The more you know about your market value and the prospective employer, the better your chances for success. Enter negotiations with an understanding of your skills and their worth. You may even consider providing the prospective employer with written materials such as salary stats for comparable work in your field and previous performance evaluations. If an increase in starting salary is not an option, see if they may be willing to consider other perks such as additional vacation time, laptop computer, cell phone, company car, etc. The time you spend preparing may be the best investment you'll ever make.
What role do benefits (insurance, stock options, 401(k) plans, pension and profit sharing plans, vacation days, paid holiday, and sick/personal days) play in your offer? How about the opportunity for future increases, or equity in the company? You may consider a lower salary if raises are possible and excellent benefits are provided. Understanding your needs will help you find a mutually acceptable salary.
Negotiating a salary or benefits is uncomfortable for many people; however, by preparing what you want to say ahead of time will give you a greater likelihood of success. Always try to put everything in its most positive light.
What to say:
What to say if asked during the interview "What are your salary requirements?":
First and foremost, express appreciation for the offer. However, there is no reason to say yes to an offer immediately and most organizations will not expect you to accept an offer on the spot. Offer a reasonable amount of time to get back to the employer with your decision (preferably within the next few days, or time-frame agreeable to the employer.) Try to take away a written offer, or at minimum, detailed notes.
What to say if you need time to consider:
What to say If the salary is acceptable:
When the negotiations are over, you'll have to work with the person with whom you're negotiating. Job negotiations are the starting point for your career with a company.
Remember, even if you reject the offer, say something positive about the employer and thank them for the interview. You never know when you may meet again!