The Importance of Negotiating Your Salary

You probably don’t like negotiating. But here’s a hint – very few people do. So despite it being about as enjoyable as nails on a chalkboard, it’s also necessary. And a salary negotiation is too important to screw up.

A poor salary negotiation technique – or worse, your failure to negotiate at all – could end up costing you thousands. This article will give you the top tips for successfully negotiating the salary you want and deserve!

Salary negotiation Top Tip #1

Salary Negotiation Tip #1

Be Confident


It might sound a bit obvious but if you don’t ask you don’t get. So be confident about what you’re worth and don’t be scared to negotiate. A salary negotiation is just a business conversation so approach it logically and openly.

Salary negotiation Top Tip #2

Salary Negotiation Tip #2

Don’t Negotiate for the sake of Negotiating


There’s no rule that says you HAVE TO negotiate your salary. Who knows? The first job offer made might be exactly what you're looking for. If you and the hiring manager are on the same page then there’s no need to turn the process into a game.

Salary Negotiation Top Tip #3

Salary Negotiation Tip #3

Know What Your Are Worth


Salaries are dependent on:

  • The scope of the job,
  • Experience,
  • Qualifications,
  • Level of seniority,
  • Industry,
  • Size of the company,
  • Geographic area.

So do your homework and know what you are worth before entering into a salary negotiation. . The best thing is to use a salary calculator service that continually monitors all of these factors. A salary calculator that I’ve had success with in the past is: (and it’s currently free)

Salary Negotiation Top Tip #4

Salary Negotiation Tip #4

Prepare in Advance


Before entering a salary negotiation, answer the following questions:

  • Do you know the other job conditions such as bonuses, benefits (sick leave, study etc), time off?
  • Do you know the range or what they have in the budget?
  • Is it a generic enough job that there are equivalent roles to benchmark against?
  • Is the job scale quantified? Such as size of budget, number of people to manage etc.
  • What is the competition like - are there a lot of people that can fill the role? Does the company desperately need your services? Did they approach you? Are they filling a gap or solving a problem? How long have they been looking for the right person
  • Understand your BATNA. If negotiation fails what are your alternatives? Do you have a job? Do you have other offers? How long are you prepared to wait for what you want? What is your attitude to risk (i.e. how much of a chance are you prepared to take to get a better offer?). How positive do you feel about the market and your opportunities?
  • Do you have an agent - like a recruitment agent to represent you or a salary negotiator?
  • Do you have an idea of what the negotiation process will be? For example, is it one of those senior roles where significant back and forth is expected or is it a simpler direct process?
  • Do you know your value to the company in terms of the problems that they want you to solve and how much this might cost? How urgently do they need them solved?
  • How well did you do in the interview in selling your USP, creating a connection and dispelling any doubts? Have you sold in a transition plan? (like a 90-day plan with deliverables)
  • Mutual value creation - is there some other way you can add value to the company or reduce their risk in hiring you? For example they may have expressed concerns, or they may be willing to move to more of a success fee structure (i.e bonuses)
  • Are there any "pre-existing conditions" like holidays that you have booked etc?
  • Are there any complexities that need to be considered? For example, any relocation required or buy-out of existing share incentives, compensation for forfeited bonus or any other golden handcuffs?
  • How confident are you in your own negotiation skills? Including have you had specific negotiation training? If you learnt how to negotiate your salary would you be comfortable to put it into practice?
Salary negotiation Top Tip #5

Salary Negotiation Tip #5

Aim for a Win-Win Solution


It’s important to approach the negotiation with flexibility. You don’t have to undersell yourself to reach a mutually beneficial salary agreement. The best negotiators get more because they create value for both parties. Instead of trying to take more of the pie for yourself, increase the size of the pie for both of you. This is why listening is also so important because the way to create value is by understanding what the other party wants. See the part about not talking later... 

Salary negotiation Tip #6

Salary Negotiation Tip #6

Know Your Limits


You need to know the number that will thrill you, as well as the rock bottom salary package you will accept. Crunch the numbers now so you can quickly respond to a job offer later.

Salary negotiation Tip #7

Salary Negotiation Tip #7

Sell Yourself


Remember – you are not selling your needs. You’re selling benefits and solutions. What will you do for the employer? Match how much you’re asking to what you’re worth. Show the hiring manager that the price tag you’re asking fits your skills and the value you will bring to the organization.

Salary Negotiation Tip #8

Salary Negotiation Tip #8

Know When to Stop Talking


Charles de Gaulle said “silence is the ultimate weapon of power.” Silence, especially in western cultures, can be very uncomfortable, which you can use to your advantage. Instead of immediately responding to your employer’s offer, take a moment of silence to think about it. The silence may cause them to be nervous and improve their offer without your saying anything.

Likewise, success in negotiations hinges on being able to understand what the other side values, and helping them achieve it. This can be accomplished by listening.

Salary Negotiation Tip #9

Salary Negotiation Tip #9

Start Higher


Begin by asking for more than you expect to get. This allows the employer to feel like they “won” because they got you to come down off your initial number. Starting with a higher number also raises your perceived value.

Always back up your requests with specific illustrations of how you are going to make or save the company money. Show the employer how your compensation package will have a positive return on investment.

Salary Negotiation Tip #10

Salary Negotiation Tip #10

Don’t Negotiate Over the Phone


Always try to do any salary negotiations in person. Research has shown that somewhere between 60-93% of communication is non-verbal. In order to fully understand what the employer is thinking and to communicate with them, you have to be present in person. Doing so allows you connect emotionally.

If the subject of salary is raised during a telephone conversation then rather ask the hiring manager if you can meet to discuss the matter further.  With each handshake, smile, and joke you laugh at, they will become more and more attached to you, which you can use to your advantage.

Salary negotiation Tip #11

Salary Negotiation Tip #11

Don’t Ask About Salary


One of the most basic and overlooked salary negotiation tips is to let employers make the first offer. Also don’t initiate any salary talk until after you've secured the position. If you do it creates the perception that you are only focused on money. Instead, focus on showing your excitement for the job and how you are a good fit for the position

Once the hiring manager makes a job offer, it'll be much easier to negotiate since you'll know that the company wants you on board.

Salary negotiation Tip #12

Salary Negotiation Tip #12

Salary Negotiation Starts From the First Handshake


The salary the company is willing to pay you is purely based on what value they perceive that you will bring. This perception starts with your resume and is solidified in the interview. Everything you do before the negotiation affects the negotiation and the most powerful way to increase your salary is to create a vision and plan about what you will do when you start and sell this plan to the company. This changes the negotiation from you asking for more money to them "buying" your plan. See the section on the "Money off the table negotiation technique" 

Salary Negotiation Tip #13

Salary Negotiation Tip #13

When Negotiating a Raise


Asking for a raise shouldn’t be rushed or crammed into one short conversation. Prepare in advance. Keep a record of every piece of positive feedback you receive over time. And record any objective metrics that help to demonstrate your value and contribution to the organization. Timing is also important. Negotiating a raise during a performance review might be more effective than unscheduled or impromptu self-promotion.


Understanding what you're getting into when you start a salary negotiation is one thing.  Being prepared for it is where these top salary negotiation tips come into play. If you’re new to job-hunting and salary negotiation then the Manager Foundation Guide to Negotiating Your Salary will show you a proven salary negotiation technique to get the salary you want with an offer they can’t refuse!

One of the best ways to prepare and improve your negotiation skills is by practicing.  Use a Professional Interview Coach who can prep you by role-playing an entire interview including the salary negotiation phase. This process gives you the confidence to talk money with a potential employer without being afraid you are getting it “wrong”.


Do you have any comments, questions or tips for successful salary negotiations? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.


This is part of the Interview Success Series. This series covers how job seekers can get the job they want. This series contains inside information from experienced recruiters.


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