, or you walk away. Either way, that outcome isn’t too bad. So if I go in knowing what the worst case scenario is, it helps make the whole experience less stressful to me.
Have you ever dealt with imposter syndrome in your negotiating?
Yes! I read once that men typically assume they deserve the raise/promotion/job whereas women feel like their under qualified – even if the man and woman are equally qualified. The way many women were socialized is to worry about coming across as “needy” or “bossy” so they tend to not negotiate. With my very first role, I just felt thankful to have the job that it didn’t even cross my mind to negotiate. But statistically speaking if I were a man, I probably would have negotiated.
Every time I start to doubt myself when negotiating or feel that imposter syndrome, I just remind myself that if I were a man I wouldn’t be worrying about this and that I would just go for it. So I try to channel that energy when negotiating.
Have you ever tried to negotiate outside of your compensation?
I haven’t myself, but I’ve seen this done so many times. Employers face budget constraints or constraints in terms of aligning with internal equity. That’s where asking for other non-compensation benefits can be really impactful. PTO, job title, tuition reimbursement, home office equipment, commuting costs, flexible work schedules/WFH days, stock options, and so many other things.
I will say from an HR perspective the two things that are extremely difficult/nearly impossible to negotiate for are employer match on 401k and anything involving insurance. The reason for that is the way the plans are built, there leaves little to no flexibility on the employers end. So asking for cheaper health insurance premiums or a higher 401k match usually is something the employer can’t change. Better to focus your negotiation efforts on things the employer CAN say yes to.
What financial goals are you currently working on and how has negotiating impacted your journey?
I’m working towards increasing my net worth and negotiating has allowed me to increase my compensation at a faster rate than if I had not negotiated. And income is a huge factor when it comes to building net worth.
If you could offer one piece of advice to someone who is nervous to negotiate, what would it be?
Just do it! I find it to be liberating once I do. Worst case scenario they say no. But more often than not, they’re able to give you something in the negotiation.
If you don’t ask, you won’t get anything.
Where can my followers find you?
They can find me on instagram @dollarswithdani to learn more personal finance and HR tips!