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Negotiating Your Salary: Tips and Strategies for Getting What You Deserve

Sep 06, 2023

Negotiating your salary after receiving an offer can be an intimidating process and is rarely easy, but it’s an essential part of securing fair compensation for your skills and experience. By negotiating your salary effectively, you can ensure that you’re being paid what you’re worth and set yourself up for success in your new role. 

In this blog post, we’ll discuss tips and strategies for negotiating your salary and getting what you deserve.

Consider this scenario: You are offered a job as a marketing manager for a mid-sized company. The initial salary offer is $70,000, but you believe that your experience and skills warrant a higher salary. What steps should you take next?

Do your research

Before beginning to negotiate your offer, it’s essential to do your research and understand the market rate for your position and level of experience. You can use online salary calculators, industry resources, and job listings to get a sense of what other professionals in similar roles are earning. 

You should also consider the following: geographic location and cost of living, years of experience, managerial experience, education level, career level, skills, licenses and certifications. This information will help you determine a reasonable salary range to negotiate from and make a compelling case for your desired salary.

After doing research on industry salaries and considering your qualifications, you decide to negotiate for a salary of $90,000 to $95,000.

Consider your approach and prepare your pitch

When negotiating your salary, it’s important to be confident and assertive in your approach. Practice your pitch beforehand and be prepared to articulate your value and why you deserve a higher salary, focusing on offering specifics about your accomplishments, skills, and experience, and making a strong case for why you’re worth the investment.

Being likeable is key in negotiations. If you come across as unlikable, it reduces the chances of the other side fighting for you. This involves managing tensions such as asking for what you deserve, pointing out deficiencies in the offer, and being persistent. Practicing a conversation with friends can help evaluate how others perceive your approach.

You must also prove that you’re worth the offer you want by telling the story behind your proposal, because being likable isn’t enough. Justifying your demand is important to avoid sounding arrogant. If you can’t justify a demand, it may be unwise to make it. Keep in mind the tension between being likable and explaining why you deserve more.

Once you’ve landed on your number, you’ll have to make your pitch. You’ve decided to focus on the value you generated in your previous role, specifically highlighting your track record for increasing revenue through brand awareness and digital marketing. You’ve thought about the tone of your presentation by practicing with a friend, ensuring it’s friendly, assertive, and focused on the quantitative results you’ve achieved.

Understand who you’re negotiating with and be prepared for tough questions 

Remember, you’re negotiating with a person, not the company, meaning that understanding their interests and concerns is crucial to success. Negotiating with a prospective boss is different from negotiating with an HR representative. It’s best to avoid annoying a prospective boss with petty demands. Be aware that HR may be hesitant to break precedent, while a boss may be more willing to make a special request.

Even if they like you and think you deserve what you’re asking for, they may not be able to give it to you due to constraints like salary caps. Your job is to figure out where they’re flexible and where they’re not. Large companies may be flexible on start dates, vacation time, and signing bonuses, while smaller companies may be able to adjust initial salary offers or job titles. Understanding constraints helps propose solutions that solve both sides’ problems.

When faced with difficult questions during this process, never lie and never try too hard to please. Prepare in advance for questions that may make you feel uncomfortable or expose weaknesses. Your goal is to answer honestly without losing bargaining power or appearing unattractive. By thinking in advance about how to answer difficult questions, you can achieve both objectives.

Now you’ve made your pitch, and the hiring manager has informed you that they were not prepared to offer the salary you requested, citing market conditions and budget limitations. However, they’ve been impressed with your qualifications and skills, and would like to negotiate further, asking you what other benefits you’d be willing to consider. They’re willing to offer a one-time signing bonus of $5,000, along with an additional 3 days of paid time off and a $75,000 salary.

Consider the whole deal and negotiate multiple issues simultaneously

Negotiating a job offer is not just about salary. Satisfaction can come from other factors that can be negotiated, sometimes even more easily than salary. Don’t focus solely on money, but on the value of the entire deal, such as responsibilities, location, travel, flexibility, growth opportunities, perks, and education support. Also consider when you’re willing to be rewarded, as a lower salary now could put you in a stronger position later.

Propose all your changes at once instead of one at a time. If you keep asking for more after one change is made, the employer may become less generous. Also, signal the relative importance of each request to you, so the employer doesn’t just pick the easiest requests and feel they’ve met you halfway. If something is important, negotiate, but fighting for a bit more can rub people the wrong way and limit your ability to negotiate with the company in the future.

Avoid giving ultimatums in negotiations, as people don’t like being told what to do. If someone gives you an ultimatum, ignore it and continue negotiating. Don’t dwell on it or make them repeat it but offer alternative solutions instead. By pretending the ultimatum was never given, you keep the other person from becoming too committed to it. If the ultimatum is real, they’ll make it clear over time.

You’ve taken the time to process their new offer and feel more inclined to take it. However, you feel that given your prior experience and the state of the market, you could possibly find another offer with the other organizations you’re interviewing with, even though you’d like to work for this particular company. Weighing the pros and cons, you decide to go back once more with a counter, accepting the salary, but asking for a $10,000 signing bonus and 6 additional PTO days. You indicate that, if there is room for growth, you’re willing to take the lower salary but would like the investment made up front in the form of the higher signing bonus. You wait to hear back.

Be patient and maintain a sense of perspective

Getting the job right is more important than getting the negotiation right. Industry, career trajectory, and day-to-day influences like bosses and coworkers can be more important to satisfaction than offer details. Negotiating effectively is important, but it should come after a thoughtful job hunt to ensure the chosen path leads to desired outcomes.

The hiring manager, after a few days of reviewing your counteroffer, returns and lets you know it’s not feasible for them to offer you anything more despite their belief that you’re the best candidate for the job. They reassure you that there is tremendous room for growth and advancement in terms of salary and benefits. You’ve reviewed your options and feel that taking the lower initial salary is worth the risk given the potential for growth and experience provided in this role. Congratulations!