< Back to Insights

How to Negotiate Your Salary: Six Tips to Get What You Want

Did you know that 80 percent of job recruiters are willing to negotiate on salary, but only 30 percent of applicants do so?

It’s true. People are afraid to negotiate, especially when they are in the early position of landing a job. They are afraid of seeming too aggressive or greedy or of angering their new management.

But if you’ve been offered the job or already have the job, you have to understand that they want you, they value you, and you are in the perfect position to negotiate your salary. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Do your homework.Before you go into your negotiation, make sure you research your industry, your position, and your company. Is the firm established or a start up? Is it stable or on loose footing? Is it growing or shrinking?

Find out what other people are making in your profession and industry. Websites like Payscale.com and Glassceiling.com are great resources. Find the averages of salaries in your industry and for your level of experience.

  1. Know your own value.How valuable are you? What do you bring to the table that is superior? How hard is it to fill your position? If there are 1,000 other people who can and will do your job and are waiting in the wings, you have less room to negotiate than if you are an outlier or a seasoned professional with a high-level set of skills.
  1. Set your numbers. Once you’ve done the research into what the salary ranges are for your industry, your position, and maybe even within the company, prepare three sets of numbers:

First, know your absolute bottom line. This is the lowest salary you will accept. Second, set your medium salary, a number that would be nice and comfortable. Third, set your ideal salary, the biggest number you can think of that is within the range of your position and industry.

  1. Be realistic.Don’t go crazy with your numbers and negotiating or you may appear unhinged. Stay within industry standards. Don’t ask for $75,000 if you are applying to work the perfume counter ay Macy’s. By the same token, if you are in a trending industry — which right now is high-tech, consulting, social media and marketing — know that those salaries and positions are increasingly in demand. 
  1. Don’t speak first.If you can avoid it, never be the first to raise the salary issue. You have the most power when you know they want you, so don’t raise the issue until they do.

The interviewer also knows that he or she shouldn’t go first, so chances are they will ask you what your salary requirements are. If that happens, bounce it right back to them by saying something like, “I have given this a lot of thought, and I will entertain any reasonable, competitive offer. What is the salary range you were thinking of?” Stay calm and polite, but be firm and try to get them to offer numbers first.

Also, if you are applying for a job and the application asks for your last salary, try to leave it blank, because whatever you put will be their starting point.

  1. Finally, never take the first offer.It varies by industry, but I would say that across the board, you probably have about a 25 percent wiggle room. You might settle at around 10 or 15 percent, but always start high.

Good luck!

Click here to see my Salary Negotion segment on Let’s Talk Live! Visit our media page here to see more.

Learn more about attracting and retaining talent in our Onboarding course:

Click Here