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The 14 commandments of salary negotiation

by Marie-Sarah Published on December 15, 2015

For many women, negotiating a higher salary when interviewing for a new job may be stressful or seem impossible but it can be done by keeping these golden rules in mind!

1. Be likeable. It all starts with being likeable by addressing potential employers with respect. It’s essential that you get your points across without being arrogant or coming off as pretentious.

2. Explain why you deserve more money. You can’t just ask for more money and leave it at that. You have to justify the extra money. Why are you worth more? Spell out the reasons.

3. Make it clear that you really want the job. Show the employer that the job really interests you. If your main focus is on trying to get more money, they may think you only want a better offer from them so you can negotiate a higher salary with your first choice employer.

4. Focus on the interviewer’s concerns. Understand where the interviewer is coming from. Are you being interviewed by an HR consultant or your future boss? Seek to identify what the person’s interests, needs and concerns so you can satisfy their expectations.

5. Understand that there may be salary constraints. Sometimes, there is no way to negotiate a higher salary due to wage ceilings or a wage freeze. If that’s the case, you could always try to negotiate for more vacation time or eventual bonuses to compensate.

6. Don’t sidestep tough questions. Be prepared to be asked if you have other job offers or if you’re willing to accept the employer’s offer as early as the next day. You should be ready to answer those questions honestly and without hesitation so you don’t seem evasive.

7. Understand the real questions being asked. Tough or even “trick” questions are asked for a reason. Try to see what that reason is so you can reassure the employer by telling them what they are really trying to find out.

8. Negotiate everything at the same time. If you have several requests, state them all at once. Don’t ask for a specific salary, only to ask for a specific number of vacation days a few days later.

9. Don’t negotiate for the sake of negotiating. Some university programs, like MBA programs, include negotiation courses. Don’t fall into the trap of negotiating just because you’re good at it. You have to pick your battles.

10. Time your job interviews. If a company is making you an offer while you’re still interviewing with other employers, you’re going to find it difficult to make a decision. Try to synchronize the timing of your job interviews as much as possible, even if that means asking an employer for more time before a second or third interview if that job may still be of interest to you.

11. Don’t make ultimatums. No one likes an ultimatum! Remember that you’re the one looking for a job, so never tell an employer that you will only accept the job if they meet your demands.

12. Be patient. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard back from an employer as quickly as you had hoped. Big companies have a lot of other things on their minds! It’s OK to ask how long it might take to get an answer, but don’t press the employer beyond that.

13. Know that you can still negotiate later on. Sometimes you have to earn an employer’s trust to get what you want. That ‘no’ when you first got hired could turn into a ‘yes’ a few months later if you prove your worth, especially when it comes to work-from-home perks.

14. Keep the big picture in mind. Don’t just look at how much money you’re going to make. There are a lot more important things in life than salary. Know what matters most to you. You may find that accepting a lower salary is worth it for a job you’re going to love.


Source: CATANO, WIESNER, HACKETT. Recruitment and Selection in Canada (Sixth Edition). Pp. 500-503.

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