Salary Negotiation Tips (and Why It’s Important)

Salary negotiations are important – both when you’re first offered a job, and also during performance reviews . It can be an uncomfortable, often nerve-wracking conversation to bring up, and may make you uneasy, especially during a job interview.

But nonetheless, negotiating your salary and benefits package that meets your demands, and is on par with industry standards as well, is essential and extremely important.

From an employer’s perspective, salary negotiations are part of the game, and are completely acceptable, so you should never shy away from it. In fact most companies are willing to negotiate and expect it but most employees shy away from it.

Salary negotiations are important because:

  1. You should be paid what you’re worth.
  2. You should be paid an amount that is at par with industry standards and what others pay.
  3. You should be fairly compensated for the work that you’ve been asked to do and the responsibilities that you’ll be given.
  4. The higher your starting salary, the more your annual raises. This is very important, as it determines the number of all your future salaries and raises!
  5. All employers expect it, and may actually put forth an offer that is lower than what they might really be willing to put on the table in order to check whether the person sitting across the table counters or not.
  6. It may allow you to get additional perks and benefits. If you don’t get the base salary that you were looking for, you may be able to negotiate some perks and benefits into your salary package instead. Worth a shot.
  7. Having a job may mean that you’re on your way to starting your own, independent life, or perhaps even get married and start a family. In other words, expenses that you’ll need money to pay for.

The truth is that one should never shy away from negotiating their salary, or putting up a counter-offer, because chances of them walking away from a negotiation empty-handed are slim.

More money or perks can often times just be had simply by asking!

And asking for more money is doing your future-self a massive favor! The 2-year-down-the-road you will actually thank you for doing it.

Here are a few solid salary negotiations tips that you should take with you to the negotiations table in the future, whether you’re applying a for a new job or renegotiating with your current employer:

1. Avoid Bringing It Up Too Early

Or bringing it up yourself, for that matter. Any talk related to salary should ideally happen at the end of the interview, for instance, and should never be brought-up by you. Don’t rush, and avoid bringing-up anything money-related yourself. Unless perhaps you get to the end of the interview and you’re asked if you have any questions. Ideally, you should use the interview to establish your credentials, what you bring to the table for the employer and why you’re the right candidate for the position.

2. Do Your Research

Before entering into salary negotiations, make sure you know what a ‘fair salary’ for the position that you’re applying for would be. You should know how much you want, as well  as how much you should be getting, and then ask for more than that in order to leave a little room for negotiations. You can go use websites like GlassDoor and Salary.com in order to determine this, as well as consult family, friends on contacts that you may have in the the industry. Before entering that room, you should be armed with information such as the average salary offered by companies operating in the same industry, as well as the salary averages based on experience and education in your area.

3. Role-Play with Someone

Practice, as they say, makes perfect. If you feel you’ll be uncomfortable in a position where you’ll be required to negotiate your salary with someone in person, sit-down with someone you know and trust and role-play the exercise. Better yet, video yourself so that you can have a look at how you did, find your flaws and work on them.

4. Be Persistent and Firm

…but also polite. The employer may reject your request, but you shouldn’t really let this deter you. If you’re asked to justify your counter, and if you’ve done your homework, you won’t have any problem reasoning with the person sitting across the table. But avoid making any requests which you’re certain will be rejected, especially in this tough job-market.

5. Show Flexibility

If the company puts forth a non-negotiable salary offer, look at what other forms of compensation – such as perks, benefits, vacations, and/or other performance-based or non-monetary incentives – you can have included in the package. Ask them to compensate you for gas or transit costs, a better health insurance package, performance bonuses and so on. Perhaps something like extra vacation days per annum, a flexible working schedule, the ability to telecommute on certain days, or maybe even your own private office!

 6. Dress Up!

In order to win at the negotiations table – or anywhere in your professional life for that matter – you need to dress the part! As Barney Stinson from a popular TV show would say, this may require you to ‘suit up!’ A good attire with good shoes and a watch might help your cause greatly. In addition, make sure you look good as well: properly-done hair, trimmed nails and a good perfume are just a few ideas. Remember, you’re a salesman in that room, and in order to be able to sell yourself in there and set yourself apart from everyone else, you need to dress the part and act the part.