Negotiating your salary at a new job? Here’s exactly what to say.

Exactly What to Say in Your Salary Negotiation for a New Job

You’re well researched, you know your numbers, and you’ve calmed your nerves. Let’s get ready to rock and roll. But before you walk in that door for your salary negotiation, let’s go over a few situations you may find yourself in and how to respond.

1. They want to have your salary negotiation over the phone or email

Tell them you’d prefer to be able to see them as you discuss this. There’s way too much that can get lost in the nuances of salary negotiation and because of the double bind (remember that fun thing?), not getting to express empathy and appreciation through eye contact and body language, can really hurt women. However, make sure they give you the offer in writing after the in-person meeting.

“This is an important conversation, can we jump on a call to discuss?”

2. They ask about your current salary

Depending on where you live, this may be illegal to ask during a salary negotiation. The Salary History Ban is a new piece of legislation that bars companies from using a candidate’s previous pay to determine how much to offer them. This is meant to aid marginalized groups who typically make less often due to unconscious bias.

“I’d like to learn more about the role and the responsibilities before we have any concrete conversation about compensation.”

3. They ask for your number

There is varying advice out there on whether or not you should be the first to say a number in a salary negotiation. If you’d prefer they make the first offer, here are some ways you can respond:

  • Option A: “ I’d love to give you a figure but I’m afraid I may go too high and lose the opportunity. If you can share your budget, that will help us get to a figure that works for both of us.”
  • Option B: “According to my research, a typical rate for a person with my experience makes between $65,000 and $79,000. Because I’m a top performer, I’d be looking for the higher end.” Then share examples of why you should earn the high end.
  • Option C: “I would prefer to learn more about the position and how I could contribute to your team before discussing salary.”
  • Option D: “You have a reputation for paying a competitive salary. I expect to fit within your range. Can you tell me what it is for this position?”

4. They low-ball you

It can be startling if they lowball you during a salary negotiation. Counter with your “Feelin’ good” money number (the highest based on your market research) and reiterate that you’re a top performer, using past accomplishments as evidence that you’re worth it.

  • Option A: “X is a great starting point, but I’d like to discuss this further.”
  • Option B: “I was a little surprised at the base salary. It came lower than what I’ve seen in the market. Can we discuss?”
  • Option C: “What can we figure out together to get this closer to what I’m looking for?”
  • Option D: “I definitely understand budgeting issues, and I want to be as flexible as possible to work with your team. I’m excited about
    joining your company, and would like to explore whether x is possible given my specific experience and skill set.”

5. You low-balled yourself

Sometimes no matter how much we prepare, our nerves get the best of us and we lose our cool during a salary negotiation. We’ve all been there. If you’ve offered a lower number than you mean to, you can’t go back, but you CAN remind them that you’re aware it’s below market and you hope that it demonstrates how much you want to work there.

“I’m aware this number is below market rate for what someone in this position with my years of experience. Because of that, I’d love to explore full compensation and an accelerated promotion schedule (or a signing bonus if that makes sense).”

6. They won’t budge

This is the time to bring up full compensation, or total compensation. It’s also a good idea to shift focus from the salary negotiation to what you’re going to do for the company moving forward, to get them excited and want to pay you more! If they still won’t budge, ask them when is the next time you can discuss this with them and make sure you know exactly what they need to see from you to get a raise.

“I’m still very enthusiastic about joining the company. Can we explore ways to increase my total compensation to close the gap?”

7. You have an offer from another company

Congratulations, you’re crushing it! This is a great opportunity to use leverage in a salary negotiation, but be sure to stress your enthusiasm for the offer and the company you’re speaking with.

  • Option A: “I’ve received another offer from x company that’s very compelling on salary, but I really love the mission of your company and think that it would overall be a better fit for me. Is there a way we can get closer to x salary?”
  • Option B: “They’re offering me x amount of money so how can we figure out a scenario in that respects the budgetary restraints here
    but gets closer to what I’m looking for?”

8. They give you an offer on the spot verbally

Amazing work! But here’s the thing: ask for more time. Your goal is to buy as much time as you can. This will allow you to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward, which will increase your chances of succeeding in your salary negotiation.

“Wow, thank you! This is a major life decision and I’d like to take some time to think on it. Can I get back to you within the next week?”

In Short, remember that you’ve done your research and you know your worth. Don’t always feel like you need to have an answer for their questions right away, and remember, if you’re at this stage in the process, they want YOU!

Want to take the next step on the path to a higher salary? Enroll in our salary negotiation course today! On average participants earn a 15% raise!

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