Salary negotiation doesn’t have to be intimidating. Fearless Salary Negotiation is a deep dive into the strategy and tactics of successful salary negotiation, but what if you don’t have time for a deep dive?
Here is a short summary of five salary negotiation tactics that everyone can use to negotiate starting salary. I’ll just share each tactic and a quick description so you can use these tactics right away if you need them.
1. Don’t disclose your current or desired salary
The Dreaded Salary Question usually comes up early in the job interview process, so it might catch you off guard. Don’t disclose your current or desired salary in your job interview or salary negotiation.
Here’s The Dreaded Salary Question:
“So where are you right now in terms of salary, and what are you looking for if you make this move?”
And here is an answer you can give to continue progressing in your job interview while not disclosing your current or desired salary:
“I’m not comfortable sharing my current salary. I would prefer to focus on the value I can add to this company rather than what I’m paid at my current job. I don’t have a specific number in mind for a desired salary, and you know better than I do what value my skillset and experience could bring to your company. I want this move to be a big step forward for me in terms of both responsibility and compensation.”
2. Set your minimum acceptable salary before you get a job offer.
Your minimum acceptable salary is your “walk away” number – your line in the sand for the minimum salary you will accept if you take the job. This number is critical to your negotiation and it’s best if you determine it before you get a job offer.
With this number in your back pocket, you can confidently negotiate starting salary knowing you will either exceed this number and take the job, or you will walk away from the opportunity satisfied that it wasn’t a good fit.
3. Always negotiate starting salary by counter offering
You should always counteroffer, even if you really like the offer. I recommend countering between 10% and 20% above the base salary in the job offer. Counter closer to 10% if you need the job pretty badly and you don’t sense that the company is desperate to hire you. Counter closer to 20% above the job offer if you have other options and you sense the company specifically needs you to do the job.
Use the salary negotiation script generator and counteroffer calculator to get started.
4. Deliver your counter offer via email if possible
Ask for a couple of days to consider the job offer so that you can calculate your counter offer and build your case to justify it. Once you’ve determined your counter offer, deliver it via email if you can. Not only will this help ensure that you can articulate your complete case very clearly, but it will create a document that can be circulated internally at the company as they discuss your counter offer.
Here’s a salary negotiation email sample you can use as a template to help you get started.
5. Keep negotiating until you’ve maximized your base salary and benefits
Most people don’t counter offer, so you’re already way ahead of the curve when you do counter offer. But don’t stop negotiating just yet!
Once you deliver your counter offer, the company will likely come back to you with a response somewhere between their initial job offer and your counter offer. You should prepare a script so you know exactly how you’ll respond to each increment in that salary range to attempt to increase your base salary or add more benefits to your total compensation package.
Here’s a salary negotiation script example you can use to help get you started.
With these five salary negotiation tactics that everyone can use to negotiate starting salary, you can significantly increase your starting salary when you start a new job.