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Salary Negotiation Guide

Updated on Aug 01, 2019 19972 views
Salary Negotiation Guide

Do you know that only 39% of employees negotiates their salary when considering a job offer?

Choosing not to negotiate your salary can hurt you in the long run. That is why it is important that you read our salary negotation guide.

What is Salary Negotiation?

Salary Negotiation is simply the process of reaching a compromise or an agreement on terms and conditions (including pay, income, earnings, commission, salary, wages, wage remuneration, annual review, or salary raise) of employment between the employer and the employee, this usually occurs when a potential employee interviews for a new position, start a new job, asks for a raise, discusses a job offer or seeks greener pastures.

Salary negotiation occurs throughout one’s career, as much as new opportunities present themselves, i.e. one might change jobs from time to time but the salary negotiation is still the same process.

It is germane to mention that most people are sceptical about this process, believing that it might make them lose the job opportunity, paint them as a gold digger or even be an unsuccessful operation which might lead to embarrassment. The fear is understandable and that is why it is important to note and understand the processes involved in salary negotiation to ensure a successful operation or negotiation.

It is also noteworthy to mention that when negotiating your salary, it is best to avoid mentioning your former salary, this is difficult but it is not impossible, it will grant you the opportunity to negotiate the highest salary possible. In place of this, it is best to put emphasis on the value, skills and experience that you will be adding and bringing to the company. Another important thing to do before negotiating your salary is to set a minimum acceptable wage so that you don’t lose out on both sides, that is, a number that if the company meets or exceeds, you can accept the job offer knowing full well that you are being justifiably paid for the value you offer or the duties you will be performing, even if the company rejects the number, you can walk away knowing full well that you took the right step. In essence, setting your minimum acceptable salary before getting and accepting the job offer helps you to evaluate the final result of the negotiation objectively, thereby making the best decision as to whether to accept the job or not.


What to know before and when Negotiating Your Salary

There are few things an individual needs to do before salary negotiations begin; some have been highlighted in the overview but more emphasis will be laid on them here also.

  1. Before any negotiation begins with a prospective employer, detailed and informed research must be carried out on how much the job is worth in the marketplace, and the value of your skills and experience to the employer, i.e. how germane is your skills and experience to the need of the company, to put it bluntly, how bad does your prospective employee need you. Taking time to research salaries before discussing terms and conditions will better prepare you to present your expected salary and get a job offer that is logical and rational.
  2. Once the research is done, the next virtue to ensure a successful salary negotiation is to be patient. As much as an individual desire to be paid the worth of his or her value, it can be disastrous to jump headlong into salary negotiation, such individual should avoid discussing salary and packages until it is brought up by the prospective employer.
  3. Avoid been the first person to mention a number, if one is asked what one’s expectations are, one can mention that they are open based on the position, packages and the overall terms and conditions, one thing to ensure is that one must know about duties and the challenges that come with the job before discussing or negotiating salary.
  4. Bid your time: Once the offer has pulled through, one must not be in a hurry to accept nor reject the offer right away; bidding one’s time can snag one an increase in the initial offer.
  5. Let your research do the talking: If need be to mention a number, give a salary range based upon the research that has been conducted, using it to influence one’s negotiating technique, build up the negotiation by outlining the appropriate salary for the duty(ies) the individual will be performing, one’s experiences and one’s skills that will inherently add value to the company and make it more productive and efficient in service delivery.
  6. If the terms and conditions with the packages or lack of it does not suit an individual or sit well with one based on one’s past experiences and level of skill, one must consider rejecting the offer, this can also bring a better offer if the company realizes the potential of losing more than gaining by letting the person go. At this point, one must tread with caution, if the job is needed; one must hesitate or give it thorough consideration before declining as the employer might take the rejection at face value and move on to the next candidate.

Note: some companies might not offer a negotiable salary but the benefits and packages might be attractive and even up to negotiation or increase, this must also be taken into consideration when determining whether to accept a job offer or not.


3 Crucial Reasons Why You Should Always Negotiate Your Pay

Failure to negotiate one's salary can seriously impact one’s earning potential, seeing that subsequent raises and salary offers tend to be based on the previous salary thereby creating a more compounding effect, in essence, one might lose more than $500,000 over the passage of one’s entire career. A study found out that the average American could be earning about $7,500 more per annum than their present salary. Therefore, it is advisable to always negotiate one’s salary. Besides this, there are additional reasons why you should definitely negotiate your salary

  1. Most offers are flexible: in most cases than not, the (potential) employers have anticipated the possibility of salary negotiation and the salary they offer reflects that. According to a quote by Tammy Perkins, Chief People Officer of Fjuri, “In today’s job market, most recruiters expect that the candidate will make a counteroffer and typically leave room for negotiation on base pay or various incentives.” Also, employers, most times set a salary range for a given position, for example, an oil company may budget #350,000 - #450,000 for a sales marketing position. They’ll offer a salary that is attractive enough to bring in talented candidates but they will always want to save money where they can, therefore, using the case study above, the company might decide to offer #400,000 knowing that if the potential employee negotiates for a higher salary, they can afford to offer an additional #50,000 still staying within their budget and if the potential employee fails to negotiate, they have saved #50,000. Therefore, this helps to portray the essence of negotiation.
  2. Getting a Raise might prove difficult: many people justify their non-negotiation by saying that they can always ask for a raise when performance review comes around but in most cases, this is not the given situation unless such an individual has been explicitly told otherwise from the start/interview. Assuming that a raise is assured is not best for an individual based on many reasons; most likely, most of the companies will not be able to offer a raise in one-two years if they are struggling financially or if they have policies guiding the number of years to be spent in the company before being afforded a raise, therefore, it is advisable to make the best of any negotiation opportunity presented to one, not knowing when such opportunity will arise again.
  3. The Worst situation is to get a “No”: The “No” is not rescinding the job offer but rejecting the proposed offer by the potential employee and maintaining the initial salary offer, in most cases, due to the fact that the employer must have invested significant time and resources into recruiting the individual, therefore, the company cannot rescind the job offer based on salary negotiation considering that it is added work for them as the recruitment progress will have to start all over again. In essence, offers are rarely rescinded and in cases that they are, it most likely is not because a negotiation was made but most likely because of how it was made, this is backed up by a quote from Marielle Smith, Vice President of People at GoodHire which says, “Offers are rarely rescinded — and if they are, it’s most likely because the candidate handled the negotiation poorly and displayed behavior that wasn’t aligned with the company’s core values,” 


How to Negotiate Salary During the Interview or After a Job Offer

Pretty much the same rule applies for negotiating one’s salary in the interview room or after the job offer has been made, one thing that must be in order though is getting one’s facts right and that is by doing a well-informed research as noted in the overview which will contain (but not limited to) learning a logical salary range to ask for and the price of one’s value in the market for one’s chosen field. Other things to consider are;

  1. Don’t underestimate yourself: this is one important reason to conduct thorough research before an interview or accepting a job offer, when an individual knows his/her worth, such individual will not sell him/herself short, if such a person is leaving a job for another, such might want to consider getting a salary better than the previous job and if the previous job as some perks and benefits like health insurance, one might want to also add this in negotiation for the new job.
  2. Go for a salary range, not a single figure: when asked for one’s salary requirements either during the interview or after a job offer, it is best to mention or offer a salary range which will be informed by what others in the same field are earning rather than a single fixed number, this helps to negotiate and compromise – if need be- more easily without feeling restricted or reluctant in agreeing to the stated salary.
  3. Be Prepared: Salary negotiation should be one of the issues that a prospective employee has thrashed out mentally even before going for an interview; research must have been conducted, potential or likely questions asked and suitable answers given,  to this point, it is best to pitch one’s proposal to someone, favorably, a Human Resource Person, this is to help such an individual envision possible scenarios and questions or counter-statements, it will also make such an individual feel relaxed and well-prepared. In preparing one’s pitch, however, one must be careful not to sound demanding or over-confident, one must strive towards being polite, steady and gracious. No matter what the final result may be, one must portray an aura of considerate, appreciative and grateful for the opportunity. Such an individual must also be confident in what he/she has prepared; when such a person is not uncertain and shaky, it also helps to tilt the odds in one’s favour.


10 Important Things to Say When Negotiating Salary

It is very helpful to ask the following questions in order to ensure clarity and to also be sure that both the employer and the (potential) employee are on the same page.

  1. “May I please have the job description?” knowing what the job entails and what the company expects from one helps to inform the salary negotiation process; such a person will know if he/she is likely to be underpaid as regards the roles/duties outlined and if to ask for more. It also helps the individual verify that the same duties outlined in the interview remain the same and if such an individual is capable of doing it.
  2. “Can I negotiate this offer?” You want to be sure that there is room for negotiation before you pitch your proposal and start the negotiation process.
  3. “Besides the initial offer, are there other benefits and are they negotiable?” You also want to be sure that there are benefits attached to the job offer (if they are any) like health insurance, paid leaves, vacations, training and education fees, etc. this makes the employer know that one is interested in details of bonuses, remunerations, stock options and their likes, it generates questions about other opportunities and helps an individual know more about other packages offered by the company.
  4. “What is the measuring yard or scale for the effectiveness and success of employees?” this is a good follow-up question and it is one which will come in handy when an individual gets an opportunity in the career future to negotiate for a raise.
  5. “What is the structure for future salary raise and promotions?” it is very important to know if the company has any written rule guiding raises and promotion, it can also help the potential employee make an informed decision about whether to accept the offer or not.
  6. “Can I get the offer in written form?” this may sound tardy but it is very important, never accept a job offer on word of mouth only as it can be rescinded and cannot be challenged, it is best that the offer of job with terms and conditions applied to be put in written form and appropriate signature(s) appended on it with both the employer and employee having a copy each.
  7. “When will you like me to start?” this seemingly inconsequential question is very germane for those leaving a job for another, the way such is handled speaks volumes as the new company may take it as a bad sign of how they will also be treated if such an individual gets a better offer, it is best to give the old company a sufficing notice (preferably 1-2 months’ notice) and tie up loose ends before starting in the new company, it is best to leave with one’s credibility intact.
  8. “When would you like an answer?” it is best not to give an answer on the spot as this might portray one as desperate and over-eager and it might send the wrong signals of accepting based on the dire need for a job rather than the desire to add value to the company. In the same vein, one doesn’t want to take forever in replying so that one doesn’t lose the opportunity, that is why it is germane to ask when the company expects an answer and for such to have a timeline to work with.
  9. “Is there any religious connotations to your company?” again, this seems inconsequential but it is very important in order to save time and energy as some companies favour a religious affiliation more than others, this is to help such an individual know what to expect and if such an individual can cope.
  10. “Is there any peculiarity to the dress code?” Same concerns stated above applies to the conduct and behaviours expected of employees in regards to the mode of dressing; for example, some companies are strictly shirts and pants while some don’t favour pants at all why some are not particular about the way their employees dress, in as much as it is official and not casual. This also helps one to make an informed decision on whether to accept the job offer or not.


When Should You Consider Negotiating Your Salary?

As this article has expanded upon, it is best to negotiate one’s salary during the interview process or after the job has been offered, however, if such opportunity is not maximized or does not avail itself, one should also target negotiation of salaries when appraisals of employees’ performance are being conducted. Also, salary negotiation should be considered when an individual is moving from an old job to a new job or when the value of the particular field increases in the marketplace.


How to Negotiate Salary Email Script Template

Salary negotiation can happen either in person, via phone or through an email. If it is not in person, then it is usually better to negotiate your salary through an email as this prevent you from getting nervous. However, the content and context of your email can be a major factor when it comes to a successful negotiation. That is why we have included this salary negotiation email script that you can modify and send to the hiring manager.


To: Hiring Manager
Subject: Your Name - Based on Your Offer

Dear Hhiring Manager Name)

I want to first say a big thank you for offering me a job at your (company name) and I am excited about the offer.

A lot of my career has been in the (industry), and the skills I have learned in my line of work has helped me to become better.

I know I can contribute well to the company and the team I will be working with.

However, before accepting your offer, I will like to discuss the net salary. 
Based on my number of years of experience(mention it), skills(mention the core skills needs for the role) and my contributions to my previous employers I will respectfully like to request that you consider your initial offer.

The industry average for this position ranges from --- to ---- and I believe an offer of .... will be more in line with my qualifications and the position.

Thank you once again for the offer. I am sure we can come to an agreement depending on several factors such as career advancement and training opportunities.


Your Name


Final Words

Most people avoid this important aspect of a job package due to fair of being rejected or the offer being rescinded or such being replaced but from all the issues visited above, it is shown that there is nothing to fear, one only has to be well-armed and be in the know-how to ensure a successful salary negotiation process.

Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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