Top 10 Tips to Negotiate a Top Salary

You just received a job offer! Congratulations!

You’ve probably also quickly discovered that your total compensation package can be fairly complicated. So, here are a few tips to help you along your negotiating way.

Tip #1.  Whoever mentions money first, looses.

Avoid any compensation discussions until the end of the process. Then you can be honest about what you need in terms of total compensation.

Tip #2.  When under pressure, refer to rule #1.

Tip #3.  Do your homework before you start.

What’s the current market rate for your target position? (More on this below.)

Tip #4.  Read the position descriptions carefully.

An Accountant 2 at one organization can be called an Accountant 1 or 3 at another. When reading those job descriptions, check the salaries while you’re at it.

Tip #5.  Base your salary request on data.

If you’re forced to give a number, provide a salary range based on the research you’ve done up front. Use this research to inform your negotiating technique. Talk about what’s appropriate for the role, based on your experience and what you have to offer. Don’t talk about your personal financial needs or your current compensation.

Tip # 6. Use an online salary calculator.

These tools will give you a good idea as to what employers are paying for the job you’re seeking. Salary.com and Glassdoor.com are just a couple among many available to you on line.

Tip #7. Get it in writing.

A job offer is just a nice conversation until you have it in writing. I have heard numerous stories about misunderstandings-from the job title, to the salary and benefits, to the starting date. Don’t even consider it a real offer until you see it in print.

Tip #8. Take your time to analyze your job offer.

Don’t ever feel pressure about giving them an immediate answer. Yes, it’s been a long process, but be sure to take your time at the end when it’s all going to pay off. A simple “I need to think it over” might even get you an increase in the original offer, or at least prepare them for the fact that they may need to sweeten the pot.

Tip #9. Negotiate benefits.

Consider whether there are employee benefits that might be negotiable, in addition to the salary. E.g. An additional week of vacation is comparable to almost a 2% increase. The term is “Total Compensation” for a reason.

Tip #10. Be willing to walk away.

Consider the consequences of accepting a salary and benefits package below the number that will appropriately cover your current expenses. However, don’t decline a job that you want or need, either. The employer may call your bluff and go to another candidate without trying to negotiate and ‘make the save’ with you.

Like the job search and interview processes, the more you know about negotiating your top salary, the better you are at playing the game, and the more fun-and lucrative-the game becomes.

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