Hosted By

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

Join Isaiah as he presents 5 common mistakes PhDs makes during salary negotiations and how to avoid them to get the salary you deserve

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

  • First, Isaiah explains why being ready to negotiate your salary is beneficial for your career
  • Next, Isaiah discloses some common techniques employers use to bring your salary down and how to avoid falling for them
  • Finally, Isaiah discusses why you should always remain professional during salary negotiations and why you should follow negotiations until the end

From This Week’s Show… 

Why PhDs Should Prepare For Salary Negotiations

If you’ve received an industry job offer, I’d like to start off by saying “Congratulations!” Now, the next step in any job offer is the dreaded salary negotiation.

Sadly, many PhDs enter this stage extremely ill-equipped. After all, you’ve spent the better part of a decade just happy to get paid at all! So repeat my mantra: know your value.

How you handle salary negotiations will not only determine whether you move from offer to an actual job. It will also determine how much you get paid.

For a successful salary negotiation, you should avoid 5 critical, and often costly, mistakes.

Don’t Let Employers Bring Your Salary Down

Companies use a range of negotiation tactics to bring you in at a lower salary.

During your interview, employers may ask you if a particular salary bracket is acceptable. Don’t inadvertently agree to a salary by saying “yes” to these inquiries.

Instead, deflect. For example, you could say “I’m willing to consider all reasonable offers.” Or you could divert by saying “I’m not sure what a normal salary is for this position, so I will defer to your expertise.”

Another mistake that PhDs make is they let their fear take the reins – they let desperation drive your decision-making.

To avoid this mental trap, bolster your confidence by reminding yourself that negotiating is expected of you; give yourself options by pursuing multiple job opportunities; and research the average salary for the position.

Another way that employers will get you to commit to a lower salary is to ask about your current salary.

If you’re still in academia, remember that your pay is a stipend, not a salary. So, when pressed about your salary you can, yet again, deflect by saying “In my academic position I received a stipend from my university. I am excited about the opportunity to work here and am open to all reasonable offers.”

If, however, you’re already in industry, it’s easy for them to find out what you’re making, so you’ll need to be more transparent.

The important thing is to reframe the salary – explain that what you’re currently earning is for a lower position, or perhaps, a different role altogether.

One good way to respond is to quote the average salary for the position…or to explain that you’re seeking a higher salary to justify leaving your current position, where you’ve built a rapport.

Remain Professional And Negotiate The Whole Package

On the flip side, many PhDs ruin a negotiation by being defensive or too aggressive. You want to get paid what you deserve, but it’s important to remain professional.

Use phrases that include “we.” This gives them the sense that you’re working with them.

Instead of saying “I will only accept the position if you meet my salary expectations”, say “I was really hoping for more than that. What can we do?” Being too aggressive can put your offer at risk, or at the very least, give your new company a bad first impression.

The last mistake I’ll talk about is stopping negotiations early. Salary negotiations aren’t just about your base pay – it’s the whole package.

This includes healthcare, retirement, stock options, bonuses, and so on. So don’t stop talking after you’ve established your base pay.

The takeaway here is that negotiations take determination – so, stand by your ethics and be professional. They’re also a normal part of getting hired, and shying away from them will only hurt you in the long run.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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