Salary negotiation

Why negotiate?

Future earnings generally are a percentage of your current salary, so your lifetime earnings could be significantly higher when you negotiate. Also, most employers expect applicants to negotiate.

Salary research

Research what the market pay is for your industry area. There may be differences based on experience level, cost of living in the city, company/organization size and type.

When should you negotiate?

Negotiate salary after you receive a job offer. This allows you to know what the employer is willing to pay so you don’t price yourself too low.

How to begin the conversation?

  • Could you tell me how you arrived at that number? I want this to work for both of us.
  • Is this offer negotiable?
  • Based on my experience in the field and the level of responsibility this position requires, would you consider a salary closer to (X) amount?
  • At this time, I have been offered a position with XYZ company for (X) amount. Would you be willing to match their offer?

Strategies for success

  • Always be professional, respectful, and friendly.
  • Avoid salary discussions before the offer so you don’t price yourself too high or too low.
  • Determine the minimum salary you will accept (develop a budget if needed), so you will know when to walk away from an offer.
  • Ask for time to think about the offer.
  • Understand the benefits being offered. Benefits can often make up 30-40% of your total compensation.
  • If an employer says the salary is non-negotiable, you can accept the offer or identify other areas you might negotiate such as a signing bonus, vacation time, flexible hours, school reimbursement, or parking which can be more negotiable than salary.
  • Know what skills and experiences you bring to the position and discuss them with the employer (rather than your financial needs) when negotiating salary.
  • Never accept an offer from an organization with the intent of changing your mind if something better comes along.
  • Once you have an offer that you agree upon, get it in writing.