How To Negotiate Your Salary (Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 21 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Negotiating your salary can be an awkward discussion for many, but it's also a very important discussion. When you are aware of your skills and talents, and if you have years of experience on your side, you should be confident enough to negotiate your salary with prospective employers. Whether it's a new job you're interviewing for or if you're attempting to get a raise at your current job, it's important to know how to negotiate your salary effectively. In this article, we provide 10 steps to help you negotiate your salary and share five helpful tips.

How to negotiate salary

If you want to know how to negotiate salary for yourself, here are 10 steps to help you throughout this process:

1. Determine your professional credentials

Before you negotiate your salary, you need to determine your professional credentials. There are several factors that can affect your compensation, including:

  • Educational qualification

  • Certification and licenses

  • Skills and abilities

  • The supply and demand of your skills

  • Career level

  • Number of years of work experience

  • Leadership experience

  • The location you're based out of

Consider these factors when determining your desired salary for negotiation and use them to show your employer why you deserve a raise or a better salary package.

Read more: How to Negotiate Your Salary During COVID-19

2. Research salary averages for your profession

You can use tools such as Indeed Salaries to determine the average salary earned by a person with your education and experience level. Then, you can use this information to drive your negotiation discussion.

Talk to recruiters and other people within your industry to understand the average pay for individuals with your credentials working in your career field. Talking to recruiters can teach you a lot about how to negotiate your salary because they know how someone with your experience can market themselves to reach their highest salary potential. This might help you at least determine an appropriate salary range.

Read more: How to Provide Your Expected Salary (With Tips and Examples)

3. Consider additional expenses incurred

Another reason you can ask for a raise is to pay any costs you may incur as a result of taking the position. For example, if you're moving to a different city for work, you might have to pay for moving or shipping charges and any fees related to selling or leasing your existing house. Likewise, if you're accepting a job that's further away from home, you can account for travel costs like train tickets or petrol. So it's fair to ask a prospective employer to adjust the salary in accordance with the expenses you may have to incur when you accept their position.

4. Choose the salary range you are seeking

Once you've researched the salary range for your position, it's a good idea to quote the higher end of it when discussing salary with a hiring manager. The chances are that the employer might want to negotiate you down to something lower, which is why it's better to quote a higher number from the beginning. However, before you begin the negotiation, keep in mind a salary range and a minimum amount that you would happily accept.

5. Practice and plan your presentation

It's best to ask for a raise in your current job position before a performance review. By the time you approach your manager for a salary negotiation, they would've already decided, and you may end up missing your chance. Therefore, start approaching the subject months in advance. Also, don't be afraid to talk about your awards, achievements and everything you've done for the success of a project or company.

Before an interview or discussion, practice your points to build confidence. You can practise in front of a family member or trusted colleague who can provide valuable feedback. You can also practise the negotiation act in front of a mirror to improve your confidence.

6. Schedule a negotiation meeting

Once you have prepared to negotiate your salary, schedule a meeting with your current or hiring company. This meeting might be with a manager, human resources representative or recruiter. It's important to schedule this meeting in advance to ensure everyone is available.

7. Present your desired salary

If you want to get the salary you're looking for, remember to always present your number first in the negotiation discussion. This gives you the upper hand and allows you to steer the conversation. If you allow the other person to present their number and it's significantly lower than what you had in mind, you may set yourself up for disappointment.

Make sure to ask for more than what you want. Psychology plays a role here because the recruiter is bound to negotiate. If they feel they can get you to agree to a number lower than what you quoted, they may see this as a win. So have a baseline amount in mind, beyond which you won't accept the offer.

8. Listen to their salary offer

After hearing your offer, they may follow up with a counteroffer. Typically, these counteroffers are less than the number you present to them and expecting that can help prevent you from feeling rejected. It's important to listen to their salary offer and the reasoning behind it to determine how you might like to continue the conversation.

9. Continue to negotiate

After you have presented your desired salary, if they have counter-offered, you may choose to continue negotiating your salary. This might require scheduling an additional meeting to continue the conversation or to provide you with time to think about the situation. Whether you continue to negotiate may depend on your preference or the preference of the individuals negotiating with you.

10. Make your final decision

In the salary negotiation process, you may need to make a final decision about how to move forward. This might mean accepting a new salary from negotiations, keeping your existing salary or choosing to seek employment elsewhere. If you choose to not accept or keep a salary offer, it's important to communicate your decision professionally.

Read more: How To Politely Reject a Job Offer (With Email Examples)

Five tips to consider when negotiating your salary

Knowing how to negotiate your salary in a professional manner can help you deal with some of the nervousness one might feel during a job interview. Here are five tips to consider when negotiating your salary with a current or future employer:

1. Confidence and body language matter

The body language of a candidate usually matters in any discussion or interview. Most recruiters and managers can easily observe your body language to understand how you're feeling at the moment. Therefore, make sure that you're not twitching or shaking your legs or doing anything that shows your nervousness.

Be confident while negotiating your salary. Let the employer know that you're aware of the market condition and demonstrate your value under the given circumstances. More often than not, you can win the negotiation based on the confidence you display.

2. Avoid accepting the first offer

If you require additional time to think through an offer and decide what you want to do. If this is the case, communicate your need for time to consider the offer to the employer. You can then schedule a follow-up meeting with them after a few days to further discuss the offer and potentially present a counteroffer.

3. Ask questions

Ask the person you're negotiating questions about the position, preferences, needs and priorities. These diagnostic questions enable you to understand their circumstances so that you can offer solutions accordingly, encouraging a better outcome for the negotiation.

You can ask questions such as "What is the budget for this role?", "Are there other negotiable components other than salary?", "What's the prospect for promotions and salary hikes?", Can I negotiate this offer?"

4. Stay positive

Keep the conversation positive, whether it's an interview or a discussion with your current employer. If you're looking for a raise, it can help if you mention how you love working in your position, how your recent projects have been challenging yet rewarding and how you have accomplished a lot professionally.

In an interview discussion, recognise the effort of the interviewer and thank them for considering you for the opportunity. Also, even if you end up rejecting the offer, it's important to communicate this decision positively and professionally. After all, you can never know what opportunities they may have for you in the future.

5. Ensure you're ready and be willing to walk away

There are certain questions you need to ask yourself before negotiating your salary. These are questions that are needed to ensure you're ready to move a step further in your career:

  • Have you been at your current job for a long time?

  • Have you been handling additional responsibilities?

  • Have you exceeded expectations with your performance?

  • What are your exceptional skills and abilities?

When you have a clear answer about your skills and worth, it can give you the ability to understand if an offer is worth it or not. If the employer quotes a much lower number than your expectations, you need to decide if the job is worth the lesser amount. You may also have to consider factors related to your financial requirements, job location, market value or job flexibility. However, if you're not comfortable accepting a lower amount than what you asked for, you should have the courage to walk away and look for opportunities elsewhere.

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