Five tips on how to ask more

Many people that I meet don’t have a strategy for negotiating their compensation. They come to me after years of being behind their profession’s salary curve and need direction on how to make immediate change. Earning less than colleagues with similar, or lesser, skills and experience can certainly be frustrating. Here are a few tips for improving the quality of your salary negotiation conversation and the ensuing final offer in your next position.

Base your salary expectations on what the market will bear. Rather than projecting based on what you earned in a previous position,check current industry rates. All a salary suggests is what someone was willing to pay you at a particular time. Past salary generally has little relevance to current market value.

Discuss your salary expectations in terms of what is fair and reasonable. Don’t ask for a certain salary because that is what you think you need to earn in order to pay your rent. Instead, give an explanation for why the salary you are questing is directly correlated to the value you will bring to the organization. Ask if HR agrees that your estimate is reasonable, not if it is their standard practice. Getting them on your side is half the battle.

Uncover your competition. Before there is an offer on the table, ask the interviewer questions such as, “Can you tell me where you are in the hiring process?” or “How many people are you interviewing for this position?” to determine your competition. If you discover that you are their only current candidate, you will have more leverage during the negotiation process and you may be able to command a higher salary.

Think outside the box and be flexible. If an employer can’t offer you the base compensation you had hoped for, maybe they can offer you a compelling performance bonus, a signing bonus, or additional stock options.

Do your homework. Review sites such as  and  PayScale  to help determine your market value, calculate the value of your benefits package, and assess the overall quality of your offer. Supplement this research with salary information you source through’s job postings, conversations with recruiters, and industry professionals to further validate the accuracy of your findings.

Written by Barbara Safani
Thursday, 11 June 2009 08:21 – Last Updated Thursday, 11 June 2009 09:18

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