20 Salary Negotiation Tips

Whether we’re starting a new job or looking for a promotion at our current one, we all know that we should be negotiating. Negotiation can be scary and “SALARY NEGOTIATION” is the scariest one.

Salary negotiations can be tricky business. Unless you have the inside scoop on what an employer is willing to offer, you may come in too high and then find yourself out of a job offer. Coming in a little bit high is one thing, but if you ask for a salary that is more than the company has budgeted for, there’s no room to negotiate.

Negotiating salary and benefits can be complicated, so you need to be prepared. Negotiations are successful when both sides feel good about the outcome: the classic win-win situation. If you approach salary negotiations professionally, means you’ve prepared, practiced and proceeded with care and caution, you will impress your employer, boost your confidence and increase your odds of becoming a winner.

So, in your first job or your fifth, it’s time to learn how to negotiate. And we’re here to help, with a roundup of tips and to get you totally prepared for your next negotiation. What’s the best way to negotiate salary? These salary negotiation tactics will help you negotiate a fair compensation package. Here are salary negotiation tactics including how to evaluate a job offer, negotiating salary and benefits, and how to make a counter offer if you want to get a higher salary when you receive a job offer from an employer.

1. Know And Focus On Your Market Value.

If you are going to get the pay you deserve, it’s crucial to know the going rate for your position in your specific industry and in your geographic area. If you walk into a salary negotiation without a number, you are at the mercy of an experienced hiring manager who will simply control the conversation.

Rather than discussing a raise or new salary based on what you make now, keep the conversation focused on what the market is paying for people like you. You can do this by doing an online search on sites or by asking others in your field.

2. Pick The Top Of The Range.

As you are doing your research, you will likely come up with a range that represents your market value. It can be tempting to ask for something in the middle of the range, but instead, you should ask for something toward the top. First of all, you should assume you are entitled to top pay. Second, your employer will almost certainly negotiate down, so you need to still end up with a salary you are pleased with.

3. Prepare a One-Sheet.

Prepare a “brag sheet”. It is a one-page summary that shows exactly how awesome you are as an employee. List any accomplishments, awards, and customer or co-worker testimonials you have received since your last review. You want to demonstrate your value to your boss. Before you start talking numbers, talk about what you have done and more importantly what you can do.

4. Use Email Where Appropriate.

Most negotiations are done in person or over the phone, but if most of your communication with a recruiter or hiring manager has been over email, don’t be afraid to negotiate over email, as well. It ensures you stick to the script and can be a whole lot less scary. If you do negotiate over email, try to infuse as much empathy, pleasant conversation, and openness as possible into your message.

5. Remember Practice Makes Perfect.

Rehearse, Rehearse, and Rehearse. Write down what you want to say, and practice to a mirror, on video, or with a friend until you are super comfortable having the conversation.

6. Walk in With Confidence and Stay positive.

The way you enter a room can dictate how the rest of an interaction will be. Keep your head high and smile when you enter. Starting things off with a positive vibe is very important, no matter how small it is. You should always keep the conversation on a positive note.

7. Be Excited but not too excited.

Don’t be so excited that you seem desperate. You have no idea how many other candidates the hiring manager is interviewing so play it cool. Desperate is problematic. Eager is not. Showing the employer that you are excited about working for the company also makes it more inclined to give you what you want.

8. Focus On The Future, Not The Past.

When negotiating the salary for a new job, it is not uncommon for the company to ask about your current salary. Instead, give your current number (including benefits, bonuses, and the like) and then quickly move the conversation along to explain the number you are looking for, focusing on explaining your new skills or responsibilities, your market value, and how you’re looking to grow. It can be a tricky situation, especially if you are being underpaid at your current job or looking to make significantly more, but it is never a good idea to lie.

9. Give a Salary Range Rather Than a Target.

Once you determine what the job is worth competitively, you should offer a pay range instead of an exact number. This opens up room for discussion and shows the employer that you are flexible. A range also “gives you a cushion,”

Most companies will meet you in your range, basically, if they want you, they don’t want to send the wrong message by not meeting you in that range.

10. Prioritize Your Requests.

As part of your conversation, lay everything you are looking for out on the table in rank order. “In a job offer negotiation, for example, you might say that salary is most important to you, followed by location, and then vacation time and signing bonus. Research shows
that rank-ordering is a powerful way to help your counterparts understand your interests without giving away too much information. You can then ask them to share their priorities, and look for opportunities for mutually beneficial tradeoffs: both sides win on the issues that are most important to them.”

11. Ask for More than What You Want But Know Enough Not to Over-ask.

You should always ask for more than you actually want and don’t fear to ask for too much! The worst that can happen if you give a high number is that the other party will counteroffer—but the worst that can happen if you don’t negotiate is that you’ll get
nothing.

But at the same time know enough not to over-ask. Make an educated guess as to how much the employer is able to pay you by asking other employees working at the company or researching on job sites.”At the end, a candidate has a number in mind as to what he or she thinks is appropriate,” “But a company has limits to what it can spend.” If you tell the employer a number that’s much higher than the range it’s able to pay you, you may be eliminated in that moment.

12. Don’t Forget to Listen.

Listening to the other party during a negotiation is almost as important as your ask and argument. By really paying attention to what the other person is saying, you can understand his or her needs and incorporate them into finding a solution that makes you both happy.

13. Be Patient Until the Interview Process is over.

The more the interviewer talks, the more you learn. When you are interviewing for a job and want to discuss salary, be patient. Try not to bring up compensation until the employer makes you an offer. If the employers ask you what your salary requirements are, say that you are open-minded based on the position and the responsibilities of the job.

14. Ask Questions.

Does the person you are negotiating with flinch or otherwise react negatively to the number you put on the table? Don’t let that deter you; instead, ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation moving and show you’re willing to work together.

15. But Don’t Make Threats.

Again, you ideally want to work (or keep working) with this company or person, so it’s important to keep the conversation positive. “Whatever you do, don’t threaten to leave if you don’t get the raise,” “You also shouldn’t threaten your boss with other job offers, interviews or recruiter conversations.”

16. Always Counteroffer, But don’t do it More than Once.

Once you receive the offer, you are expected to make a counteroffer. No employer wants a pushover. However, you should not go back to the negotiation table more than once because then “it becomes annoying to the hiring manager.”Once it gets really drawn out, it gets frustrating for both sides,” and you don’t want to start a new job off on the wrong foot.

17. Be Willing to Walk Away.

When considering your numbers, you should also come up with a “walk away point”—a final offer that is so low that you have to turn it down. This could be based on financial need, market value, or simply what you need to feel good about the salary you are bringing home. Walking away from an offer will never be easy, but it’s important to know when to do it and powerful to be able to say “NO”.

18. Never Lie About Your Current Salary.

Recruiters say there are easy ways of finding out how much you’re currently paid, whether it’s a reference call or asking for a copy of your salary statement. You don’t want to lie about this. You also don’t want to start a new job with a lie on your record. Whether you’re seeking a position lower or higher, always be prepared well ahead of time, and be honest about what you want.

19. Consider saying no, But don’t Decline a Job that You Want or Need.

If you are ambivalent about the position, a “no” can bring you a better offer too. I turned down a position I knew I didn’t want, regardless of salary, and received three follow-up phone calls upping the compensation package. Be careful though, if you do definitely need that new job there’s a risk that the employer may accept you’re declining the position and move on to the next candidate.

20. Take Your Time.

When you receive a job offer, take your time before you make a decision. Ask the employer any remaining questions you have, even if they seem inconsequential. It is perfectly acceptable to ask an employer for time to consider the offer. In fact, most employers will respect you for taking the job, and job offer, seriously.

All of these seems like a lot. Well, unfortunately, it is. Negotiation is a complicated process with volumes of books on techniques, tactics, and scripts.
The good news is that the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Even better, the more money you’ll bring home! So, get out there and start negotiating. You’ve now got the skills to do it right.