How to Negotiate Salary: Easiest Way Explained (+ Examples)

a picture of business person and how to negotiate salary

Learning the proper ways of how to negotiate salary can be a significant step toward more salary. An increase in overall compensation. And more happiness at work for many job seekers. A job seeker who receives a job offer lower than they expected. And chooses not to negotiate their salary often leaves their positions earlier than expected. For the hiring manager, employer, and job candidate, this is an outcome neither wanted.

Negotiating salary is a good skill to gain for both yourself and your employer. If a small marginal difference in starting salary means you’re happier at work, your employer will appreciate that you asked. But for a candidate, it can be hard to determine what compensation you should be asking for.

Before You Begin Negotiating

Before you start the negotiation process, it’s important to perform research. Using tools like Salary.com and PayScale.com, you can quickly determine the average salary or median salaries for your job title and geographic location. This can be helpful in understanding where your salary range should be. This isn’t always the case for all jobs, especially those with a significant track record in driving results.

Knowing the average salary ranges for your job title can give you an idea of what you should expect to ask for. Or whether your potential employer is giving you a low offer or a high offer.

And if you’re using average salary data to determine what salary you should expect from a new job. Always go toward the upper end of the average range. Asking for a higher salary is always a better idea. Since you can drop it lower if the employer isn’t receptive to the initial offer.

Or if you’re using your salary history or previous salary to determine your new pay, an easy trick is to give yourself a raise. Add an 8% salary increase to your previous salary. Or base salary from your current employer, and that number is what you should be asking for.

Where Negotiations Take Place

Now that you have a general number in mind to ask for or expect. It’s important to consider the places where salary discussion can occur. This will change your salary negotiation methods and techniques.

In general, your salary negotiation may happen during or after:

  • A phone interview where the interviewer asks about your salary expectation.
  • During an in person interview where the interviewer asks about salary.
  • After your in person interview. When you receive a job offer with full compensation details (like signing bonus, stock compensation, healthcare, dental care, eye care, and more).

The time and place your salary negotiation takes place will help determine how you negotiate politely and what methods to use. Using varying methods based on the time and place you discuss salary can lead to a higher chance of salary negotiation success.

Tip: A gender pay gap can be eliminated by simply being mindful of your situation. For example, women negotiating their salaries often ask for lower compensation when their representatives are men. If you’re speaking with a male, be sure that you ask for a higher salary than you might expect. So the employer can lower it and you can decide whether you’re comfortable with that outcome.

Salary Negotiation During a Phone Interview

If your employer asks you about your salary expectations in your phone interview, it’s important to have a range in mind. Since this is acting as an initial salary offer. But not a strict job offer. It’s okay to provide a range of salary you would be expecting in this place and time.

The reason for this is that you want to move forward in the interview process. And determine the appropriate exact salary amount at a later date.

Here’s what you would say in your phone interview:

I’m glad you asked me about my desired salary. Looking at the median average salary for this position across the US. I would be expecting somewhere in the $85,000 to $90,000 range. Though if we were to continue moving forward in the interview process, I would have a specific number for you.

The interviewer will ask a question to prompt this response. Something like, “What is your salary expectation or salary requirement for this position?” From here, your employer will either inform you of the compensation package they are offering for the role. If it fits within your range, you’ll move forward. If it does not, the hiring manager or recruiter will inform you on the spot.

Salary Negotiation During an In Person Interview

An employer might ask about salary during an in-person interview. Then you would answer similar to the way you would answer during a phone interview. But since you’re in person, you should alter your presentation slightly. Let’s say you have a strong resume with a long history of career accomplishments that speak to your abilities to succeed in the role. Here is what you would say:

The average salary for this position is roughly $80,000 to $90,000. I have a long history of driving success in this position. And I am a senior hire because of that. I’m adding 8% to my current salary to make a total of $94,500 to ask for in salary. Let me know if that is feasible.

Salary Negotiation in a Job Offer

When receiving a job offer, this is the hardest place to talk about salary. Mostly because the salary has already been discussed without you present. The HR department and hiring manager have chosen this salary range based on your job interview and the other job applicants. It is much easier to negotiate salary earlier in the interview process.

Or if you receive an offer with a lower salary than you were expecting. You should send the email to your hiring manager and say the following:

Sarah —

I’m truly honored to receive your offer, and I want to know how humbled I am. Regarding salary and compensation, is it possible to bump the base salary up by 8%? This would align more with my initial expectations going into this role and make sure I’m set up for success.

Thank you so much, Sarah.
Patrick

A percentage increase

Asking for a percentage increase is the best method for negotiating your salary package and compensation package. Your employer might come back and allude to the employee benefits you would receive. If that changes your mind, then you should accept the offer. And if it does not, you should reply and say that you would still prefer to focus on base salary.

Or if you have multiple job offers. And you would like to use this as a tactic for salary negotiation. A method that is not advised by a career coach or other career professionals. You should say the following:

Ian —

I’m truly honored to receive your offer, and I want to know how humbled I am. While this is the company I really want to be at, I have another offer with a better salary. I would love to find some middle ground, though. Is there any chance of bumping up the base salary by 4%?

Thank you so much, Ian.
Patrick

Using a competing offer for another better offer is not recommended since your hiring manager will not appreciate that as much. It doesn't feel very nice. It is better to leave the other offer off the table and ask for more compensation. Then choose which offer you prefer the most.

How to Negotiate Salary and Negotiation Tips

  • Always make the initial offer. Providing either a range of salary or the exact salary you want will be easier for the employer to respond.
  • Always mention your salary expectations early in the interview process so the negotiations are easier. This makes for a longer history of your expectations being set from the beginning of the discussion.
  • Keep your salary negotiations simple; ask for more money. Don’t complicate it by mentioning your skills or by describing too much of your reasoning for your ask.
  • Don’t strong-arm your employer and be aggressive or mean. Salary negotiations need to be polite and friendly.
  • If you ask for more salary. And your employer says they cannot offer it. Be okay with moving on and telling your employer that you’ll need to withdraw from the interview process.
  • Don’t stress yourself out over compensation discussions. Asking for a percentage increase in salary is the best way to negotiate. And it will make your life less stressful when you inform your employer how you landed on that number.
  • Negotiating by email is easier than in person or by phone. Always move to email when you can.
  • Always ask for more than what you want so that way your employer can lower it and you can find a happy medium.
  • Mentioning your current salary is okay. But be sure to allude to what you expect to do in the position and how excited you are about the opportunity.
  • Be confident when you discuss salary. Find your own best methods for feeling confident and comfortable. Whether it's wearing nice clothes or listening to a song before you speak.
  • Talk to other professionals in the same job title and relative experience. And see if you feel you are asking too much or too little for salary.

Job Seeker FAQ

Questions regarding salary and compensation

Can you lose a job offer by negotiating a salary?

It's uncommon for an employer to take back their job offer when you ask for more salary. It is more common for them to deny your request for additional compensation.

How much can you negotiate your salary?

In terms of percentages, your potential employer will never go over 12% of what the initial offer was. And if your expectations are higher than 12% of the upper end of the salary range. You should move onto another company and interview process.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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