Best Practices for Negotiating a Salary


Whether you have a job offer in hand or are preparing for a possible promotion, you may be faced with a salary negotiation. Often, professionals find this set daunting, as it can feel a bit confrontational.

Luckily, it is possible to handle a salary negotiation professionally and with relative ease. Here are a few best practices for negotiating a salary that can help.

Have a Target

Before you begin negotiating, you need to have a target salary. Do some research online to find out what professionals in similar roles with matching levels of experience and skillsets make in your area as a starting point. This will give you an idea of your value in today’s market, making it easier to determine what salary may be suitable.

Open High and Be Precise

Once you identify the salary range that aligns with the job and what you bring to the table, prepare to start your negotiating at the top, not the middle. The prospective employer is almost guaranteed to negotiate down, so you want to have a little wiggle room at the start of the conversation.

Also, use precise numbers when discussing salary. For example, use $74,850 instead of $75,000. This makes it look like you’ve done more thorough research about your value since the number doesn’t appear rounded off.

Create an Accomplishments Summary

Negotiating a salary doesn’t just involve trading numbers; you also need to be able to defend your position. By having a short summary of achievements that highlight your value, you are giving yourself a quick reference that can help you when you are working to justify your request.

Be Positive

When you begin speaking during the negotiation, start off positive. Offer a warm greeting, exchange pleasantries, and smile when you talk (even if you are negotiating over the phone). By keeping the conversation positive initially, you are increasing the odds that the hiring manager will be in a good mood when the rough part of the discussion begins.

Be Forward-Thinking

Many hiring managers will ask about your current salary as a starting point for the negotiation (except for in states or cities where this is no longer legal). If you are underpaid in that role, this can feel like a hindrance.

However, if you approach this topic the right way, you can position yourself well. Give your current salary then quickly pivot, explaining what you are looking for, what your market value is, and what you bring to the table.

Don’t Get Overly Personal

Justifying your salary request by discussing personal needs – like childcare costs or rising rent – isn’t going to help your case. Instead, focus on your worth, performance, accomplishments, and the value you provide, as this keeps your points relevant.

Know That “No” is Coming

A negotiation is a back and forth, so don’t be surprised if the hiring manager says “no” to your first request. Your opening number is just a starting point and a part of the process. It isn’t a statement about your capabilities, so don’t take it personally.

Be Ready to Walk Away

In some cases, an employer simply isn’t willing to meet your salary requirements. Have a “walk away” number in mind and, if the company presents a final salary offer below that point, be ready to end the conversation. While saying “no” is hard, it is sometimes necessary.

Ultimately, by using the best practices above, you can handle a salary negotiation. If you’d like to learn more, the staff at Bayside Solutions can help. Contact us with your questions today and see how our salary negotiation expertise can benefit you.