How To Gain A Huge Advantage In Salary Negotiations

Hand is turning a dice and changes the word Pay to Day

Hand is turning a dice and changes the word Pay to Day


The most common reasons I hear for why job seekers skip the salary negotiation when receiving a job offer all fall under the umbrella of fear – worry that the offer will be rescinded. Or discomfort discussing money. Or anxiety about screwing it up, angering their new manager or appearing ungrateful.

Emotions soar when you receive a job offer after a lengthy search, so it’s completely understandable to be excited to close the deal quickly and celebrate. But isn’t 10 minutes of potential uneasiness worth an extra $5000 or more in your bank account?

Even if your reason for accepting on the spot is because you were offered more than expected, taking a day or two to sleep on it will give you enough distance from the emotional high to realize that tuition reimbursement or a small travel allowance will sweeten the deal even more.

Here’s how to push aside fear and gain a huge advantage in the salary negotiations:

Know your odds. Because they are in your favor. A Jobvite study revealed that 85% of people who negotiated received more, yet only 31% even tried. While someone always has a “story about a friend” whose offer was rescinded while attempting to negotiate, when pressed, the details are hazy at best, or the person laid down an ultimatum. If an employer takes the time and money to recruit, interview and choose you, they’re not going to pull the offer because you inquire about a sign-on bonus.

Pay attention. You can gain several helpful clues during the interview process that may boost your confidence when it comes time to negotiate. For example, is there a strong #2 candidate or are you the clear choice? Is there a tight deadline, new client or industry-related busy season on the horizon that increases the employer’s urgency to hire? Perhaps it’s a particularly tough role to fill or the department just lost two people (Note: be sure to dig into this so that you don’t end up in a bad position.)? Many times there are cues along the way that help you discern this information, which can put you in a better position to negotiate.

Get into the Hirer’s mind. Although an employer would love for you to accept on the spot so they can call it a wrap, most expect you to negotiate. When I recruiter, my first thought if someone didn’t negotiate was “I made a hiring mistake.” The brief time between receiving the offer and accepting it is the only time you’ll have leverage in the job search, so use it wisely. If done diplomatically, negotiating can actually deepen the relationship with your manager – it shows they’re willing to go to bat for you, and that you can engage in a serious discussion in a diplomatic manner.

Choose your words. There’s a major difference between saying “I’ll only accept if the base is raised by 15%,” and, “I’m grateful for the offer and was wondering if there is any flexibility?” The first is an ultimatum that negates the contract by expressing an unwillingness to accept the initial terms. The second approach is an acknowledgement of the offer with an inquiry about the options. The worst they can say is “no,” and you can at least feel satisfied that you asked.

Be prepared. In one of my first corporate jobs, I didn’t know the firm routinely gave out sign-on bonuses to new employees, so I didn’t ask for one. And, I didn’t get one. It still bothers me 20 years later, but at least I can pacify my frustration slightly by reminding myself that the information that’s available online today wasn’t back then. In 2020, there are few excuses for a lack of preparation since most everything can be found with a few clicks on the internet. Remind the hiring manager about your excitement for the role and ability to use your skills to drive results, then respectfully ask for what you want.

Lead with positive intent. If you come into the discussion with guns blazing, you’ll be met with a defensive response. Remember that hiring managers, like you, want to be done with this process as quickly as possible and go back to focusing on company priorities. They are on your side, and if you treat the negotiations like a collaboration versus a debate, you’ll have a better outcome. Hiring managers have many “buckets” where they can pull from to put extra money into your pocket. If your base salary needs can’t be met, ask about other creative options that could close the gap, like extra vacation time or a mid-year (off-cycle) salary review.

Value your worth. If you’ve received the offer, the company has recognized the value you bring. Don’t let your brain confuse things when the discussion of money arises. Yes, there will be a learning curve in the new job, but a few months in, you’ll be feeling confident and secure, and will have wished you’d asked for a little more on the way in. It’s much tougher to get a big raise or additional perks once you’ve signed on the dotted line, so don’t negotiate based on your value to the company on week one – instead, negotiate on the value you’ll be bringing in year one.

Discussing money is uncomfortable, especially when it comes to placing a dollar amount on ourselves. So, you may find it helpful to imagine you’re negotiating the offer for someone you care about and respect, like a family member or good friend. Chances are, when you remove yourself from the equation, you’re able to be more objective and not clouded by any fleeting insecurities that may be lingering in the back of your mind.

Happy hunting!

Reposted from:


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.