by Mansi Gandhi

At The Job Forum, we frequently hear from job hunters or new hires dread the thought of negotiating salary. You don’t want to jeopardize the opportunity now that you’ve gotten this far. And some job seekers are even more likely to feel this way nowadays than they did before COVID-19 hit.

Salary negotiations can be tough and nerve wracking, and yet when you have a successful discussion, it sends at least two positive messages to your potential company or boss. The first is that you have plans to stick around at the company for a while, which is a good sign to any leader. The second is that you’re someone who is focused on the value of the work you do and  everybody can respect that directness and negotiation prowess.

Job seekers often regret not negotiating their salaries. And this is a common mistake made after being offered a job. 

However, what many job seekers are not aware of is the fact that most companies actually create some negotiation room for the compensation and benefits that they provide.

When an employer extends a job offer, if you don’t feel the pay aligns with your education, career level, skill set and experience, you may choose to negotiate for more money. 

Knowing how to negotiate salary offers is a valuable skill that can help ensure you’re fairly compensated for the work you do. However, like any skill, it takes preparation and practice to do well.  Here we cover tips to confidently negotiate your salary and get a better offer:

1. Conduct market research

Perform a search as a form of market research ahead of time to know the approximate salary for someone with your experience, education and skills. ( check out or or or the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook) 

2. State your salary as per your worth

While negotiating salary with your potential employer, tell them what your values are, let them know what you are bringing to the table and how much your presence in the company will add to the company’s value. Let the company know that compensation is important to you because it is symbolic of the partnership you want to have with the company and you plan to be a real contributor. 

3. Calculate your total compensation package

Base salary is only one component of the compensation equation . During salary negotiation, one should consider other benefits like stock options, parental leave, remote work, a day off, periodic early closing hours, commissions or bonuses, training, vacations and so on and let those benefits help you decide your ‘offer’.

4. Request to go think about it

A lot of candidates make the mistake of making the decisions hastily, and regret it later. So, instead of making this mistake that you will regret later, ask for a day or two to think about the offer, this will give you sufficient time to evaluate from all angles and make a better decision.

5. Informational Interviews

Informational interviews are essential to help you find out more about the type of industry, company, role you’re interested in, cultural fit and it is also a great place to casually ask about salary and overall compensation range one can expect.

6. Don’t bring up your salary

If you throw out the first number, you might be negotiating against yourself, since it is possible the employer would be willing to make a higher salary offer than what you propose. If the employer directly asks how much money you would like to make, respond by asking what the budget for the role is. In all instances, wait for the employer to say a number first. If the number is lower than what you expected,  you can always make a counter offer.

7. Make all of your requests at once when negotiating

Don’t make the mistake of negotiating each benefit individually so that you are constantly requesting new terms.

If you are going to ask for several adjustments to the offer, divide your requests into hard and soft categories, salary negotiation experts say. Anything related to pay, bonuses and stock options should be negotiated together, as part of your hard requests. Once you have reached an agreement on those, move on to the softer requests like vacation time, flexible work and job title.

Asking these questions will also help during salary negotiations for a new or current job:

  • “Can I negotiate this offer?” 
  • “Besides the base pay, what other benefits are negotiable?” 
  • “How did you calculate this number?” 
  • “What’s the outlook for salary raises or promotions?”
  • “What metrics do you use to evaluate the success of employees?”
  • “Can I get the salary offer in writing?” 

It is every new hire’s right to discuss and negotiate salary. You just need the right steps to be successful at it. A salary negotiation shouldn’t be scary – but only a challenge for great compensation. By using the above tips to negotiate your salary, you can walk into the conversation confident, prepared and ready to secure the pay you deserve.

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