How to Negotiate Salary or Ask for a Raise: Simple Steps to Getting the Salary You Deserve

BY GoodCall

How to Negotiate Salary or Ask for a Raise: Simple Steps to Getting the Salary You Deserve

Many people find conversations about salary extremely awkward. This could be chalked up to good manners – there is that old dinner table rule to avoid talk about money, politics, or religion. But when it comes to the workplace, salary talk cannot – and should not – be avoided. Research shows that women and young people are two groups less likely to negotiate their salary, and by failing to do so, are leaving thousands of dollars in earnings on the table.

Thankfully, there’s no real reason to feel awkward. Your employer fully expects salary conversations to come up, and strong managers will actually encourage their employees to have them. A salary negotiation can go smoothly by following a few simple steps. Select the scenario that applies to you to learn the ways you can negotiate your way to the salary you deserve.

Discussing Starting Salary with a New Employer

Asking for a Raise at Your Current Company

Discussing Starting Salary with a New Employer

Discussing starting salary with a potential or new employer is your prime opportunity to start off on the right foot financially.

Prepare before interviewing

Part of preparing for an interview is doing research on the company itself and the industry. When studying industry-wide info, you should gather a typical salary range for the role you’re interested in. While every company is different, this gives you a general idea of what you can expect for your position, and will be good for reference when you’re asked about your desired salary.

Also prepare by doing a bit of mental math. It’s considered appropriate to ask for a salary 10-20% higher than what you’re currently making, so be sure to have that calculated and in your mind.

During an early interview

You may be asked about salary during an early-round interview with a potential employer. At this early point in the job hiring process, they are just making sure the compensation you’re looking for is in alignment with what they’re planning to offer. There is no need to get into details like an exact number; instead, offer a salary range that aligns with the industry standard you discovered in your research.

Ask for a salary 10-20% higher than what you're currently making.Of course, you should also tailor this specifically to your qualifications and experience. Go up if you are extremely experienced or have recently achieved a qualification that should bump up your salary, such as an additional degree. But stick to the middle of the spectrum or slightly below if this is a starting position for you.

You can also refer back to that 10-20% bump from your current salary as a good point of reference for your desired range. If the interviewer does ask you what you currently make, be honest, as this is information they could definitely get access to if they chose to do so.

Final negotiations post-offer

Congratulations! You’ve got a job offer, and this will include a proposed salary. At this point, the first and most important step in the negotiation process is just being confident enough to start the conversation. If you’re struggling with feeling awkward about this, remember that they just offered you a job! You are wanted at this company, and that gives you serious negotiating power. Still getting cold feet about speaking up? Just think about this scenario for motivation:

You accept the salary the company has proposed today, though it is lower than you had hoped for, and start work. A few months down the road, you learn through the office grapevine that someone in your same position is making 10% more than you! You know you had more qualifications when you came in, and it’s clear you’ve been performing better in the last few months. You were without a doubt the better hire, for the same role, but you’re getting paid less.

The above situation happens all the time to those who choose not to negotiate. So don’t hang back – kick off the conversation! If you’re nervous about seeming ungrateful or uninterested in the positionThings to Consider When Negotiating Salary-, kick off your counter-offer in a way that emphasizes you truly are enthusiastic about the role and the company – just not at that salary.

Ask for the salary you are more comfortable with, and state your case by emphasizing your qualifications and the unique strengths you can bring to the company. Explain why you think that salary is appropriate by referencing the industry standard you have researched.

Finally, keep in mind that salary is just one part of the package this company is offering. Check out this list of other considerations that could be just as important and/or valuable to you; if they are
included in your offer, factor that into your salary asks.

  • Company equity
  • 401K
  • Health insurance
  • PTO
  • Signing bonus
  • Annual bonuses
  • Flexibility – WFH, etc.
  • freebies – meals, exercise classes, etc.

Asking for a Raise at Your Current Company

Don’t wait around for the promotion and/or pay bump you think you deserve. If you believe your accomplishments merit a raise, start the conversation today!

An ongoing conversation

You’re more likely to have success in getting a raise if it doesn’t come out of the blue. Make this an ongoing conversation with your manager. Start far in advance by setting goals for yourself, and making your manager aware of these goals; this will give you concrete evidence to point to when you ask for a raise after achieving them.

Also, be sure to make your manager aware of responsibilities you’re starting to take on above and beyond your job description. Keeping an ongoing dialogue about your accomplishments will give your request for a raise validity, and ensure that you’re remembered when leadership discusses opportunities for advancement.

State your case

During the actual conversation, confidently state your case using concrete evidence of your achievements. Keep company culture and your role in mind here – if your job is all about data, you definitely need to have the concrete numbers to back up your success. If you’re in a more creative role, feel free to bring examples of your best work in to your meeting to show as examples.

2You should also explain why you believe your request is appropriate. Here, you can reference your company’s norms for pay increase based on tenure or position changes, as well as where your current salary fits in the industry range. Lastly, keep in mind that the general amount for merit-based raises is no more than 5%.

Lastly, keep timing in mind. Some companies only give pay increases once a year, such as immediately following annual performance reviews. If this is the case, it’s not unheard of to go against the norm, but you will need extremely valid reasons to ask for a pay raise outside of this set time.

Negotiating pay doesn’t need to be an awkward experience. Whether you’re determining a starting salary or asking for a raise, the most important step is just developing the confidence to ask. Once you make the first move, you are only a few simple steps away from taking home the pay you deserve!