Salary Negotiation


Before you start talking compensation amid salary negotiations with a prospective employer, you need to find out how much the job (and you) are worth. You will need to take the time to research salaries, so you will be prepared to get what you're worth and to get a job offer that's realistic and reasonable.

The Negotiation

Once you know what you should be earning, how do you go about getting it? Start by being very patient. When interviewing for a new position, do your best not to bring up compensation until the employer makes you an offer.

If you're asked what your salary requirements are, say that they are open based upon the position and the overall compensation package. Tell the employer you'd like to know more about the responsibilities and the challenges of the job prior to discussing salary.


Another, possibly more feasible option, is to give the employer a salary range based upon the salary research you've done up front.   Not providing salary information when asked for it directly can appear coy or give the impression you are trying to hide something.  If you are interviewing for a position with a significant increase from your current salary, be prepared to provide constructive support for why your experience and education indicate the increase in total compensation is deserved.

Once you've received the offer you don't need to accept (or reject) it right away. If done professionally, a simple "I need to think it over" can get you an increase in the original offer.  If you're ambivalent about the position a "no" can bring you a better offer too.  This could be a dangerous tactic,  because if you definitely need the new job there's a risk that the employer may accept your declining the position and move on to the next candidate.

Want a Raise

If you are currently employed and want a raise, start by being prepared. Gather your salary survey information; recent performance appraisals that document the job you're doing; and any other relevant information. Be aware of company policy regarding compensation. Some employers are limited by budget constraints and can only give raises at certain times of the year, regardless of the circumstances.

Have a clear idea of what you want. Determine the salary range you're looking for and justification for the increase and have both ready to review with your supervisor. Be flexible. Would you consider an extra couple of weeks vacation instead of a raise? Ask your supervisor for a meeting to discuss salary.

Present your request, supported by documentation, calmly and rationally. Don't ask for an immediate answer. Your boss is mostly likely going to have to discuss it with Human Resources and/or other company managers.

Despite your best efforts, there may simply not be enough money in the budget to increase your salary or compensation package offer. The company may also not want to create inequities by paying one person more than others in a similar position. In that case, you can at least know you tried. If you really love your job, consider whether the company culture, the benefits, and the job itself are worth it - regardless of the salary.