Salary Negotiation Tips
Our salary negotiation tips will give you some great guidelines for negotiating your next job
offer. This is more of an art than a science, so we'll give you some do's and don'ts as well as
our best advice for striking a good deal.
When heading into a financial negotiation, most people are worried about two polar opposite
things: am I leaving money on the table; or, am I pricing myself out of the market. This is a
real dilemma, because in most cases, you don't know how the hiring company arrived at their offer.
Here are a couple of general guidelines:
Companies try to bring people in at the midpoint of the salary range. This is, at least in
theory, the market price for the job you're being hired for. Large organizations are likely to
have people within their HR group dedicated to compensation.
Companies want to be fair. They will know what your compensation in your current job is,
and they will try to make a competitive offer that gives you a nice increase. A 10-20% increase
is a reasonable expectation for the overall package (base salary and bonus). In a market where
candidates are plentiful, the numbers will skew lower. Likewise, when candidates are scarce,
it's easier to negotiate a higher package.
Do not play games. Go into a salary negotiation with a firm idea of where you'll compromise
and where you won't. Prioritize your wish list. Chances are, you won't get everything you
want. Make sure you push for the things that are most important to you.
Against this backdrop, let's take a closer
look at our salary
Top 10 Salary Negotiation Tips
Be honest. Do not try to inflate your starting point. Some companies will ask for
your most recent W-2.
Try not to be first with a number on the table. If asked what you're looking for,
tell the hiring manager where you currently are, and indicate that you know that they
will make a competitive offer.
Research what others in your field are making. Your trade or professional association
can be helpful on this point. You can check out what salary.com is saying, or talk to
recruiters in your profession.
Know your bottom line. Do not waste the hiring manager's time.
Before you start negotiations, think creatively. Would you be willing to take less in
base salary if the company gave you a sign on bonus? Can you accelerate the salary review
process (e.g. 6 months vs. 1 year)?
Consider trade offs between money and position. If the new company will be a great
addition to your resume, you might want to be a little more flexible on your requirements.
Never go backwards! If a company makes a low ball offer, be gracious, but
decline their offer.
Be very clear on how incentive compensation works. Understand what it's based on,
when it's paid out, whether you need to be working at the company at the time of the payout
(vs. the period the bonus covers), and most importantly, what the company's track record has
been in terms of payout. Don't just accept a general answer that bonuses have been paid
every year. Have they been paid at the target rate? If not, find out what the percentage
has been and why they've missed their targets.
Get it in writing! Never resign from your current employer until you have an offer
in hand that is consistent with what you agreed upon.
Don't be afraid to counter. But counter wisely. Do not belittle the offer made, or
make demands that are not reasonable. Remember the guideline - 10-20% is really a good bump
in compensation when you change companies. When you counter, be prepared to say yes if the
company meets your request.
When I'm negotiating an offer, the salary negotiation tips I give to both sides are to
be honest, and fair. I will ask a candidate what it's going to take to make a move; I will
let my clients know what the candidate is looking for. Playing games in this process is
Be honest, be fair,
and you will negotiate a solid offer that's
win-win for both parties.