By Katie Warren
Insider, May 1, 2018 —
Hiring managers expect you to negotiate their initial offer.
You could probably be earning more money than you are right now — you just have to ask for it. But most people don’t.
A recent study by staffing firm Robert Half found that only 39 percent of workers negotiated their salary when they get their lost job offer. The firm surveyed more than 2,700 workers in 27 US cities.
Danielle Dayries, founder of career consulting firm DMD & Associates, Inc., told INSIDER that she has an advisory panel of recruiters and human resources managers on her team, and what surprises them most is how many people don’t negotiate their salaries when they could have.
“I’ve never had a hiring manager tell me they were shocked at someone’s salary demands,” Dayries said. “You know what they are really thinking? ‘I hope we can pay this person enough’ or ‘I’m nervous this candidate has other offers in the wings’ or ‘I really hope this works out.’ So, when you are made an offer and you do counter back, remember that they are really interested, or they would not have made the offer.”
Terri Wein, co-founder of career coaching firm Weil & Wein and Jobtreks, told INSIDER that it’s almost always to your advantage to negotiate a company’s opening offer.
“Hiring managers and recruiters often expect recruits to ask for more — as long as they are being reasonable,” Wein said. “It is a negotiation game. The hiring manager wants to get the best possible candidate for the lowest salary cost. The recruit wants the job offer with the highest compensation possible.”
If you ask for more money in a reasonable and confident manner, the hiring manager will understand that this is part of the process, she added.
Here are 11 tips for asking for the salary you deserve.
1. Practice your speech ahead of time.
Being prepared will make it less scary.
Cynthia Pong, a career coach and founder of Embrace Change, told INSIDER that the key to making an effective request for more money is to practice.
“Practice this with a family member or trusted friend ahead of time,” she said. “Chances are, it will feel scary and unnatural. So, like I tell my clients, your best bet at success here is to practice ahead of time.”
2. Know how much you should ask for.
Research the average salary for similar roles.
Amanda Augustine, a career advice expert for TopResume, told INSIDER that it’s important to have a reasonable number in mind.
“Use sites such as Paysa,, PayScale, and Glassdoor to research the going rate for the role you’re currently performing, taking into account your company’s size, location, and industry,” she said. “This data will provide you with a pay range you can use to base your salary request.”
3. Start the conversation with confidence and enthusiasm.
Confidence is key.
Once you know how much you should ask for, the key to starting the conversation is to be enthusiastic, confident and reasonable in your request, Wein said.
“Reiterate your excitement about the job, ask for a higher range in a firm voice, and express confidence that the person with whom you are speaking can help you,” she said. “State your case and then stop talking.”
Wein recommends saying something like: “I am so excited by this opportunity to join your team. Based on my previous experience, I would like a base salary ranging from $70 to 75K instead of $65K. We are very close. Can you regroup with your team and let’s talk later today?”
After that, the ball is in their court.
4. One you’ve asked, don’t ramble or backpedal.
After you’ve succinctly and confidently asked for more money, the ball is in their court.
Pong agreed that once you’ve asked for more money, stop talking.
“For many of us, even talking about money, much less asking for a higher salary, is difficult – to say the least,” she said. “So it will be extremely tempting to immediately backpedal and say something damaging, like, ‘…But I know you all have a tight budget,’ or ‘…But I really only need $_____ to survive.’ No. Stop yourself before you can even start any kind of qualification like that.”
Practicing ahead of time will help you feel more comfortable with this silence after you ask.
5. Keep the negotiations going.
Let them respond, and then keep the conversation going.
Once you’ve made your pitch and left the ball in the other person’s court, the person on the other side of the table will fill the silence.
The worst thing that can happen is that they say no, Pong said.
“More likely, they will say something that gives you more information about where there might be wiggle room,” she said.
They might offer additional non-monetary benefits such as fewer hours or new benefits. Or they might say they can give you your requested salary under certain conditions.
“The key here is to keep the conversation going,” Pong said. “Ask questions like, ‘I really want to take on this role at [organization], how do you think we can make this work?’ or ‘What can I do to help you present my request to [whoever makes the ultimate decision on your starting salary]?'”
Pong noted that an organization will only pay you more if they really believe that they will get a proportionate amount of value back from you and your work — so you need to convince them that’s the case.
6. Don’t apologize for asking for more money.
Don’t be apologetic for asking to be paid more — tell them why you deserve it.
Pong said you should avoid the pitfall of thinking you shouldn’t ask for more money.
“This goes especially for women, people of color, and others from marginalized groups,” she said. “Power structures definitely loom large here.”
Wein said that a common mistake people make is to be defensive or apologetic in their ask. Remember that you are self-advocating, she said.
“If you don’t sound like you think you deserve a higher salary, the answer will be no,” Wein said.
Instead of saying something like, “Do you think maybe it is possible to get a bit higher salary? I know I have only been making $65K but I would like to try to make more money,” Wein recommends trying, “I bring a lot of expertise to this position. Comparable positions pay $70 to $75K. [Make sure you have done your research and are prepared with specific comps.] Let’s figure out how we can make this happen and I am ready to accept.”
7. If you would still take their original offer, be strategic in how you ask.
Leave the door open if you’d still consider their first offer.
Be careful not to close the door on the company’s original offer if you’d be willing to settle for it.
“As a recruit, if you think you would take the offer anyway, ask in a way that you can go back and accept even if they don’t raise the offer,” Wein said.
8. When asking for a raise, highlight what you’ve already done for the company.
Keep track of your accomplishments.
If you’re asking for more money at your current position, you should clearly tell your supervisor what you have already done for the company and why you deserve to be paid more.
“Asking for a raise is similar to salary negotiation during a job search,” Wein said. “The added information is to make your case for both the value you have brought to your current job and your vision/ideas on future projects.”
Dayries told INSIDER that she recommends tracking your accomplishments on an ongoing basis.
“I suggest my clients have a calendar reminder set up every quarter where they jot down their accomplishments – this is a great time to update LinkedIn too,” she said. “Then, document your value by researching compensation trends, salary surveys through professional associations or networking with professional colleagues and even recruiters.”
That way, you have a list of evidence proving your value to the company and why you deserve more money.
Dayries said you shouldn’t be discouraged if your supervisor doesn’t seem immediately convinced.
“Keep in mind, pay raises often require a little back and forth — remain positive and confident,” she said.
9. Keep your boss’ personality in mind.
If they like being straightforward, you should be, too.
It’s a good idea to take your boss’ personality and work habits into account before initiating a conversation about salary, Augustine said.
“If your manager prefers people who don’t beat around the bush, schedule a meeting with a clear objective: ‘I’d like to schedule some time with you to revisit my salary,'” she said. “If your boss prefers a less direct approach, you may want bring up the subject during your next one-on-one meeting.”
Being mindful about how you approach this conversation can make all the difference.
10. Be professional.
Take a professional and friendly approach when asking for more money.
Don’t make the mistake of taking a combative approach when you ask for a salary increase or giving them a demand of “give me a raise or I quit,” Virginia Capezio, a senior human resources consultant at TriNet, told INSIDER.
“This type of approach doesn’t support your worth to your employer and is not conducive to kicking off a thoughtful conversation,” she said. “If you have a job offer from another company that comes with a higher salary and are really prepared to leave your employer if they can’t give you a raise, you can let them know in a friendly, professional manner. People tend to not respond well to ultimatums.”
11. Be open to compromise.
Sometimes you have to agree on a middle ground.
If your employer can’t or won’t match your exact salary demands but you’re happy overall with your job, you may want to consider a compromise, Capezio said.
“Your employer may be able to give you a compensation increase that is lower than your ask or they may be able to promise you that they will revisit your request a few months down the road,” Capezio told INSIDER. “You also may be able to negotiate for other perks like the ability to work from home, flex scheduling, or certain other benefits.”