Salary Negotiation Strategies

Be Prepared

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 by checking out a salary calculator.  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.

Look at the Entire Compensation Package

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.

Rehearse Your Response

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:

  • "I'm calling you with some very good news. I would like to accept your offer and I'm looking forward to working with you and becoming a valuable member of the team; however, there is (are) a (two, three, some) concern(s) about the offer that I want to discuss. I don't know if you're able to make changes in this (these) area(s), but I'd surely appreciate your looking into that possibility. Would it be possible to _____?"

  • “That sounds great, but my three years of management experience will allow me to contribute immediately to your organization. Would you consider increasing the salary by 10%?”

  • "I'm delighted that you are interested in me and I am very interested in the position. Based upon my experience and also because of a variety of expenses I'll have when I graduate, such as paying off my college loan and having to get a car, I'd like to be making around $X0,000. How do you feel about that?"

  • "I really like the opportunity, and I know that I could contribute, but I have several other opportunities that are in the $X0,000 range (don't say it unless it's true) is there a way we could work this out?"

What to say if asked during the interview "What are your salary requirements?":

  • “I would prefer to review all aspects of this position before discussing salary.”

  • “May we revisit salary after you have a better picture of what I have to offer?”

  • “I'm looking for the maximum, fair compensation for the responsibilities involved..” or "What salary range do you have in mind?"

Do Not Feel Pressured to Accept an Offer on the Spot

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:

  • “I'm excited about the possibility of working here. but would like some time to think about your offer. Could I get back with you tomorrow with my decision?”

What to say If the salary is acceptable:

  • "Thank you for your confidence in me. I look forward to working with you.  Can you confirm the offer in writing?"  Do not interview for any other positions or renege on an offer you've accepted.

Remember that Employment is an Ongoing Relationship

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!