Master Salary Negotiation: How to Negotiate Salary (Without the Anxiety!)

You’ve just finished the interview process for a great opportunity, and you’ve been told you’re getting an offer. Usually, when you are extended an offer, it consists of a salary and benefits package.

But what do you do if the package doesn’t align with your experience, skills, and needs? You may have to negotiate. For many people, salary negotiations can create anxiety.

8 steps to take to negotiate an job offer


1. Prepare before the offer is extended.

One reason people feel anxious about salary negotiation is because they are not prepared. You will need to know exactly what you want regarding salary, benefits, and vacation. You will also want to do your research about salary and benefits levels for the job you are interviewing for. There are many resources available online that can help, as well as consulting some recruiting firms to determine if your salary expectations are reasonable. Consider what skills you are bringing to the table and be prepared to confidently verbalize them. This will help you justify the reason they need to change their offer.

2. Who are you negotiating with?

There is a good chance that you will be negotiating with either HR or your prospective boss, and it could be different negotiating with either. For example, HR may be hiring multiple people for the same job you are considering and may be reluctant to differentiate your offer. The boss, however, may be more open to changes because they will be directly affected by your performance.

3. Go into the negotiation with a positive mindset.

Go into the negotiation with the mindset that the employer will negotiate in good faith and that their intention is not to try to get you as cheaply as possible but to truly appreciate what you are bringing to the table.

4. Don’t just focus on the salary.

It’s easy to focus the negotiation on the salary, but it’s better to consider the entire offer when negotiating. For example, the employer may not be able to increase the salary, but they may be able to give a sign-on bonus or even accelerate your annual review to get a salary increase within months rather than a year. Other considerations may be stock options, a car or fuel allowance, or tuition reimbursement.

5. Bundle: If multiple changes are required, it’s best to make those change requests simultaneously rather than one at a time.

Continuing to come to the table with one request after another may begin to frustrate the employer and may cause them to feel that you’re being unreasonable. If you do have multiple requests, it’s advisable to explain the importance of each. That way, if they are unable to grant all of them, you stand a better chance of getting the most critical changes rather than allowing the employer to choose.

6. Don’t negotiate just to negotiate.

If the employment offer is a good one, then by all means, accept. If you want a change and it’s important to you, then, by all means, negotiate. But all too often, people want to show how great of a negotiator they are and try to haggle over every little thing. This just frustrates your future employer and makes them feel that you’re being nitpicky and unreasonable.

7. It’s important how you respond to an offer.

Accepting offers or making requests quickly sets the stage for a positive start with your new employer. Delaying your decision only causes frustration with your new employer, causing them to wonder if you are serious about their job or if you are shopping their offer for a better option.

8. Finally: Don’t be afraid to walk away.

At the end of the day, sometimes an employer cannot make changes to a job offer. If this happens, then don’t be afraid to walk away and politely and professionally turn an offer down. This is where careful preemptive consideration of your needs and research will help you determine to accept or move on.



Know what you want, be reasonables and do your research. With these tips you will be able to land your dream job on your terms.

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