Salary Negotiation 101 - 12+ Tips to Get a Better Pay [In 2021]

27 May
6 min read

You’ve already been through the hard part of the job search - you found the right job, applied, and received a job offer.

Congratulations!

Before you pop that champagne bottle open, though, there’s still one important task you need to do:

Negotiate your salary.

You might be tempted to go with the first offer, seal the deal, and get started with the next stage of your career. Usually, this is not the best idea.

Around 84% of employers actually expect their candidates to negotiate their offer. Meaning, if you accept the first offer you get, you might be missing out on a heftier salary.

So, what can you do to negotiate your salary the right way, and get the figure you actually deserve?

In this guide, we’re going to teach you just that!

Read on to discover 12+ of our best salary negotiation tips:

12+ Essential Salary Negotiation Tips

#1. Know Your Worth

When negotiating your salary, don’t just suggest a random number. Do your research, understand how much you’re worth, and what the average salaries are in your region. 

Salaries can vary depending on several factors, including:

  • Experience level
  • Exact skill-set
  • Location
  • Employer policies

A developer based in the United States, for example, earns, on average, $ 110,638 annually, which is significantly more than what they’d earn in the UK ($42,394).

So, it’s crucial to keep all these factors into consideration when deciding on your desired salary.

In order to get the right number, we recommend you do research on :

  • Salary rates in your location
  • Salary averages based on your years of experience
  • Salary averages for your specific skill-set (e.g. if you’re in sales, a B2B salesman is likely going to make a lot more than a telemarketer)
  • Salary averages for the specific employer you’re applying for (you can find this on Glassdoor)

Alternatively, you can also use Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth tool that helps you figure out the right pay range specifically for you.

#2. Don’t Focus (Too Much) on Yourself

Negotiations are a two-way street.

Instead of focusing on yourself (i.e. here’s why I deserve a larger salary), focus on how you’d be more valuable for the company (i.e. here’s why I can contribute more than you’d think, and as such, deserve a better salary).

Explain to the recruiter how, exactly, you meet and excel at the requirements for the role. If you have any past achievements for a similar role, you can also bring them up.

#3. Factor in Perks & Benefits

A job offer is not all about the salary. In some cases, the salary itself might seem a tad low, but if you factor in all the perks and benefits you get from the company, it might turn out to be much better than at first sight.

Some employers, for example, offer:

  • Better insurance plans
  • Flexible days off
  • Personal development budget
  • Option to work from home
  • Better retirement saving plan

And so on.

So, when comparing job offers, make sure to also factor in perks and benefits to get a more accurate view of the situation.

In addition, some companies might not be willing to negotiate on the pay range, but they might be willing to throw in more benefits.

So, if that’s the case with your company, see if you can negotiate more benefits out of the offer.

#4. Back-Up Your Arguments

When submitting your counter-offer during a salary negotiation, don’t just give them a number. Instead, give them a rock-solid argument.

Build a strong case for a larger salary and back it up with your strengths, experiences, and skills.

Really understand what the job you’re applying for is all about, and then explain to the hiring manager how your past experiences will contribute so you can excel in the role.

#5. Leverage Your Situation

At the end of the day, your negotiation power really depends on your current situation.

If you’re unemployed, you most probably don’t want to lose a job offer just because they didn’t offer you a stellar salary.

At the same time, if the job you’re applying for will be paying you less than its competitor or your current employer, you can use that as a bargaining chip.

Pro Tip

Rule of thumb - a lot of employers are going to be OK with giving you a salary that’s around 20% better than your current employer’s (as long as you bring the right skills to the table, of course!).

#6. Practice!

You shouldn’t just wing your salary negotiations speech - too much depends on it.

Instead, find a friend or mentor (preferably someone in the business world) who’s willing to practice your speech with you.

Practice makes perfect, after all. If you rehearse your speech well in advance, you’re a lot more likely to be confident and convincing during your actual salary negotiation.

#7. Know When to Stop or Walk Away

Salary negotiation is not supposed to be a long, two-sided argument.

If the employer is (clearly) not interested in negotiating the salary, don’t push the subject. This will simply come off as rude.

In such cases, either accept the job offer (if it’s an offer that makes sense) or simply walk away gracefully.

#8. Pick a Range (And Pick the Higher Number)

When deciding on what sum of money to ask for, find a range that you’re OK with (and one the company is likely to pay for someone of your skill-set).

Then, during salary negotiations, pick the number that’s on the higher end of that range.

How come? Well, let us explain:

If you follow the popular advice and give a pay range, the hiring manager will (90% of the time) give you a number that’s on the lower end of the range.

From that point on, that number is going to be the anchor in the negotiation

This means that although you'll (probably) be able to ask for more, you won’t be able to go too far from the number the hiring manager suggested. After all, YOU gave them the range, all they had to do was pick the number.

In such a scenario, the hiring manager is the one dictating the terms of the negotiation

So, instead, you want to pick the number that’s in the higher range. This way, you’re the one dictating the terms and therefore much more likely to get a (more) favorable outcome from the salary negotiation.

#9. Be Gracious & Likeable

It’s very important that you don’t come off as argumentative and disagreeable during negotiations.

Build the conversation based on facts and keep emotions out of it.

And most importantly, whatever the outcome of the negotiation, be understanding of the hiring manager’s point of view and thank them for the opportunity and their time.

#10. Don’t Accept the First Offer

The employer’s first offer is, in most cases, not their last.

Don’t accept the first offer the employer gives you. 

Instead, thank them and let them know you’ll reply within 24 to 48 hours.

Use this time to really think the offer through - is it worth it, or do you think it’s not up to par with what you deserve?

#11. Make It Clear You Want the Position

When negotiating salary, make it clear that you’re passionate about the company and the job.

Also, hint that you have other job offers (with better pay) on the table, but you still prefer this company as long as they can provide a more competitive offer.

The reasoning behind this is that you don’t want to come off as the type of employee that’s just in it for the money and is simply trying to get the best salary possible.

#12. Get the Offer Down in Black And White

Once you’re done with the salary negotiation, make sure the employer puts it down in black and white.

This includes both the new salary figure, as well as the perks or benefits you negotiated.

Making the new arrangement official ensures that everything is clear for both parties and that there has been no miscommunication.

Learn More About Job Interviews

Salary negotiation is just one part of the interviewing process. If you want to become an interview pro, there’s a ton more you need to learn.

Check out some of our top content on job search and job interviews: