How to Negotiate Salary (With Examples)

If your hands sweat and your throat gets dry just thinking about negotiating your salary, you’re not alone. Many people are concerned about negotiating their salary, and women especially avoid this nerve-wracking process.

In fact, only 7% of women negotiate their salaries whereas 57% of men are willing to hash out the details with a prospective employer for more pay. It’s an uncomfortable task, but you’re wise to do it for your long-term financial growth. There are plenty of techniques you can use to help your chances of getting a larger amount of money.

On average, those who do brave the salary negotiations successfully raise their starting salary by more than 7%.

Interviewing new employee candidate

The Interview

During your first interview, you need to balance making that good first impression, and showing the interviewers why you’re the best person for the job.

Most companies have a range that they’re willing to pay an employee for a position, and you want to ensure that you’re making the best impression possible so they see you’re worth the top amount.

As with any interview, one of the most important things you can do to help your chances of success is to do your research beforehand.

Make sure that you understand who the company is and how your prospective role fits in with the whole company. You should also look into the pay scale for that specific job in your region.

However, you don’t want to bring up money too early. This makes you look more interested in what you can get from the position rather than what you can bring to it.

Instead, you want to negotiate salary after you’re offered the position.

Offer First

Usually, you’re informed of the hiring process during the first interview or perhaps even in the job posting, so you’ll have a general idea of when they’re likely to offer the job. Once they do, be prepared to offer the first number when it comes to salary.

This is when your careful research will come in handy. Many people don’t want to be the one to put forth a number for fear of looking silly by overbidding or losing out by underbidding. But, you’re smart to begin the negotiations as this puts you in a place of control.

Also, you should give an exact number rather than a range so that they don’t automatically take the lower end. Sometimes, the interviewer will even just ask you how much you want for the job, which means that you can simply give your figure.

Go for the Top of the Range

They will most likely negotiate you down, so you want to go in slightly higher than what you actually want. That being said, you still need to present a reasonable number.

For example, if you’re applying for a job that typically earns people with your experience in your area between $50,000 and $60,000 per year, it’s okay to suggest $63,000 to start. However, you don’t want to suggest $80,000 unless you can offer an extremely useful, valuable, and rare set of skills that are above and beyond the job description.

Going in at the top of the reasonable range does create the possibility that they will simply accept your offer – this is a best-case scenario. Employers that understand compensation management know that offering the lowest amount means that their best employees are likely to move onto companies that are willing to pay more.

Also, it’s harder to negotiate up once you’ve already let them know that you’d be willing to accept a lower amount, so don’t be afraid of going high.

Making counteroffer in salary negotiation

Don’t Be Afraid to Counteroffer

If you give the company an offer but then they offer you a number that’s too low, don’t be afraid to make a counteroffer. This is part of the hiring process, and it’s entirely reasonable to make a bid that’s 5% to 8% higher than what they’ve offered.

If they’re not willing to go up, they’ll try to bring it back down, and they’ll likely still keep the job offer open. But, you never know if they’ll actually give you your counter-offer. Say something like, “The amount that you’re offering is still too low, but $65,000 is a fair number to both of us.”

If they don’t give you your original desired number, and you can’t accept their lower offer, find a number that’s in between. If this works for both parties, great. If not, you may have to be prepared to walk away.

Be Firm and Confident

To negotiate with confidence, you should know that maintaining casual eye contact and using a clear voice are two of the most important aspects.

When you’re in the midst of negotiations, you want to show people that you know you’re worth the amount that you’re asking for. You want to show them that you won’t back down if they try to give you a lowball or unreasonable offer.

Confidence will help them take you seriously. Being firm will let them know they can’t intimidate you or talk you into an offer that isn’t fair. Your handshake is one way that you show firmness. Ensure that you maintain adequate pressure without crushing the other person’s hand.

Negotiate Benefits

When you’re in the midst of negotiations, don’t forget that your benefits package is a huge part of the compensation. Your salary is only one piece of the puzzle. You want to have a pretty good idea of what kinds of insurance, contributions, employee perks, and other benefits they offer.

To negotiate salary and benefits with confidence, make a list before you go into the negotiation stage so that you know exactly which benefits are the most important to you. You should think of benefits and salary together because the benefits package that they’re offering might affect the way that you see a particular salary amount.

The available benefits may be the tipping point between two job offers with an equal salary offer. Don’t neglect this part of the negotiation.

Finalizing salary negotiation

Mistakes to Avoid When Negotiating a Salary

It’s easy to make a mistake in negotiating your salary if you’re nervous. Knowing what to be careful about beforehand, will help you avoid making the worst mistakes.

For instance, don’t accept the first offer. This speaks to the whole point of this article – negotiation is normal and expected and there’s a good chance you’ll end up with a little more than you started with.

Also, don’t get too friendly and lose sight of your goals during the negotiation process. Getting too friendly can also send the message that you’ll take the lower offer to be nice. Some other common mistakes include not getting the offer in writing and not knowing how much money the position that you’re applying for commands in your area.

Never be Afraid to Negotiate

In negotiations, many people fear being seen as unreasonable, but you need to remember that it’s just business. People negotiate their salaries every day. You’re likely to get a much better salary and benefits package if you walk into the negotiation with confidence.

If you want to know how to negotiate a salary like an expert, the best piece of advice to remember is to be confident and not undersell yourself.