How to Negotiate Your Salary in Nine Steps

Get the salary bump you want and deserve! Everybody loves a good paycheck and knows how critical it is to negotiate well when they receive a job offer. When that offer comes, however, we worry about appearing too greedy and whether the offer will stand on asking for a higher salary, making us shy away from a good salary negotiation. According to Jobvite, a recruitment firm, 71% of people do not negotiate their salaries, leaving money on the table. Here are some tips that I have learnt to implement from experience while negotiating a job offer.

  • Identify Your “Walkaway Point”

Before you walk in for a salary negotiation, it is critical for you to decide on a minimum figure you are looking at. To decide what that amount is, you should not only keep in mind the current salary you draw but also an amount that will keep you content. In case you are switching companies, evaluate the risks that a switch involves and think of a realistic amount that you need to take that risk. The minimum figure that you finally decide becomes your walkaway point from the negotiation.  

  • Estimate the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA)

ZOPA is the minimum salary that you are willing to take and the maximum salary that the company is willing to offer you. If you demand more than the maximum salary, the negotiation can fall apart. Although it’s hard to identify the actual numbers, you can speak to friends in the industry, look at online resources such as Glassdoor, or speak to recruiters, if you know any, and get an idea of what your ZOPA should be.

  • Avoid Sharing Salary Expectations

It is ideal that you try and avoid sharing your past salary details or your current salary expectations. Instead, get a figure from the hiring manager based on the company’s salary standards. If you let on your salary expectation, chances are that you are not going to get more than that. Therefore, check how much the company is willing to offer for your experience and qualification. In case you must share your salary expectation, put it at the topmost range of your identified ZOPA.

  • Silence is Gold

Say you got an amazing offer; do not accept it right away and ask for some time to evaluate the offer. Check if there is room for negotiation by being taking some time to think after the offer is made. There is a chance that the hiring manager will try to fill in the silence by improving the offer or adding a few perks. Take this time to do your research and see if you can get a better offer.

  • Identify Your Leverage

Companies spend a lot of time in conducting interviews and selecting the right person. Clearing the interview implies that the hiring manager sees value in you, and this gives you leverage. This is why you should discuss the salary after clearing your interview – the company is more likely to give an ear to your negotiations. Another form of leverage can come when you are one of the few people who have used a new technology or have experience in working in a specific domain or industry. Identifying your leverage will help you remain calm and confident during negotiations.

  • Find Your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA)

When you receive an offer that falls below your walkaway point and you are not able to negotiate further, think and decide on a BATNA. Other alternatives could be joining the company as an advisor or on a short-term basis. Always keep your options open.

  • Power Up

Assume a power pose before the meeting for negotiation. Research has shown that power poses help boost your confidence and collect your thoughts. Once you say yes, you cannot go back on your word. Therefore, being in your best form before the negotiations will be advantageous to your discussion.

  • Practice the Art

Practice is important for any kind of success. It is even more important when you are doing something out of the regular. After all, we do not change jobs every day! Prepare your numbers and pitch and go through a few rounds of mock negotiations with a close friend or family. You would be surprised to find yourself easing into the art of negotiation after a couple of mock rounds.

  • Negotiate and then Negotiate Some More

If you are leaving your current company stocks for a new one, ask the new company to compensate. Find out about the joining bonus and annual performance range. Review the new company’s leave, travel and insurance policies, and finally, review the joining date too. If you have been craving a long trip to Europe, this is your time to take that break!

*This blog was originally published on Medium.

About the Author: Charu Jain (Global MBA – 2012)

Charu Jain completed GMBA from SP Jain in 2012. She has 11 years of work experience in supply chain and strategy, with a larger part of the experience in tech firms like Apple and Amazon. Charu enjoys solving unstructured problems and delivering strategic outcomes. Apart from work, Charu loves to travel, play table tennis and write on different topics such as lifestyle, productivity, and experiences.