How to Negotiate Salary

There’s no denying that some people are not comfortable negotiating their salaries after the job search is over and they’ve already landed an opportunity. Some applicants find negotiating salary as a jeopardizing move to the opportunity they’ve gained.

A survey by showed that 38% of people negotiate their salaries while 18% never do. Worse yet is that 44% of respondents acknowledged they have never brought up the topic of a salary raise during performance reviews and appraisal exercises.

When exploring the leading hindrance towards negotiating for a salary raise, we realized it was fear. Most people were afraid of losing the opportunities they worked for. Worse yet, most employees are afraid of getting embroiled in arguments and corporate politics that they’re bound to lose.

Regardless of the reason, failing to negotiate for a salary is bad, but fearing to do so is even worse.

Tips on How to Negotiate Salary

Below we list some strategies and best practices you can use to negotiate your salary.

1.) Know your value

Knowing your value is the first step in negotiating your salary or payment. Always ask for a fair salary for a fair effort. To get the salary you deserve, you need to identify the pay scale of your specific position, in a specific industry, and geographic area.

If you walk into a salary negotiation table without a specific number, you’ll be at the mercy of an experienced HR manager who’ll control the conversation.

So, it’s always advisable to do your due diligence and research keenly to know how much professionals in your specific sector and position earn before negotiating salary.

2.) Talk to recruiters

Another way to research salary negotiations is to pick calls from recruiters. Recruiters know how much people in your industry and position are worth. Recruiters work with a diverse network of professionals, applicants, and job seekers.

So, if someone engages you with a job offer, inquire about the duties, responsibilities, and pay for that position. While you may not obtain a specific number, a pay range is helpful.

3.) Build your case

It’s advisable to demonstrate why you need a specific salary or pay range than just simply quoting figures. That means that once you receive a salary offer, don’t just counter the offer with a higher amount.

Instead, let your research, inspiration, and reasons for a specific salary center on why you think you deserve a particular sum. List your strengths, experience, and qualifications. Build a solid case for why your salary should be reviewed to a higher figure.

4.) Set the bar higher

While negotiating salary, you may be tempted to pick an average offer that seems fiscally convenient or affordable to your employer and great for you as a starter. Don’t be afraid to ask for the best offer.

5.) Know the exact number

Researchers at Columbia Business School say you should ask for a specific number when negotiating your salary – say $75,667 instead of $75,000. It turns out that when job applicants or potential employees ask for a specific salary, they’re likely to get the final offer closer to what they’re hoping for.

That’s because the employer will think you’ve extensively researched salary and pay range to reach that specific figure. So, quoting salaries instead of offering particular ranges gives the impression that you’re aware of salary ranges for specific positions.

6.) Be willing to walk away

When negotiating your salary, set a quote that represents a minimum figure that you’re willing to forego the position if this figure is not attained. This salary figure could be based on market conditions, financial need, or even a desire to feel good about what you’re bringing home. While walking away from a seemingly lucrative offer may not be easy, it’s critical to know when to do it – and always feel powerful to say ‘no’

7.) Make sure you’re ready!

Ask yourself a few questions before asking for a salary raise.

Have you taken on a few responsibilities since employment? Have you been at work for a year? Do you have a culture of exceeding expectations rather than just meeting them? What special qualifications, skills, or experiences do you have that set you apart?

The answer to all these questions must be ‘yes’ when negotiating for higher pay.

8.) Plan right

It turns out that timing is the perfect thing to do. However, most employees wait until performance review seasons to ask for a pay raise, but by that time, your boss has already decided and outlined what raises will be doled out to specific employees.

Start talking to your boss about salary increments three or four months before appraisals. The bosses decide the budget three to four months before they dole out any pay increments.

9.) Perks and benefits

It’s advisable to factor in perks and benefits when negotiating your salary. That’s because salary negotiation often includes some give-and-take on employee benefits. It’s less costly for an employer to offer flexible work schedules, vacation days, and work-from-home benefits than higher salaries.

So, negotiating your salary goes beyond negotiating your financial or fiscal status. It involves identifying non-fiscal factors like schedules, plans, and programs that best fit your lifestyle, interests, hobbies, and continued professional development.

10.) Know when to wrap it up!

Lastly, know when to wrap it up during salary negotiations. While a reasonable employer or boss won’t withdraw an offer just because you tried to get a higher deal, dragging out the salary negotiation process may disgruntle the hiring manager and begin the relationship on a poor note.

So, if the company can’t meet your salary requirements after a few negotiations, it’s advisable to withdraw and seek better opportunities that meet your compensation expectations.

Otherwise, dragging out salary negotiations may prove counterproductive and potentially jeopardize your offer – no matter how lucrative.


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