Although a few things in our lives are non-negotiable – like the soaring inflation rates and taxes – your salary package is, gladly, not among them.
However, it is natural to feel uncomfortable negotiating salary once your job search ends and you have the offer you’ve been eagerly waiting for. Perhaps this explains why 59% of US employees do not negotiate salaries.
I get it; maybe you fear jeopardizing the opportunity or lack the confidence to ask for what you want.
But leaving the money on the table isn’t wise. You should always consider negotiating your salary if you have a solid resume and the competence to contribute to the company.
Yes, it may feel intimidating, but following a few tried and tested tricks and tips below for how to negotiate salary can help you do so confidently.
Let’s dive in.
- How to Negotiate Salary
- How to Negotiate a Salary Over the Phone
- How to Negotiate a Benefits Package
- Why Should I Negotiate My Salary?
- What Is the Best Way to Communicate During a Negotiation?
- Salary Negotiation Strategies
- How Much More Should You Ask for When Negotiating a Salary?
- How to Determine Your Salary Range
- Salary Negotiation Facts
- Become Familiar With Industry Salary Trends
- Related Questions
- Key Takeaways
How to Negotiate Salary
Salary negotiation is daunting when you lack the experience to ask for one in the first place.
However, that shouldn’t stop you from negotiating. Avoid accepting a job offer that pays you less than what you deserve.
Here is how to negotiate a salary without much experience.
Talk About Your Strengths and Passion
New job seekers aren’t necessarily less beneficial to hiring companies. In fact, the passion factor can make them even more desirable.
My research has found that almost 80% of individuals who identify as passionate workers state that, even if they are not in their “dream role,” they are working for their “dream company.”
And Forbes has reported that work teams with high levels of engagement are over 20% more profitable for their employers.
Top Tip: Having a massive passion for your occupation is highly advantageous to both you and your employer or potential employer. The company might consider your salary offer based on your skills and passion regarding the job despite having little to no experience.
Be Confident and Use Positive Body Language
Where all else fails, confidence wins. Maintaining a calm, confident tone can take you a long way.
Portraying a positive, confident demeanor during an interview can help you seal the deal.
The experts at Biospace.com believe that using positive body language can make you come across as more likable, competent, and deserving.
- Keeping your posture tall and your head up
- Making eye contact, and smiling
- If you feel yourself getting tense or overwhelmed, take a deep breath and try to relax your shoulders
Top Tip: Just be careful not to undersell yourself by using phrases such as “I think I could be worth” or “I’m not sure what my worth is but.” This puts the power in the employer’s hands and could result in them lowballing you. Instead, use affirmative statements such as “I know my worth is” or “I am confident I bring value to the table.”
How to Negotiate a Salary Over the Phone
Introverts feel more comfortable negotiating over a phone call. It relieves any nerves they may have about meeting the employer.
Once you plan to do the task over a call, consider the following tips.
- Find a place without distractions. Setting up a space where you feel comfortable and relaxed is crucial to staying confident during the call.
- Keep a few notes handy for a boost during the conversation. This will help ease your nerves and allow you to stay calm.
It isn’t possible to predict the conversation you’ll have with your employer or hiring manager. However, there’s a general way to kick-start salary negotiations.
If the interviewer doesn’t take the lead, here’s an example of what you can say:
“Thank you for taking time out. I wanted to discuss the salary range included in the job offer. Given the compensation for someone in a similar position, the latest market research, and my experience, I was expecting around (mention the desired salary range). Is it possible for you to reconsider my compensation package?”
Make sure you’re honest and confident. Plus, avoid over-asking. Doing otherwise might offend the employer.
How to Negotiate a Benefits Package
Negotiating a benefits package is yet another skill to have in your arsenal of job interview dialogue.
Whether you have increasing stock options or the possibility to work from the comfort of your home, talk about the desired requirements with your employer.
Here’s a quick example of what you can say during salary negotiations or asking for a benefits package.
“Although I’m satisfied with my base salary, commuting to the office regularly from home is my only concern.
I’m situated XYZ miles away from the office. So, working from home two days a week would help me overcome the commuting issue. I believe it won’t cost the company anything, as I’ll be as productive at home as I’m on-site.
It’ll also allow me to save the money I spend on transportation. I’m sure you can help me regarding this.”
Although hiring managers are at the forefront of the conversation, they aren’t always directly responsible for implementing the changes you ask for.
They might need to communicate the benefits package with HR teams. Therefore, it’s important to be patient and understanding if they ask for some time to consider your offer.
Why Should I Negotiate My Salary?
You should always consider negotiating for a higher salary because a better salary equals a better raise down the line. Plus, starting at the desired pay can help motivate you to put your all into the new role.
Say you make $40,000 annually and get a 5% raise yearly; you’ll make 48,620 after 5 years. However, if you’d negotiate your starting salary up to $45,000, you’d be making $54,000 after 5 years.
So, the same job title can make you a lot more money if you consider negotiating your starting salary.
Likewise, negotiation lets you start on the right foot. When you feel comfortable with what you’re paid, you are more likely to contribute to the company and utilize your skills to the maximum when working for a specific role.
Conversely, putting your heart and soul into something you aren’t satisfied with will always be challenging.
What Is the Best Way to Communicate During a Negotiation?
A typical, bland, informal communication method doesn’t work during a salary negotiation. You must play smart and demonstrate professionalism when negotiating with a new hiring manager or asking for a raise at the current company.
Whether you’re doing it in person or on a Zoom call, here are a few salary negotiation tips to help you.
Words and Phrases to Use in Different Situations
It’s impossible to predict what may happen during a salary conversation. However, having a script in mind is always good to avoid uncertainty and nervousness.
My research finds that certain words work better than others in interviews, including:
You should also consider these phrases in case you feel stuck or your thoughts go off-course.
- “I’m looking forward to joining the team and getting to know them better.” This shows your enthusiasm and excitement for joining the company. A few lines regarding work and the organization’s value can also do the job. It demonstrates you aren’t merely interested in the compensation package but rather excited about the role.
- “Considering my experience and background in the industry, I’d be happy to have (mention your desired range)” Avoid talking about the skyrocketing inflation since that isn’t a convincing enough reason to encourage a pay raise. After all, every other employee is experiencing it. So, instead, talk about the value you can bring to the table and how it justifies the desired range.
- “I have been keeping up with the pay reviews for the last 3 years. So, based on the industry trends and average salaries, I’d prefer a raise to (the amount). Say this when the hiring manager asks why you want a salary raise. Backing your expected salary with research and statistics is an impressive way to let them know you have industry knowledge and are a passionate candidate.
- “Thank you for your offer. However, I’d be happier to accept the position if you can move to (mention the salary). This phrase will come in handy once they counteroffer your salary that doesn’t meet your expectations.
Practice Your Delivery
The idea of practicing the delivery might seem a bit unnecessary. However, if you’ve ever spoken in front of an audience, you’ll know that practicing what you’re going to say repeatedly before hitting the stage can help you nail your delivery.
So, why not practice something that might help you get better pay?
Ask a trusted friend or mentor to practice the conversation with you. Ideally, this should be someone from the corporate world.
Business savvy people know the drill of staying confident when negotiating salary and the unpleasant situations that may arise during the negotiation process.
This helps you build confidence and practice answers to unexpected questions.
Salary Negotiation Strategies
Everybody can negotiate a salary as long as they are confident (although winning the negotiation isn’t always a guarantee)
The key is to do it “the right way.”
Undeniably, some work happens when you’re inside the interview room. However, much of it goes into the preparation you’ll do before entering one.
- By gathering market data, you can save yourself the embarrassment of asking for a salary that doesn’t align with the industry trends.
- Check reliable online resources for a specific job field and find what the market currently offers. Also, look at the average salaries for your particular title to get a better idea.
- Most job seekers back their negotiation with recent industry insights to sound authentic and reasonable.
All of this helps demonstrate your professionalism and willingness to join the role.
Top Tip: non-professional and unmotivated applicants will do minimum research about the market before their interview. Put in the preparation to have an edge over them.
Factor in Your Previous Experience
Any role you’ve previously held in any company adds to your skill, experience, and expertise. So, overlooking your prior experience isn’t wise. Focus on your past accomplishments and how they can add value to the company.
The more reasons you have to justify better pay, the higher the chance of getting one.
Top Tip: Mention the strengths that make you stand out from the crowd. Talk about your extensive experience and desirable abilities. This doesn’t necessarily mean boasting about yourself but rather, explaining how you can upgrade the company through your expertise.
Factor in Perks and Benefits
Don’t negotiate only for the sake of negotiating the salary. If the employer doesn’t offer you the desired salary range, take the conversation in a new direction by discussing what you hope to gain from the job.
- Flexible hours
- Extra vacation days
- Work-from-home schedule
- Hybrid work schedule
- Health insurance coverage
- Retirement saving plans
- Non-cash payouts like stock compensation
Each company has a few perks it can offer to its competent employees. Make sure you dig in a few and see what the company can offer you, given your vast experience.
Talk About Job-Related Expenses
Talking about job-related expenses is another tactic to play on emotions. Let your prospective employer know what it’ll take you to join their company.
Hypothetically speaking, say the job you’ve been offered is in another city. So, you’ll likely be relocating, which means an additional change of residency costs.
Similarly, taking a role miles away from your home will cost you commuting expenses.
Feel free to discuss the expenses related to the position. This might help convince the hiring manager or employer to offer you better pay.
Timing Is Everything
If your negotiating timing is wrong, nothing will go right.
While scheduling a timely meeting is one thing, knowing when
- If you wait till the performance review season to ask for a salary raise, you’re already too late. It’s because your employer has already decided about the salary raises for each team member.
- Likewise, negotiating a salary after the hiring process would bring disappointment. The right time is when you’re at the table, communicating regarding the salary offer with your hiring manager.
- Pitching your salary expectations just before a high revenue Q4 rather than a quiet Q1 is also a great idea.
Top Tip: If you’ve decided on a date, try to keep negotiations to the earlier part of the morning. This is because research has shown that it’s usually better to negotiate early in the morning – when people are least likely to be stressed by the rigors of the workday.
Ask For More Than What You Want
According to Nightingale.com, a lot of psychological science goes into why you should always ask for more than you want. Employers feel they’re getting a better deal when you are willing to start below what you wanted previously.
Do not hesitate to ask for a little more initially. The worst that can happen during negotiation is that the hiring manager will counteroffer; it’s still better than returning with nothing.
How Much More Should You Ask for When Negotiating a Salary?
Your target number should always be more than the initial salary offer. However, it shouldn’t be unreasonably higher than the original salary. Ideally, go for a 10-20% salary raise.
As stated earlier, most employers expect you to negotiate. This means the money is already on the table; you only need to ask for it.
However, doing so bluntly might turn things against you. Keep the following salary negotiation tips in mind.
Never Sell Yourself Short
Talking about your accomplishments is crucial during salary negotiations. Let the company know how you’ve provided value to past companies during your career and how your skills can add to their company’s growth.
For instance, if you created a process that saved the company money and time, you must highlight it.
Ideally, talk about your skills when answering, “Why should I consider you for this position?” during the interview.
Trust me; no one will believe your worth if you don’t believe it yourself. So, be confident about what you say.
However, you must have an expected salary range in your mind. Otherwise, the employers will offer their own.
How to Determine Your Salary Range
- Think about the low point. How much is required to make both ends meet, and you’d accept if there weren’t a better alternative?
- Think about the midpoint. Conduct thorough research and see how much other people in your position make.
- Think about the high point. This is your desired salary – a number that’ll make you feel you got a raise before even working with the company.
Define the salary range between the low, mid, and high points and use it for a successful negotiation with your employer.
Reach Out to Recruiters and Headhunters
Some employers you’ll be negotiating with won’t tell much about the salary range, and for obvious reasons – they’ve got competition.
However, reaching out to recruiters and headhunters and asking them about the expected salary for a role can give you an idea of the realistic salary range and help you make a reasonable offer.
Research How Much Your Job Pays in Other Companies via Apps
A few employers might keep the salary confidential. However, you can use apps like Glassdoor or Indeed to learn about the average salary.
Additionally, several job openings on LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Adzuna display salary estimates and Glassdoor has a very useful Salary Calculator.
Top Tip: Go through the job descriptions on these apps and find how much your position can pay you before you apply for a new job.
Salary Negotiation Facts
When Googling for tips on negotiating a salary, you may feel like you’re the only one concerned about it. However, a quick look into Google Trends tells otherwise.
The search volume of the keyword “How to Negotiate Salary?” has spiked in the past few months, with some regions even hitting Google’s maximum peak popularity value of 100 in February 2022!
Here are a few more exciting salary negotiation facts that you might find surprising.
- A CNBC report highlights that 85% of Americans negotiating salaries are successful. The professionals countered on multiple things, from salary to benefits or compensation. However, they acquired at least some of what they asked for.
- Another survey reveals that only 39% of Americans tried negotiating the salary with the last job offer in 2018.
- Men are more likely to negotiate salaries than women. Data shows that 46% of men report negotiating for better salaries, as opposed to 34% of women.
- Data shows that an average US employee could make 13.3% more annually than their current yearly base salary if they consider negotiating a salary.
- Most people feel they should not negotiate, but companies actually expect you to negotiate salaries. Negotiation between a hiring manager and an employee allows both parties to be more open and transparent about their expectations, which benefits the company in the long run.
- Men are 3 times more likely to be successful when negotiating for a higher salary than women.
Become Familiar With Industry Salary Trends
Understanding the salary trends of different industries can be a useful tool in your arsenal for your next job interview. It helps you determine how you should go about negotiating a salary in the industry you work in.
In other words, you cannot expect high pay when the industry you’re working in encountered a downtrend in terms of wages in the past years. Likewise, knowing your industry’s worth might enable you to negotiate a higher salary.
- Reviews from the Labor Department and ADP Research show that US wages have surged. Fierce industry competition to retain employers is a primary reason behind that.
- Although all industries underwent wage growth, private sectors were more likely to experience the effect. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals that salary compensations rose 5.2% for 12 months till September 2022. This increase was 4.6% more than the previous year.
- Another report shows that men in admin departments have low salary negotiation rates. On the other hand, men in business development and women in product development experienced higher negotiation rates – 65% and 64%, respectively.
- People who switched jobs while working in the IT industry experienced a 12.2% wage growth. On the other hand, wages for new employers in the construction industry rose by 4.7%.
- The same report shows that pay for new hires and those who held onto their jobs in the leisure and hospitality industry rose by 4.5% and 6.7%, respectively.
- A new survey highlights that salary budgets in America are forecasted to increase by 4% in 2023.
How Does Negotiating Salary Work After Offer?
Evaluating what you can offer to the company, researching the market average, preparing your talking points, and rehearsing with a mentor can help you negotiate your salary after the job offer.
A report published by PR Newswire highlights that an incredible nine in 10 employees are open to negotiating after the offer has been made. This implies you aren’t doing something out of the norm but rather doing something quite natural.
Ideally, ask for the top of your range and be ready to accept less than the initial offer you made. The outcome likely turns in your favor when the employer feels they’re getting a fair deal while hiring talent like you.
How Much Higher Can You Negotiate Salary?
Consider negotiating between 10-20% above the original job offer.
Yes, you may have higher salary expectations, but giving an unexpectedly high number would seem unreasonable. Don’t speak from the heart; speak from facts. Do industry research and mention a number slightly above the original salary offer.
Are Salary Negotiations Challenging?
Salary negotiations are challenging because everyone hesitates to discuss money with their current or prospective employer.
If negotiating a salary would have been easy, everybody would do so to meet their salary expectations. However, most people end up accepting the offer or hesitate to ask for a raise even if they deserve it.
You can always overcome the fear and make it less challenging by practicing the negotiation conversation with your friend or a mentor. Alternatively, go for a phone call or email if negotiating face-to-face intimidates you.
- Overlooking salary negotiations simply because you’re afraid or hesitant can be one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an employee.
- Doing a little work can help you land a better-paying job and give you better raises down the road.
- Make sure you conduct a thorough job search and determine what you deserve based on your skills, experience, and current market value.
Be upfront about your expectations but do so politely. Lastly, be willing to walk away if the salary offer isn’t justified – if you’re talented enough, more opportunities will knock on your door.
After all, for every unemployed person in America right now there are almost two job opportunities.
The labor Gods and labor market are very much in your favor at the moment.
Best of luck!