How to Negotiate Your Salary Once You’ve Gotten the Job Offer
Let’s talk about how to negotiate your salary once you’ve gotten the job offer. Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!
Times are tight, and you may feel lucky to have secured a new job. After all, the Federal Reserve’s explicit mandate is to cool down a hot job market amid inflation, and many firms are downsizing. Even families with two employed parents are struggling to put food on the table with rising inflation.
Yes, you’re lucky, but that’s no reason to forgo advocating for yourself regarding salary. With inflation constantly bumping against 8% and a CPI closing in on a multi-decade high of 5%, now is the time to ensure your salary matches your skills and, in turn, your cost of living.
Unfortunately, many feel uncomfortable negotiating a salary after a hire. It may be from fear of confrontation, wanting to avoid “pushing your luck” so soon after onboarding, or simply a lack of understanding of self-advocacy. Knowing what sum to ask for and when it’s appropriate to start the conversation about money can be challenging too.
But salary negotiation is an art, not a science. The first offer from an employer is usually lower than what you’re worth, so it’s essential that you ask for more if that offer doesn’t meet your criteria.
Here are some best ways to negotiate a salary after the job offer.
What’s Your Worth?
This is the hardest part because so many of us are humble, but knowing your worth is critical to negotiating a salary. That’s where an honest self-evaluation comes into play, and there are a few essential steps to self-assessing your worth to anchor a conversation about compensation.
Websites like Glassdoor are fantastic resources to start with a broad idea of the industry averages for your position. Or to narrow your focus to a more specific field, look for salary guides in your niche, like this HVAC Salary Guide.
Although this data won’t be specific to you, your circumstances, or your company, it will still give a starting range to narrow your negotiating price.
Keep track of these industry norms using an Excel file or accounting template—you can use it as a reference when negotiating your salary in the future.
Certifications and Credentials
The more certifications or credentials you have to your name, the better. And we don’t mean a LinkedIn course on underwater basket weaving. You’ll want actionable certifications demonstrating a commitment to your profession and competency.
For example, if your new job is finance-related, a Certified Financial Planner certification can help prove to your new employer that you’re skilled in developing a savings strategy, budgeting, and asset management.
The more certifications and credentials you have to your name, the higher you can push the salary in negotiations.
Plan, Wargame, Plan Again
Mike Tyson said it best: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
You must be meticulous when strategizing your opening moves and responses to salary negotiations. It would be best if you went in with an airtight game plan. Here’s our advice on negotiating your salary after getting a job offer.
Open with why you feel you deserve a higher salary than offered. This is the first and biggest pitfall in many negotiations.
Don’t open up with a discussion of others—discuss yourself. Don’t say, “I’m underpaid compared to peers,” or “everyone else in the industry is getting paid more than me.”
This isn’t about them; it’s about you. Opening with complaints about life being unfair isn’t going to go well when negotiating salary.
Instead, open with your strengths and the value you can bring to the company. It might be best to write this down as an “elevator pitch” to recite to your new boss. Even if you don’t repeat the statement verbatim, it’s an excellent way to organize your thoughts and sequence your pitch.
Here’s an example for a salesperson:
“I have ten years of experience in sales and marketing. I drove sales, generated leads, and brought more than 20 new enterprise clients to my previous employer for a net revenue increase of more than $20M. I am a motivated individual with a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and the ability to think critically about different situations. I’m a team player and bring out the best in my coworkers. I understand the salary is set, but based on these and economic factors, I deserve 10% higher annually.”
There it is—quantified results but humanized to bring more than robotic number discussion into the conversation. This type of pitch, and opening move in a negotiation, shows your “whole self” to the employer and strengthens your position.
You also don’t “believe” or “think” you deserve a higher salary. You know. Confidence is vital in life, but especially in salary negotiations.
Your boss or hiring manager will consider what you’ve said, and here is where you need to practice for all contingencies. It doesn’t make sense to discuss every possibility here, but there is a range of reactions you may encounter. Some common ones to anticipate and practice responses for are:
- Punting it, i.e., “maybe when the economy is stronger.”
- Giving conditions, i.e., “if you do X, we can think about it.”
- “Let me think about it.”
These may be the most common reactions, but tone and inflection can make each of these vary 100 times between 100 people. It’s best to develop a shortlist of anticipated reactions and practice your response.
If your approach doesn’t work, it might be time to move on. If you are confident in your self-assessment based on history, credentialing, and industry norms and still can’t get your new employer to agree, it might be best to go somewhere your talents will be appreciated.
If you did lock it in, congrats. But your job isn’t over yet.
You’ll need to get the offer, or confirmation, in writing as soon as possible. It’s also best to have third parties present during the negotiation to provide backup. Either way, you’ll need a revised written employment contract.
Before rewriting the offer, also discuss how you want to get paid. Some companies provide the option to take your pay in crypto, which isn’t bad considering the financial uncertainty we’re facing today. You may also be able to invest in crypto through an employer-sponsored 401(k) or regular pension plan.
Be careful when making your investments, though. Just as over 90% of traders fail and lose money on the stock market, crypto traders can fail too.
After the Negotiation
Now’s the time to put that negotiation to work. You got what you wanted in return for a promise of hard work and value-add to the company. If you’re going to maintain credibility and keep the negotiating table open for future rounds, you need to bring your top game from that point forward.
The salary negotiation process is a delicate dance. You want to come out on top without offending the employer. It’s essential to have a strategy and know what you’re worth before you go in for the final offer.
And once you get that first negotiation wrapped up? Every salary discussion from then on is easy.