Press & Media

4 Steps to Negotiating Salary with Potential Employer


Salary negotiation is an important process of a job search as it deals with how much you are worth in the talent market. While it might sound daunting, it is a step you cannot avoid - so you have to be prepared for it. If you just go with the flow with whatever offered to you, you might lose approximately USD 1 million over your lifetime. Wait! 1 million? 

Yes. Linda Babcock revealed that by not negotiating salary in your job as the beginning of your career, you are leaving anywhere between USD 1 to 1.5 million on the table in lost earnings over your lifetime. This figure does not include company retirement contributions based on a percentage of salary. This is the reason why negotiating your salary matters. 

See also: Discussing Salary in the Workplace? Employers Wouldn’t Want It to Happen

But how should you negotiate your first paycheck and get the employer to agree on it? Do these four simple yet promising steps on your salary negotiation. 

Research and research 

None would want to fail in convincing potential employer to get the salary you want. As a candidate, the first thing to do before going to a job interview is doing salary research. Find out what the market rates are for the job you are looking for. There are plenty of online sources out there such as LinkedIn Salary, Payscale, or Or, you can ask your friend who is working in the department you are pursuing. If you are not comfortable asking your friend directly, you can say that you have a friend looking to get into the industry. 

If you are collaborating with a recruitment agency, they will be able to tell you the ranges. Set up an informational interview and find out what they are seeing in the job market as information from a recruiter is reliable. You can combine your online research with recruiter’s information to come to the right and best base salary.

Use “silence” as an advantage 

People often think that negotiation is all about talking and revealing. Little did you know, silence is a great tool when doing some negotiation. Kathleen Roberge said that silence can work best in two situations: 1) When you make a proposal or suggestion and 2) When the other party is proposing something to you. 

How to use silence? First, you can sit while thinking about the offer. Note: thinking, not discussing. In a few minutes of silence, it might get into an awkward situation. But in that awkwardness lies an important message. The employer might reveal something they should not, on the other hand, they might give you further question or higher offer. One must understand, however, using silence works best in a face-to-face meeting. 

Ask but do not demand 

There are two rules here. First, ask them later. Second, do not demand a specific number. 

The first rule is meant to give you, and employer time to consider your skills and attitude. Commonly, there will be 2 or 3 interview rounds, thus, be ready to do a salary negotiation in the 2nd round. In the first interview, just show how capable you are and how your skills can be valuable assets to the employer. However, if the employer starts the talk first, you should respond to them. 

The second rule is to not be so demanding. While no one will lose a job offer because asking for something, the way you ask does affect how an employer perceives you. It is important to request within the ballpark of the range salary. Giving a specific number before the employer is ready to make you an offer will leave a bad image, as an employer might think that you are too aggressive. Aggressiveness is never good during an interview. 

Use the right phrases 

Greg Williams advised that word choices are very important in a negotiation as it will impact the outcome. Hence, you should be thoughtful before entering the negotiation and adaptable to the changing circumstances of the negotiation. There are some powerful words and phrases you can use when negotiating, including ‘Based on my research, the range of my position is….’, ‘Is that number flexible at all?’, ‘Do you mind if I take a couple of days to consider your offer?’, or ‘I would be more comfortable if…’. 

Lastly, regardless of how much you get, always end the negotiation with a thank you. 

Next read: Should You Tell Recruiter Your Current Salary?

Next read: 5 Signs You are Writing a Bad Resume