Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist
3 flavors of transferable skills

Join Isaiah as he explains why you should always negotiate your salary and how you can use your walkaway number as a lever

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

  • First, Isaiah discusses the importance of salary negotiation in industry and some general rules that should convince you to always negotiate
  • Next, Isaiah gives advice on the best way to negotiate and what you should consider throughout the interview process
  • Finally, Isaiah illustrates the importance of having a walkaway number and why you should set your walkaway number early in the interview process

From This Week’s Show… 

Why You Should Always Negotiate Your Salary Offer

Failing to negotiate your salary offer is devastating to both your income and to your career. The good news is that industry employers expect you to negotiate.

In fact, if you don’t negotiate, your employer might second-guess your value in industry. They might start to see you as unqualified, desperate, and easy to replace. They might also think less of your character and credibility, and you will have to work harder to prove yourself after getting hired—if you get hired—than someone who negotiates.

All of this is because making deals is a key transferable skill in industry. Those at the top of any company have mastered this skill better than those below them. On a long enough timeline, the only two skills that will matter in terms of being promoted in industry are networking and making deals. These points should empower you to follow the first rule of negotiation: do it.

The Right Way To Prepare For Salary Negotiations

That said, there are right and wrong approaches to salary negotiation, and each stage of the hiring process requires a different approach; therefore, you should learn to negotiate well before you receive your first job offer.

Most PhDs erroneously believe that negotiation only comes into play when the company extends a formal job offer. While it’s true that you should never bring up salary and concrete numbers until you’ve received a written offer, you should know that the entire hiring process involves negotiation.

In every interaction with the company, you should be building the case for why you are the best person for their open position. By doing so, you increase your perceived value and build leverage for later salary discussions.

Why You Should Always Have a Walkaway Number

The most potent lever you have at your disposal during a negotiation—if you set it—is your walkaway number. Recently, my team was hiring a Transition Support Specialist, and because the candidate didn’t have any experience, we offered her a salary at the lower end of the range for this position. To everyone’s surprise, the candidate immediately thanked us and rejected the offer. She was kind, polite, professional—and bold. The candidate knew her worth. 

The first question we found ourselves asking was, Why? What does this person know about their value that we don’t? The second question we asked was, How can we turn this around? We even asked, How can we win this person back? Her bold move, commitment to self, and strength of character—perceived or otherwise—inspired us. By shutting down our low offer, she made us want to hire her more. This is the power of having a walkaway number.

Before interviewing—no, before even applying to a position at a company—decide on a walkaway number and commit to it in advance. Otherwise you will talk yourself into accepting less than you should.

If you don’t set a walkaway number, you will make concessions. You will get emotional and be influenced by the relationships you’ve started to build with the company during the hiring process, or the time you’ve invested in that company, or your overall job search, or even how much you like the company’s facilities and other minor benefits.

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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