How to Negotiate Your Salary

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man practicing how to negotiate his salary on the phone

When it comes to boosting your lifetime earnings, negotiating salary effectively, whether over the phone, by email, or in person, makes all the difference. Whether you’re job hunting, seeking a promotion, or just looking for a higher annual raise than the usual 2%, this guide will give you the tools you need to succeed in your career development journey.

You’ll learn how to negotiate salary raises by carefully evaluating market conditions and truly understand the value you bring to your organization. Ultimately, every negotiation of this type involves a similar set of skills that you can not only need to learn but master. Here’s how.

First Step: How Much Higher Should You Shoot For?

Although it might seem counterintuitive, you may not want to aim for the highest possible salary, especially if it’s higher than the market median, without a solid justification. When you look to aim higher, you should first analyze the long-term view of your career path and market conditions. Before deciding how much higher to negotiate your salary, you’ll want to start with the basics.

First things first: Recognize multiple types of compensation exist, and the exact type you will receive depends on the company you work for. If you’re working at a startup, for example, you won’t receive an extremely high base salary. Instead, you might be compensated with stock options.

If you’re working for a larger company, you might have access to other types of compensation, including ESOP plans, retirement matching, and other alternatives. Ultimately, you need to understand what you’re asking for and then structure a way to arrive at that number. Start with the evidence and be specific.

For example, if you can trace your performance to specific metrics demonstrating that you have either saved or made the company money, you’re in a much stronger position to ask for a portion of those profits. If market conditions have shifted and the average salary in your industry has increased significantly, you’re also in a stronger position.

The goal, ultimately, is to create a win-win situation between you and the hiring manager. You don’t want to appear greedy. Don’t ask for 15% when the market, the size of your company, or your performance points toward 10%.

Read More: 8 Negotiable Benefits Besides Salary

How to Negotiate a Salary Offer

Congratulations! You’ve received a job offer. Now comes the time to negotiate your compensation package. If you’re unsure how to negotiate pay, you should assemble the following data points before you discuss the offer:

  • Market Research: This type of information serves two purposes. First, it positions you as someone knowledgeable about the trends in your industry. Secondly, it gives you a foundation for making your salary request.
  • Measure Your Worth: This is your time to shine. Share your accomplishments and metrics to communicate why you deserve the requested compensation.
  • Be Honest and Specific: You don’t have an honest negotiation without honesty and specificity. Approaching these discussions as collaborative rather than confrontational can make all the difference.

An Example of How to Negotiate Wage After a Job Offer

Here is a detailed example of how you might approach how to negotiate pay, including what you might say and the rationale behind it:

  • Express Appreciation: “Firstly, I am grateful for the offer and the opportunity to work with [Company]. I am genuinely excited about the potential to contribute to the team.”
  • Present Your Case: “After reviewing the offer and considering the scope of the role, as well as the cost of living and industry standards, I was hoping we could discuss the possibility of a salary closer to [Your Target Salary]. I believe this reflects the value and experience I bring, especially considering my expertise in [specific skills or achievements relevant to the job].”
  • Be Prepared for Pushback: The employer might explain budget constraints or other reasons for the offer. Listen carefully, and be prepared to negotiate other benefits if the salary is non-negotiable, such as a signing bonus, flexible working arrangements, or additional vacation days.
  • Express Flexibility: “I understand there are many factors at play, and I’m very open to discussing how we can make this work for both of us, including considering other compensation components or benefits.”

Bonus: 5 Salary Negotiation Tips – Expert Advice for Your Next Job Offer

How to Negotiate a Raise or Salary Increase

As with any negotiation, you need to enter the situation with as much information as possible. The difference between negotiating a raise or salary increase and negotiating a new job offer compensation package revolves around the information you can access.

As an existing employee, you should have access to metrics that demonstrate your track record of success. When you speak to your manager, you should always emphasize these metrics and see how you’re tracking compared to other employees.

Additionally, if you can show that you have made steady progress or expanded the scope of your responsibilities in your existing role, you’ll be in a much stronger position to use evidence when negotiating your raise.

A much less effective approach would be to go in blind and ask for a raise simply because you did your job. When it comes to success with a raise, you need to have actionable evidence that directly points to your accomplishments, ideally in a numerical sense.

An Example of How to Negotiate a Raise

The anatomy of negotiating a raise might look something like this:

  • First, you need to schedule a meeting with your manager. Before this meeting, you should assemble a list of your accomplishments, new responsibilities, and any other quantitative data supporting your right to a raise.
  • Thank your manager for taking the time to speak with you. Clearly explain that the meeting is to discuss your performance and request a raise.
  • Point to the evidence you have available, whether that’s new accomplishments, employees who now directly report to you, or any other sources of achievement that stand out from the competition.
  • Then, ask for your desired salary increase. The exact percentage should depend on your company’s norms and any available market data.

Negotiating Salary Via Email

While face-to-face or phone conversations may allow for more dynamic interaction, email negotiations give you time to carefully consider your message and wording. Remember, basic negotiation strategies apply here, including doing your homework and market research.

An Example of How to Negotiate Salary via Email

Here’s how to approach a salary negotiation via email effectively:

  • Start with Gratitude and Enthusiasm: “Thank you so much for extending the offer for [Position Name] at [Company Name]. I am excited to bring my skills to your team and contribute to [specific project, goal, or company mission].”
  • Affirm Your Interest: “I am very enthusiastic about the prospect of working with [Company Name] and confident in my ability to bring value to the [specific department or project].”
  • Present Your Case: “Based on my [number] years of experience in [field/industry] and my contributions to [specific achievements or projects], as well as the going rate for similar positions in the [specific location/industry], I’ve done some research and would like to discuss the starting salary.”
  • Specify Your Request: “After careful consideration and research on the standard compensation for similar roles in [industry/location], I believe a base salary of [your salary request] would more accurately reflect the value I bring to the role and the current market standards.”
  • Show Flexibility: “I look forward to the opportunity to work at [Company Name] and am open to discussing this further. I understand the company’s constraints and goals as well, and I am confident we can reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.”
  • Propose Next Steps: “Would it be possible to schedule a call or meeting to discuss this further? I am available [provide a range of times you are available], and I look forward to continuing our conversation.”
  • Close with Appreciation: “Thank you for considering my request. I am very excited about the opportunity to join [Company Name] and look forward to possibly working together.”

Negotiating Salary Over the Phone

Unlike email, phone negotiations happen in real time, which means you need to be ready to think on your feet, listen actively, and articulate your case compellingly.

An Example of How to Negotiate Salary Over the Phone

  • Prepare Thoroughly: Assess your skills, experience, and achievements to understand your worth. Have a clear salary figure or range in mind that you believe fairly represents your value to the company.
  • Start Positively: “Thank you for offering me the [Position Name]. I’m really excited about the opportunity to contribute to [Company Name] and work with the team on [specific projects or goals].”
  • Express Intent: “I’ve had a chance to review the salary and benefits package, and I was hoping we could discuss the base salary further to reflect the value I believe I bring to the team.”
  • Present Your Case: “Given my years of experience in [industry/field] and my proven track record in [specific achievements], coupled with the market rates for similar roles in [location/industry], I was hoping we could explore a salary that’s more aligned with these factors.”
  • Listen & Respond: After presenting your case, give the employer a chance to respond. Listen actively to their points, showing that you value their perspective.
  • Negotiate Other Terms: If it becomes clear that the salary is not negotiable or the offer doesn’t meet your expectations, consider negotiating other aspects of the job offer, such as signing bonuses, performance bonuses, flexible work hours, vacation time, or professional development opportunities.
  • Show Flexibility: “I understand there are budgets and constraints to consider, and I’m open to discussing other ways we can make this work for both of us.”
  • Propose Next Steps: “Thank you for considering my request. Could we reconvene tomorrow after I’ve had time to think this through? I’m keen on joining [Company Name] and want to ensure we reach a fair agreement for both of us.”
  • Express Appreciation: “Thank you for taking the time to discuss this with me. I appreciate your openness and understanding and look forward to contributing to the team.”

Looking for a Career Change? Daley And Associates Can Help

Recruiting firms often fall short by ignoring personal connections with employers and employees. At Daley And Associates, we prioritize these relationships, using our expertise to tackle hard-to-fill roles for our clients. Our approach dismisses the outdated recruiter vs. hiring manager conflict, focusing instead on teamwork and expert insights. Leveraging data analytics and deep industry knowledge, we offer tailored advice to overcome sector-specific hurdles. We’re not just recruiters; we’re your partners in staffing across various fields like finance, IT, legal, and more. Ready for a real partnership? Contact us.

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