How To Negotiate Salaries

On-Ramp Presentation
In a Nutshell . . .
Research the typical salary for the position in
your area before you go to the interview.
Don’t underestimate your worth.
Consider all the benefits and ask questions
before you accept an offer or negotiate a better
Be polite but firm.
Before You Get A Job Offer
Do Your Homework!
•You need to have some idea of what salary to expect.
•You need to know this information to be able to respond
The Virginia Wizard
Salary Ranges
Salaries in Your Field & Industry
• Read the trade journals for your industry.
• Read the newspaper Help-Wanted ads.
• Talk to an employee in the field.
• Take a salary survey on the Web. Just
type in “salary survey”.
• Use your network to find out what others
make at the same level.
•Talk to alumni of JTCC.
Other Website Resources
Also Consider . . .
Salaries vary by geographic region. For
example: A teacher in southern Virginia may
earn a lower salary than a teacher in northern
Find out what a job pays where you plan to
*NOTE: There is generally a relationship between the local cost of living,
the salary and the supply of and demand for workers with a specific set of
Deciding To Negotiate
First assure the interviewer of your interest.
•Give reasons for your proposed increase rather
than just saying you need it or want it.
•Be ready to listen to what the company has to offer
and give it consideration.
•Set realistic expectations and realize that you may
not get everything you want.
How To Negotiate – 8 Steps
Most job seekers are anxious about
salary discussions and want to get it
over with as soon as possible.
Open Negotiations
If you don't ask, you won't get. It's surprising how many people hardly
negotiate at interview and, during employment, fail to negotiate a pay
raise. Initial very low offers may force us to negotiate but those who are
always ready to negotiate, whatever the situation, are likely to achieve
higher salaries.
One early study of graduating MBA students found that those who were
prepared to negotiate achieved better starting salaries (Gerhart & Rynes,
It's pretty obvious advice but it's amazing how many people fail at the
very first hurdle.
Set The Anchor
Oddly, articles on this subject often recommend waiting for the
other side to open the bidding. This may work in auctions but
according to research on salary negotiation, this is wrong.
The first number that gets mentioned is important because it
acts as an anchor against which other numbers are judged. If
you allow the other side to set the anchor then they will set it
low and grab control of the negotiation. Studies find that,
whether consciously or otherwise, this first offer sets the tone
for the whole negotiation.
Start High
When you mention a number, make sure it's high—that is, high
in the context of the industry you work in, obviously it shouldn't
be ridiculous.
One study of simulated salary negotiations has found that
when the anchor figure is set high, the final negotiated amount
is likely to be higher (Thorsteinson, 2011).
Make a Joke
One potential problem with making high opening offers is that
employers can take it the wrong way. Tension can be diffused,
though, by making a joke about, for example, 'unrealistic
salary expectations'.
There is evidence in the negotiation research that humor—
when used appropriately—can be an effective negotiation
Remember that even when framed with humor, a high opening
number can still influence the ultimate decision (Thorsteinson,
Be Bold
A personality trait that's central to negotiation is being
confident. Those who aren’t confident may see you as
arrogant so, be careful. However, if you’re a confident
person, don’t be afraid to let your confidence show in a
professional manner.
Believe You’re Worth It
A common stumbling block in salary negotiations is thinking
you're not worth it. So it's vital to convince yourself that you
are worth it.
Try to find out what other people are getting paid for doing
the same job. If it's more, then you are worth more. If it's not
more, then think of why you specifically should earn more.
With that in mind you can go into your salary negotiation with
an anchor in mind, a joke to ease the tension and the
willingness to take a risk to make a substantial gain.
Is There Some “Wiggle Room”?
Make sure you have a figure in mind because if the recruiter does have room
to barter, she will ask you pointblank to supply a figure.
When you’re asked that question, don’t tip your hand by giving an exact
figure. You don’t want to take yourself out of the running – too high or too low.
Instead of naming your price, say something like, “Based on my experience
and skills and the demands of the position, I’d expect I’d earn an appropriate
figure. Can you give me some idea what kind of range you have in mind?
Wiggle, Wiggle . . .
The recruiter may come back with, “Well, how much were you
interested in?”
*NOTE: This can go on and on so, don’t take it too long and
risk antagonizing the other person. If you can’t get the recruiter
to name a price, give in graciously and name your own.
If you name a range ($25,000 to $30,000) it may be that the
company was considering a range of $22,000 to $28,000.
Therefore, you should receive an offer in the mid-to-upper end
of your range, depending on your experience and
Important To Note
When considering compensation, don’t forget
to look at the entire package. That includes
health insurance, vacation time, sick days, and
personal days. If the actual dollar amount
you are being offered seems somewhat low,
is it being made up with very generous
vacation time or with a paid-in-full health
insurance plan? Don’t forget that these
things are valuable, too.
How To Negotiate a Salary Increase
In A Tough Economy
In difficult times, getting a raise is hard but not impossible.
Employees are valuable assets that a company does not want to
lose. Hiring, training and overhead costs may make the expense of
hiring someone to replace you greater than the cost of your
improved salary. Align your goals to those of your company and use
good negotiating tactics to win a raise in tough economic conditions.
Request an appointment with your supervisor
to talk about your performance and goals.
Look over your complete salary and benefits
package to make sure you understand the
details of your compensation. Check with your
human resources department if necessary.
Your boss may offer you improved benefits
rather than a salary increase.
Review your calendar and other records and
make a list of your major accomplishments
over the past several months. Compare your
achievements to your company's goals and
point out how you are specifically supporting
the organization's mission.
Make a list of ways you have gone beyond
your job description recently. If you have
taken on tasks for a colleague who is on leave
or are handling work that's usually done by
someone higher in the organizational chain of
command, mention it.
Write down after-hours education or training
opportunities you have pursued. This
demonstrates your commitment to the job and
your willingness to grow.
Do some research to clarify the salary range
for your job within your industry. Look to the
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and its
"Occupational Outlook Handbook," check with
friends who work for other companies, and
ask executive search professionals to get a
realistic idea of the raise you should ask for. A
request that's not in line with the realities of
your industry will make your supervisor
question your judgment.
Be direct about your desire for a raise when
you meet with your boss. Don't be hesitant or
apologetic. Avoid starting with your reasons
for requesting a raise, making you sound
unnecessarily defensive. Phrase your request
positively and professionally.
Ask what you can do to improve enough to
gain a raise if your request is refused. Ask as
well if the company can offer other benefits -vacation days, education expenses and so on
-- in lieu of a salary bump.
Get It In Writing
Be suspicious of an employer who won’t give you
confirmation of the position in writing.