Ten quick salary-negotiation tips


  1. Know your market value before you talk to anyone from the company. You can get the info at Glassdoor.com and Payscale.com.
  2. In a Pain Letter or on an online application form, if you’re required to give your salary history, give your requirement instead. “I’m focusing on roles in the 60K range” is perfect.
  3. If the topic of salary hasn’t come up by your second interview, ask the question. “Should we synch up on compensation now, to make sure we’re in the same ballpark?” If the recruiter doesn’t know the salary info, ask him or her to have the hiring manager reach you. No sense going for a second interview if they’re not willing to pay you enough.
  4. If they say “You can come in for an interview, but only if X salary works for you,” say “Yes, let’s do” unless the salary is completely out of the question. If it’s a bit lower than you would accept, go ahead and go on the interview. Later on in the process, you can say “Well, X would work for me if the bonus were Y and the benefits were [whatever]. If that’s not the case, we should revisit X…”
  5. If you get an offer and the salary piece is unexciting, say to the hiring manager “Thanks for the offer! I’m excited to get started. We are a ways apart on salary. Shall we brainstorm about that now?”
  6. If the employer can’t meet your base-salary target, consider a sign-on bonus, a guaranteed first-year bonus, a guaranteed salary increase at your first review, and/or an accelerated review schedule.
  7. Don’t forget about extra vacation time, and tuition reimbursement if you’re interested in more formal education.
  8. Whatever negotiating chips the hiring manager throws out, get in writing, in a revised offer letter.
  9. If you absolutely can’t come to terms, suggest that it might make more sense to have you work for the organization as a consultant, at X per hour.
  10. Don’t assume that no one has any money because of the recession. Ask yourself: what is their business pain costing them, right now?

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