Expert Tips on How to Negotiate Salary Like a Pro

Managing Partner Jon Semingson walks job seekers through practicing negotiation pitches and responses to potential salary questions.

Best Tips for Negotiating Salary From a Recruiter

Have a solid understanding of the market value for your role and what you are looking for in advance. Talk with peers in the market and make sure you are reasonably within the range for the role before beginning. If possible, look on Glassdoor or the job posting to see what the salary range is within the company or for the specific role you are interviewing for. This will give you a benchmark and some confidence when going into the interview or salary negotiation.

Don’t “drop anchor” during the interview. In the first interview, ask them what the budget or range is before disclosing what you are looking for, just in case they are above your ask already (doesn’t
happen often, but it DOES happen)! If they disclose a range below what you are looking for, be direct, but professional. Something like: Thank you for sharing your salary range. In full disclosure, that is below the range of other roles I am exploring. I am looking at other opportunities between XXX and YYY. For the right individual, do you have any flexibility?

Clarity Is Key When Negotiating Salary
If an offer is being made verbally or in person, you likely won’t have enough information on the total package to commit on the spot unless it is a very strong offer at or above your expectations. Benefits, bonus opportunities, career path, and other factors are major considerations you will want to evaluate. In that case, something like: “That is very exciting! Thank you for the offer. Before making a commitment, I would like to review some of the details on your benefits plans, any bonus potential, and other details. Will you be sending that to me in writing today?” If the salary they offered is low, an immediate verbal counter could be something like: “Thank you so much. The role sounds amazing, and I would love to be part of the team, but that is a little below other roles I am exploring. The market I am seeing for this type of position is somewhere around xxx and yyyy. I would like to review some of the details of the offer, like PTO and benefits, but is there any flexibility on that salary?”

If you are responding in writing to a formal offer letter, some strong language would look something like this: Thank you so much for the offer to join the team at COMPANY NAME as TITLE. I have enjoyed getting to know the organization through this process and really believe I can hit the ground running. I have reviewed the offer and benefits in detail. Based on my current situation, it would be challenging to accept this role at the salary of XYZ that you have offered. Other roles I am targeting are around ABC. If you have the flexibility to be in that range, I would be thrilled to join the team. I am happy to have a call to discuss this in more detail if you would prefer. Talk soon, etc.

If An Employer Asks About Salary History
I advise people to respond with 2-3 non-numerical things they are looking for in their next job, and then ask for their range. Something like: “Money is important, but it is not the #1 thing I am looking for. I am really looking to join an organization that with a strong culture where I will have the opportunity to work on exciting projects and grow my skill set. (You can add a few of the key items you would be working on in this part). It sounds like you really value your employees and I assume you will be able to make a FAIR or REASONABLE offer to the right candidate. What is your range for this role?”

Another option is a little more direct: “I’m not sure that my current salary is indicative of the value I can bring to this role. You mentioned you are looking for someone that can do XY and Z and help your team accomplish XXXX. Based on my experience, I am confident in my ability to hit the ground running quickly. What do you have budgeted for this role?”

Final Thoughts

These are just a few tips to help you with salary negotiations. What are your thoughts? Do you have any tips as a hiring manager for potential candidates? Job seekers, do you have any tips that have worked for you in the past? Let us know, and send specific questions to