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Tips for Negotiating your Salary

July 11, 2017

tips for salary negotiation

The subject of salary negotiation is easier for some people than it is for others. While salary negotiation is supposed to be a routine part of taking a job or remaining happy in one, the fact that there is money on the line can make these conversations uncomfortable, tense or even downright unpleasant.

The good news is, that it doesn’t have to be this way. As long as you are using proper workplace diplomacy, stating and proving your case, and honoring your own value, you can engage in salary negotiations without fear of failure or a negative reaction from your current or future employer.

Using Proper Workplace Diplomacy

They say that you attract more flies with honey than vinegar, and you’ll certainly have a better chance of getting the salary you want when you’re sweet instead of sour. That being said, being too sweet or complimentary during a salary negotiation comes across as a cheap, transparent bid for favor in negotiations and will not get you anywhere.

Practicing proper workplace diplomacy during a salary negotiation will be a huge factor in the success of these negotiations, as the person you’re negotiating with will always respond better to people who approach this discussion in a straightforward, diplomatic way.

Proper Workplace Diplomacy during the salary negotiation process means:

  • Knowing who you’re dealing with– This is easier if you’ve worked with the person you’re negotiating with, but you should have a good idea of who you’re dealing with if you’ve gotten to the salary negotiation stage of a job offer. Work with their personality, not against it, and be sure that you don’t use any of their communication “pet peeves” during salary negotiations (being indirect, talking too much, etc.). You should also keep their perspective in mind: how are you useful to them and why should they give you the salary you’re asking for?
  • Using the right tone– The tone of the salary negotiation should be pleasant or even friendly if possible.  If you find yourself becoming frustrated or “sour,” adjust course immediately, as the tone of negotiations turning negative or confrontational will hurt your chances of getting the salary you want. Also, as we said before, avoid being “too nice,” as this may be taken as professional flattery and hurt your chances.
  • Choosing the right time– If you’re negotiating the salary of a job that you’re about to take, there will often be a set time to discuss your salary. If this conversation arises earlier than you expect and you’re unprepared, request a rain-check until you’ve had time to build the case for your desired salary and/or research the salary range for this position in your industry. If you’re asking for a raise, always choose a time when you have many examples of recent, successful work that you can use as evidence for why you deserve a raise. 

Stating and Proving Your Case

We all want to be paid more, but why should it be you? What have you done to deserve the salary you’re asking for?

Don’t be daunted by this questions, because it’s the question you’ll be answering for anyone that you’re negotiating your salary with and the way you answer is important.

For instance, if you say something like “I’d like a raise because I’ve been working very hard and going the extra mile for my teammates,” then you probably aren’t getting that raise. While this statement is true, and a good starting point, it does not have the information needed to prove your value.

When stating your case for why you should get a raise, always bring evidence to the table. Here’s the stronger version of that first example “I’d like a raise because I have been the second highest performer in my department for the past 6 months and have been assisting two of my colleagues, Mike and Jill, to improve their performance by 25% over the past quarter.”

The more specific you can get, the better, especially when linking your hard work to successful outcomes for your team or department. Always bring evidence for why you should get the salary you’re asking for and lay out your case in an objective, well-reasoned way.

Remember Your Value

You have been doing (or will do) valuable work for the person you’re negotiating with, so don’t sell yourself short. Though over-confidence won’t be very helpful for getting the salary you want, some confidence is required when you ask for a better salary.

You also need to be asking for a salary that is realistic and in-line with what competitors are paying someone in your position and of your experience level. This information can easily be found through a quick internet search or by visiting Glassdoor.

Remembering your value also means not backing down from difficult questions or from a boss who is reluctant to give you the salary you’re asking for. You shouldn’t be confrontational, but you should be firm when stating your case and negotiating your salary. Maybe you won’t be able to get the salary you were looking for now, but showing your boss that you understand your value will prove that you can’t be put on the back burner.

By demonstrating that you know your value, you put yourself in the power position for negotiating your salary. As long as you remember your workplace diplomacy and build a strong case for your desired salary with evidence of your valuable work, you have a good shot at getting a salary closer to the “best case scenario” you’ve been dreaming of.

VP of Marketing at Digital Astronauts Ronny Cheng is one of the Co-Founder's of Digital Astronauts and has helped drive lead generation in the software industry for organizations of all sizes -- from start-ups to Fortune 500's. He helped build one of the first online software review websites, specializing in CRM, ERP, and HR software. He's a nationally published author with extensive experience working with the HR/Recruiting industries largest brands. In his spare time, you can catch him on Instagram doing his best food blogger impersonation.
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