For almost all nurses, finding a job, creating resumes, cover letters, preparing for interviews can be quite nerve wracking. In most nursing schools, professional development is not given as much attention as it should have been given. Thereby, they are mostly on their own to improve their skills and evolve professionally.
One aspect that often becomes difficult for nurses is salary negotiation. Nurses generally don't like discussing money with their employer which is why it is often discussed insidiously affecting their chances of getting better wages.
If you are a nurse and preparing for your next big interview, below are some aspects to consider while negotiating your salary:
1. It Is Your Right To Negotiate
All employers expect their potential candidates to negotiate with them. They generally have a salary range on their mind where they are mostly likely to offer you the lowest wage on that slab. It is assumed that the candidate will negotiate. When a nurse does not negotiate, he/she gives the impression that they are not aware of their worth, and possess a passive nature.
Pro Tip: Do not disclose your expected salary to your potential employers, rather let them quote their pay scale for your potential designation. Moreover, taking up a low paying position essentially means that all your promotions or salary raises in the future will be based upon your entry level salary. Thereby, if you undervalue yourself now, your future raises may also not be what you actually deserve.
2. Know Your Worth
When you walk in an interview, it is important to know what you really want. You need to do your due diligence where you can research about other nurses and their take home within your geographic vicinity for the job role you are applying for. In simpler words, have data to back up your claims.
In order to ascertain what other nurses are making in close proximity to you, try calling the local nurses bodies within your state for a ballpark figure. If you have contacts within the nurse's circle of your region, you can also speak to them and also request them for referrals. Similarly, you can look up the standard salary for nurses on platforms like PayScale and GlassDoor.
3. Leverage On The Best Possible Time To Negotiate
Ideally, you should not talk about salary, until you get an offer from your potential employer. It is advised that when you do get an offer, show enthusiasm and gratitude for giving you the opportunity. Once that is done, request them to allow you a grace period of some days to actually think over it.
4. The Negotiation Circa
This is where it all starts to actually get real. When you start the first round of negotiations, chalk out a figure that you will decline. For some, walking away will work out as your employers may be forced to increase the offer. However, don't really rely on this and be steadfast on your decision if you actually decide to walk away.
Based upon the data you have acquired, take into consideration what a reasonable salary will be for your experience, skills, credentials and other similar jobs in the vicinity.
As a thumb rule, asking for 15% to 20% more than what is generally offered to you is reasonable enough, especially if you are offered from the bottom of your employer's slab. For instance, if you are offered $65,000 for a job and your desired wage is $70,000, ask for $75,000. This way, there is a chance that your employer will be willing to meet a common ground that is closer to your desired salary. However, asking for more than you actually deserve is pegged in bad faith
Pro Tip: as for more, you may just get LUCKY!
For instance, you can say, "Thank you for your offer, but I was wondering if we could increase it to $XXX as my salary. This will be more appropriate for the sort of skills and experience I am bringing to the table."
5. Take All Aspects into Consideration
At some workplaces, you may encounter a situation where the salary is actually non-negotiable. Some states have fixed budgets allocated for the job role being offered to you. However, you can still negotiate over benefits when it comes to such job roles.
When it comes to the different benefits worth negotiating over, take the paid time off, stock options, sign on bonuses etc. into consideration. All in all, look at the broader scale of the spectrum.