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Winning the Game: 12 Tips in Salary Negotiation

Updated: May 5, 2023

An image of a chessboard with the white king knocking over the black king and declaring checkmate.

This is the second installment in our two-part series on mastering the art of salary negotiation. In “Understanding the Game: Salary Negotiation” we talked about how to prepare for the salary negotiation meeting. Today, we’ve compiled twelve winning tips to use during the meeting itself. As we’ve already discussed, no negotiation is one sided. Both sides will have to make concessions; these tips will help you secure the salary and benefits that are most important to you.

  1. Be charismatic. Positivity and charm make you more relatable, which in turns makes it easier for the employer to agree with you. Additionally, a good attitude helps build a good reputation.

  2. Set the tone. Highlight your accomplishments, experience, roles, and skills to support your ask. You have to sell yourself so make sure you not only share your achievements, but review your qualifications to back it up.

  3. Stay focused. The language of business is value, return on investment (ROI), and the benefits you can bring to the company. Cut to the chase and speak their language.

  4. Make the ask. As discussed in our first article, make a request for more than you expect to land based on your research and experience. Expect to be negotiated down to a number somewhere in the middle.

  5. Show professionalism. Monetary compensation is a given in salary negotiation. It isn’t your prospective employer’s concern why you need the money so leave out personal details that make your request less professional.

  6. Have confidence. The negotiation only actually starts when someone says “no”. There may be many benefits that you and your prospective employer already see eye-to-eye on so don’t waste time worrying about them.

  7. Take time to process. It may be tempting to give in to a knee-jerk response and accept or decline immediately when an offer is made. However, any reasonable employer understands that big decisions require time to process… in fact, if you feel that the prospective employer is rushing you to decide on the spot, that might be a red flag.

  8. Prepare a counteroffer. Expect some back and forth in the negotiations and be ready to adjust your ask in real-time. As discussed in the last article, money is only one consideration, and benefits can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your work life. Prioritizing your requests and focusing on the items most important to you will help you adapt on the fly.

  9. Plan ahead. Practice and prepare ahead of time for tough questions. Be honest but kind and stand firm on the points that matter to you without being confrontational.

  10. Be gracious. Acting threatening, rude, or confrontational is a negative way to start a relationship. Even if it were possible to sway your prospective employer with such behavior (and it isn’t), you’re setting yourself up for failure and ruining your reputation.

  11. Be patient. Collaboration, cooperation, and compromise are the best way to get the results and outcomes you came for.

  12. Stick to your limits. At the end of the day, you may not be able to negotiate an outcome that meets the needs of both you and your prospective employer. While this is disappointing, try to recognize when you’ve gone as far as you can and be willing to walk away if the outcome doesn’t meet your needs. There’s always another opportunity but undervaluing yourself can have long-term consequences for your career growth and happiness.

Negotiating a winning job offer is an essential part of having good work-life balance, finding fulfilment in your chosen career, and starting your retirement plan, no matter how soon or in the distant future that may be. The actual negotiation meeting can be stressful and challenging but following our twelve tips can not only reduce your anxiety but also ensure that you leave the bargaining table feeling confident and happy that you are getting a good deal that supports your needs and lifestyle.


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