Approaching and handling the discussion regarding salary can be difficult and uncomfortable. Use the following tips to aid you in your salary negotiation.
- Be truthful when discussing your salary history.
- Reflect upon, but do NOT disclose your minimum salary figure.
- Get the employer to name the salary figure first.
- When a range is named, affirm the top number. For example, if the employer states the range for the position is $37,000 to $47,000 per year, you might respond by stating, "$47,000 sounds fair when compared with the other opportunities I am considering."
- Consider the total compensation package. What is the value of your vacation time, healthcare benefits, flex time, etc?
- Never accept an offer immediately. Tell the employer that you appreciate the opportunity, but need to take some time to consider the offer.
- Be professional when turning down an offer. The people you met at organization A could be your colleagues at organization B in a year or two.
- Know your value: If the salary offered is lower than you are willing to accept, make a list of what you would bring to the employer, including background, skills, experience, and education that match the job description. When speaking to a hiring representative, show your initiative and desire to make a contribution.
Timing is Everything
Avoid discussing salary until you are offered the position. Delaying the discussion of salary will give you time to do research and determine your market value relative to the specific position and give you the opportunity to convince the prospective employer that you are the one for the job.
Do Your Research
Armed with information about the industry, the organization, its competitors, the function and the specific position as well as the cost of living where the job is based, you will have the leverage you need to negotiate the best offer possible.
Many employers will persist in requesting salary information, or may state that only candidates who provide this information will proceed in the interview process. First, try to respectfully change the subject. Some examples of how to direct the conversation away from specific numbers include:
- “I would be happy to talk about that at the appropriate time. Why don’t you tell me more about …?”
- “Before we get to that, let me make sure I am even in your ballpark. What is the salary range for this position?”
- “I am not comfortable discussing salary at this stage. Perhaps we can do so when we meet in person (or after learning more about the responsibilities)?”
- “For a person with the skills and experience you want, I would expect that this position would not pay less than ‘x.’ Correct?”
- “I do not wish to discuss salary until I develop a better understanding of the challenges of the position.”
- “I am sure we can come to a salary agreement if I am the right person for the job.”
If you are pressed to give a salary expectation, give a range. Use statements such as, “I am considering opportunities between $40,000-$50,000 in total compensation. Make sure that the lower end of the range is a salary that you would find acceptable.
Information adapted from Fletcher School/Tufts “Evaluating Job Offers and Negotiating Salary” (2013).
Many new graduates weigh the decision heavily on the salary offered. It is important to be aware of your financial obligations and income in order to set up a responsible budget and live within your means.
For more information and resources on managing your money and creating a budget visit:
University of North Texas Student Money Management Center