Salary Negotiation Skills

In my blog post on Considerations and Observations regarding Women in Business I shared thoughts on salary negotiation skills, which is not taught very well to our young professionals.  


Here are 3 strategies you can try:

  1. Most salary offers are within 5% of what the job will actually pay.  Never take the first amount offered.  Use the 10% rule.  If you are offered $40,000 a year, take 10% of this amount ($40,000 times 10% is $4000) and add that to your counter back to the person making the salary offer.  Now you have your no – $40,000 – and you are going up from there.  Do not be surprised if they come up $1000.  You counter by coming down from your counter by $1000, and you will usually agree to about half of your counter.  This way you end up with a salary of $42,000 and your self esteem intact.
  2. We have this wonderful tool called the internet now.  You can actually look up a salary range for the job you are applying for and use that as a negotiating tactic.  A beginning lawyer in Boston will be offered a good bit more salary that a beginning lawyer in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  I have seen a situation where an east coast salary was used for a mid west negotiation.  Make sure you keep your investigations central to your location.
  3. If you are really uncomfortable with the initial salary offer you can always ask what the usual salary range is for the position you are applying for within that company.  Be prepared for an answer that will include the original salary offer.  Again ask what the qualifications would be for the position at the higher salary quoted to you by the company.  You are not being pushy here – you are being a good negotiator.  And if you get a very negative push back by the company then move on.  You will probably not want to work with a company that requires you to just accept what they have to offer.

Always decide in any negotiation what your bottom line is and drive for the “no” answer.  “Yes” actually does not mean much and “Maybe” means even less.  No means no and it is a base from which you can negotiate up.

Have you had a successful salary negotiation? Share your story with us!

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