Salary Negotiations

Tips and Tricks

While job offers are often met with excitement by an applicant, this should not stop applicants from negotiating their salary and benefits. Quite often salary negotiations result in an increase in salary and/or benefits. Still, only 44% of U.S. employees surveyed said they negotiated their salary (source).  Why do so few U.S. employees negotiate?



“The employer will think I am greedy if I ask for more.”   This is not the case. In fact, over half of employers surveyed by CareerBuilder confirmed that they intentionally reduce salary on an offer to leave room for negotiations. 
“The hiring manager is already offering the best deal they can offer and it is pointless asking for more.” This is typically not the case. 84% of employeers surveyed stated that they expected applicants to negotiate after receiving an initial offer.
“The employer will rescind my offer if I ask for more money or better benefits.” 87% of employeers surveyed by said that they had never withdrawn an offer just because the applicant negotiated on salary and/or benefits. 

When do you Negotiate?

It is inapropriate to negotiate salary until an offer has been made, and that is typically the first time when salary is brought into the conversation by the employer. Some employers are beginning to bring salary up early on in the hiring process as a way to be upfront with applicants and also as a way to weed out applicants who expect more. Even if the employer brings the topic up early in the process, and even still if the job is posted with a salary or salary range, DO NOT NEGOTIATE until an offer is on the table. It can come off as presumptive if an applicant tries to negotiate early, and may turn off a potential employer. Important: If an employeer asks early on in the hiring process what salary you are seeking, do not suggest a figure. Instead, state that you are looking for a salary and benefits package that are competitive for the given industry and for someone with your skill sets and experience.

How to Prepare for a Successful Negotiation

 Do your research:  It is important to go into the negotiation with confidence. Look up online the industry standards for the job/industry being applied to and look for what other employees at the specific company with similar job titles are making. Lastly, have a thorough understanding of what the company is asking and how experiences and skills fit with the organization’s ideal candidate. Read the tips and resources below for how to prepare.

I. Researching industry standards

II. Researching company standards

III. Understanding what you bring to the table

How to figure out how much you are worth: Although websites like can be helpful in looking at what qualifications you bring to the table, more important here is a honest, introspective evaluation of yourself. Here is some advice for how to go about this evaluation.

  1. Think about the questions you were asked during your interview(s). Did they ask about a certain skill or experience that you did not have? Were they impressed when you mentioned a skill or experience you do have.
  2. Read over the job description again. Look at the required and desired qualifications. How many do you have of each? Additionally, read over the job description. Do you have experience doing some of the skills/responsibilities the description lists? What percentage?

Know what will and what will not work for you: The value of an employer’s offered salary and other benefits ties heavily with the living cost of where the job is located. Prior to negotiation, estimate the housing cost, transportation, food, bills, etc. associated with the area where the job is located. Any salary negotiation without this information will leave an applicant ill-prepared for the conversation and may cause an applicant to be unsatisfied once the position starts. It is also important to do this analysis when comparing job offers in different locations. NerdWallet and Homefair are two helpful places to estimate costs of living in different locations.

Salary Negotiation Do’s and Don’ts  



Emphasize your financial need, loans, and debts. INSTEAD, emphasize the value you would add to the organization and the skills and experience you bring to the table.
Hold firm at your target salary without being willing to compromise. INSTEAD, pay ayttention to what the negotiator is saying and work with them to find a compromise both parties are happy with.
Rely on a verbal acceptance of a negotiated offer. INSTEAD, state that the negotiated offer is suitable and that you would like to see it and accept it in writing. 
Get emotional during a negotiation or try to appeal to the negotiator’s emotions. INSTEAD, stay professional and calm during the negotiation process.

The following are the sources used to compile this page: