Salary Negotiation Tips

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When should a job candidate attempt to negotiate salary?

Don't Rush Negotiations

Patience is a virtue, but when it comes to salary negotiation it can also be lucrative. One of the keys to successfully negotiating a salary lies is the ability to divorce yourself from what, in reality, is one of the most crucial factors in taking a job in the first place: compensation. Pay is a hot-button issue that itchy trigger fingers should steer clear of.

In all cases, conversation about pay should never be instigated by the job candidate. They should begin only after an employer has placed an official job offer on the table, and only after they have stated a specific dollar amount. Most employers will anticipate some amount of salary negotiation to take place, and allow anywhere from ten to twenty percent flexibility.

This is no different when working through a professional staffing agency, except that a job candidate may have greater leverage, especially if their qualifications are high.

What is logrolling?


What sounds like a potentially dangerous river sport is actually one of the most effective salary negotiation strategies employed by both job candidates and employers.

Logrolling is the trading off of favors more frequently and eloquently known as the quid pro quo. When it comes to salary negotiations, logrolling is the offering of certain conditions of employment in order to obtain something of value in return.

When entering the salary negotiation phase of any deal between employer and employee, it's vital for both sides to be at the ready with certain concessions they're willing to make. This requires a good bit of forethought. A company has to weigh what it's willing to offer an employee in place of a higher salary, taking into consideration factors such as the candidate's value to the company. A candidate should also come to the table with a ready list of requests to be made in exchange for their acceptance of the salary.

What are the drawbacks of accepting a salary I’m not satisfied with?

Never Surrender

It's impossible to over-emphasize the importance during salary negotiations for neither side to capitulate. Neither the employer nor the candidate should ever feel as if they've been put in a position to make concessions that aren't mutually beneficial to their aims.

If a job candidate is too desperate to reach an agreement and yields to the employer's final offer with any feelings of having been taken advantage of, or of being undervalued, this can play havoc on their attitude toward the job.

Likewise, an employer has to weigh their need for a particular candidate against their financial ability to make them happy. Agreeing to a salary that can't be afforded is the first step on the road to ruin.

In the end, both should be satisfied with the agreement. Having a recruiter as the middle man in these final negotiations removes some of that risk, and alleviates most of the stress involved in intense salary negotiations.

What’s the etiquette for discussing salary?

Don't Discuss Salary

Effective salary negotiations require little discussion. This may sound like a joke, but the truth is that the less actual figures are discussed, the easier it is to come to a mutually satisfactory agreement.

This tactic is beneficial to both employer and employee. The further the two parties get into the job offer, the deeper the commitment becomes. The bond between potential employee and employer begins to build in the first few moments of the initial interview, and with the further investment of time it becomes less likely to break over numbers.

Any interview that begins with discussions of pay is undesirable for both parties. The issue of compensation should never be the only motivating factor for employment. Any average individual that comes to the table wanting to talk dollars first is just that—an average individual, from whom you're likely to yield average results. This goes for both employee and employer.

What is a job offer letter?

The Job Offer Letter

The days of deals made on a handshake have long since come and gone, and in their place have arrived much more legally binding methods of agreement. One such agreement is the job offer letter.

Once salary negotiations have come to an end and a verbal agreement has been made, an employer will draw up a job offer letter and deliver it to the candidate for final review. The letter contains all of the conditions of employment that were previously discussed, which the candidate reviews and signs, or responds to with a job offer counter proposal that contains any final alterations they wish to be made. All prior agreements made should be viewed as tentative until this document is signed.

Many example templates of job offer counter proposals are available online. One of the additional benefits of negotiating employment through a professional recruiter is the availability of their resources to ensure a smooth and mutually beneficial agreement between parties.

What alternatives should be considered during salary negotiation?

Considering Alternative Solutions to Pay

Money is not the only thing to consider when negotiating a salary, and keeping that in mind could be the difference between a successful negotiation and a broken deal.

A job opportunity that offers $75,000 with no benefits and no severance package can be far less appealing than one offering substantially less, but with great benefits, a company car and a severance package that would make a Fortune 500 CEO drool.

Candidates should consider this during job salary negotiation. The candidate who's been offered less than his or her worth might accept, but only on the condition of stock options, paid time off and reimbursement of relocation expenses. Likewise, an employer should always be prepared to emphasize such alternatives, especially if the salary being offered is non-negotiable.

Professional recruiting firms act on behalf of the hiring company to negotiate pay and frequently make the entire process simpler—from both the company and the candidate's perspective.

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Susan Sayour