How to Negotiate Salary

How you negotiate salary depends on many things.

Here are three of the things that affect how you negotiate salary.

The size of the company:  Larger companies have structured compensation plans.  The plans have pay grades.  The pay grades have three levels: entry range, mid-range, upper range.  Smart hiring managers don’t hire people into the upper range of the pay grade.  If they did, they could not give the person a pay raise without promoting the person.

The level of the job:  For entry-level jobs, companies pay at or slightly above the market minimum, or entry range, for inexperienced people.  Companies pay all inexperienced people closely the same amount.  As a person gains experience, their compensation package becomes more complex and varies more greatly.  Job seekers have greater differences in their compensation based on their time in industry, their performance, and generosity of the hiring company.

The type of compensation plan:  Some companies pay based on performance.  People who perform better receive higher bonuses or commissions.  I have seen medical sales jobs and marketing service sales jobs where the base salary was half what a person had made in base salary at their previous company.  However, the performance compensation was three to four times their compensation at their previous job.

You can do many things to have a successful salary negotiation.

Here are three things to do to win when you negotiate salary.

Know the numbers: It is easy to know the value of a job in the marketplace.  There are pay range calculators online.  The top sites are and  Use these calculators.

Save everyone’s time.  Put compensation on the table before you start.  Ask the recruiter or hiring manager what the salary range is before you go to the interview.  During the first interview, ask the interviewer what the salary range of the job is.  You are not asking what they plan to offer you.  You are just clarifying whether your interviewing for the job is worth their time and yours.

Show the benefits.  Have solid reasons why you need the compensation you expect.  Show how your reasons benefit the needs of the hiring company.  

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Good luck with your interviews and negotiations.

Image by Jay Wren

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