Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
Salary negotiation

Join Isaiah as he reveals the 45 salary negotiation scripts that PhDs should use.

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah explains why PhDs should practice salary negotiation quite early in their job search process 
  • Next, he reveals the strategies for salary negotiation in PhD-level positions
  • Finally, Isaiah discusses 45 salary negotiation scripts for PhDs

From This Week’s Show… 

Why It Is Important For PhDs To Practice Salary Negotiation 

PhDs in academia have been used to being paid almost nothing. However, it is an industry trend to negotiate your worth in terms of salary and incentives. There are some soft spots that PhDs can leverage for a big impact during negotiation. PhDs have to practice salary negotiation quite early in their job search process instead of waiting for a job offer to learn about it. From the moment that you upload your resume, the situation escalates too quickly to a negotiation.

When you upload your resume, you have to be prepared to answer the expected salary range. While hiring managers and recruiters negotiate seven to 10 times a day with seven to 10 different people typically, you will  do a salary negotiation only seven to 10 times in your professional life.

The difference is huge, you are not going to outsmart or out negotiate them. You are never going to accumulate enough behavioral practice to meet the expectations. Therefore, you need to memorize scripts so well that you internalize them and use them naturally in conversations. In the briefcase strategy, PhDs leverage their research, their data, and their skills for higher salaries than their non-PhD colleagues. 

Strategies For PhDs To Negotiate Salary 

When it comes to negotiating the first thing that PhDs need to know is how to converse about salary, not being your first concern. Although you are concerned with salary, you don’t exude it to the employer. You have to focus on things beyond the salary or else you will be perceived as someone who only cares about the money but not about the job, the team or the company’s culture. Since salary is predominantly in our minds, it is too easy to slip into this. The recruiters already know you want to make it big.

The situation is much like that of a waiter where you want the tips but you don’t make it obvious. Most hiring managers and recruiters ask about the expectations from the job quite early in the hiring process. They want to know what it would take to get you on board.

45 Salary Negotiation Scripts For PhDs 

I want you to think about salary negotiation, practice and role play it, do mock negotiations so that you get used to hearing things in different, conversational ways. Most PhDs are too literal; they don’t practice things behaviorally. Recruiters do not always use the prompts that PhDs often wait for before negotiating salary. They might say: what would it take to get you on board with us? Or what range are you looking for? What are your salary expectations? How much do you want to be paid? That will throw you off if you have not practiced behaviorally. Hence, when you encounter those questions, you have to turn the situation around by asking for more information.

It is very important to be able to discuss salary without getting uncomfortable about it. PhDs must be able to deflect a conversation about salary when it is too early in the job search process since you have not discussed anything that you can leverage. But you have to plan early, you can start by gaining information that is going to help you later. 

Sometimes, you will be asked about salary expectations for a position that is set in a very expensive city. That is a good time to say something like, ‘I know I have to make a lot because it is San Francisco or London or New York or Sydney, I would like to make X, Y, Z amount. But of course that may not be possible. So, I’ll consider anything that is fair.’ XYZ here might be an amount that is at the level of what housing costs in that particular city. 

You have to think about eight different anchors for salary negotiation in a big city. You really have to know what the cost of living is going to be. You can even ask questions throughout this process about what housing prices are in different locations of the city, but only if you have done your research.

In all of your early expected salary responses  you are deflecting but staying positive. You need to do salary negotiations. That is the fastest way you will ever make money. Scripts done at the right time and the right way can make you tens of thousands of dollars. 

Remember your value as a PhD and start thinking and acting like a successful industry professional.

** for the full podcast, check out the audio player above.

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