May 2, 2022

Tips for Renegotiating Salary

Eric Bank
Former Citadel Director of Business Analysis

Many employees, especially young ones, are too docile regarding salary. You might be earning less than you should, but the only person who can get you more money is you. Don’t wait for your current or future boss to recognize your value – consider renegotiating your salary now. We’ll share some tips on how to proceed with confidence and poise. Consider these when you next renegotiate your salary.

1. Perform Your Own Research

Don’t head into a salary negotiation before knowing what employees typically earn for your position. The internet hosts several job sites that will give you an idea of the current rate for a person with your skills, knowledge, and experience. Be sure to factor in cost-of-living issues, such as local housing costs, especially if you work from home in a location far removed from the office. Don’t be afraid to (discreetly) confer with your fellow workers about salary levels and cost-of-living adjustments.

2. Don’t Self-Sabotage Your Negotiations

Avoid certain subjects that have the potential to undercut your position. For example, please don’t disclose your salary history, as it should be irrelevant to the discussion. Don’t cut your salary request, and don’t negotiate secondary issues, such as your start date, working conditions, and remote work options. Peripheral matters only serve to sidetrack your salary request.

3. Negotiate Total Compensation

Don’t get too hung up on base salary if the company can provide other forms of compensation. Consider items such as a sign-on bonus, 401K employer contributions, relocation reimbursement, health insurance, travel allowances, flex plans, etc. Secondary forms of compensation can help close the gap between requested and offered salary.

4. Don’t Let Silence Freak You Out

Some employers introduce awkward silences hoping that you’ll blurt out something that hurts your position. A pause in the conversation gives both sides a few seconds to collect their thoughts and marshal their arguments. You want to display reflective thinking, not a me-vs-you mindset. A small time-out lets you put your best arguments forward and seize control of the conversation.

5. Don’t Be Afraid

Fear is the mind-killer. You need the courage to respectfully ask for a higher salary, knowing that it’s unlikely you’ll be fired if you fail. If it’s an initial interview, it’s highly doubtful that the employer will withdraw the original offer if you ask for more. Look upon your interview as an opportunity to educate your employer on why you deserve a richer compensation package and what the market is paying for similar positions. Many companies make low-ball initial offers, expecting subsequent counteroffers. 

6. Know When to Fold

You need to know when to walk away from your negotiation. Before starting the meeting, you should have a bottom-line minimum salary request in mind and be willing to reject an offer below that number. If your manager seems uncertain, give them time to think about your arguments. If nothing else, salary negotiations offer valuable life lessons that increase your overall comfort and sense of engagement.

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