T Nation

Salary Negotiation


Long story short, I'm going for a new job. But I'm not a skilled negotiator. When they ask what my salary "requirements" are, do I go high, and expect it to be negotiated down, or do I give them the true figure of what I will tell them to fuck off if they offer?


Depends. If you're highly skilled with ton of experience, go high. You may end up pleasantly surprised.


Definitely go high. If they accept, then it worked. But if not, then negotiate with them and get as much as you can. But before you negotiate a higher salary, you have to tell/prove to the company you are worth your asking price.

Just using example numbers: say the job pays 30,000/yr, but you want 35,000/yr. Ask them for 40,000/yr. There is a possibility the company will say no, and then start working them from there. Prove to them what you bring to the table in terms of work experience, skill set, and see where it goes.

The company more than likely will bring down the offer a few thousand bucks to around 35,000/yr. That way, they think they are saving 5,000/yr, but you just added 5,000/yr to your salary and it was what you were looking for.

Good luck, keep us updated.


Go high, but make sure you have ammo to support your ass when they ask you "why you feel you deserve the salary." Just feed them some sugar-coated rhetoric. When the ducks quack, feed them. Also. make sure to be well rehearsed on other stupid questions they will ask you. If your body language doesn't agree with the words your spitting out your efforts will be a waste of time.

What type of construction shit do you do?

If they reject you, you could always tell them to shove something in your ass. like a pepperoni stick, haha

Good luck man.


It depends...

You don't go so high as to be ridiculous.

You do however go higher than what you are willingly to accept as a worst case.

I can't give you a percentage of how much over the amount you are willingly to accept - that's up to you.

Know your own worth.

That's how I did it and I was happy.

I was honest. I said what I WANTED. And I said what I would ACCEPT (5k diff). I was given what I wanted since I had proven my worth.

Fair days pay for a fair days work is very true.

Show them what you are worth, ask for it and you will get it. A boss would be stupid otherwise.


They will expect you to go high. So even if you say what you think if fair (to you and them) they will expect to counter-offer you a lower salary. As other have pointed out, there is what you like and what you will accept. Start with what you would like.

Also, consider none monetary compensation as well. Paid days off, control over work hours, health insurance, etc. Hell, I negotiated an extra grand to cover my gym membership once. (I was switching from a job that included a free membership to one that did not). I used the cost of the year gym membership and rounded up. I got the money and then switched to a cheaper gym.

Good luck.


It depends on how in demand your job is. If you're a laborer, you don't have shit to negotiate with. If you have a skill set that is always in demand, you're in a better position.


I do Project Controls, i.e. Estimating, Scheduling, Cost Control.

I had been working Engineering, Procurement, and Construction oil projects in the Middle East, but got tired of living so far away. Now I'm going for a job that is Management and Engineering that covers road, water, and avaiation here in the states.


"I am sure a company of this size and experience already has a salary range in mind. Most importantly for me is that I make a good fit here and that we share the same values. I am quite certain that if I do make a good fit that an agreement can be reached, and that there are other intangibles in the package you can offer that are of high value. When the time comes, we can make this work. My salary requirements are negotiable. I'd like to make as much as your other employees with my qualifications"


Lowball them. It will really confuse them.


Be vague if possible and try to get them to be the first person to mention a number. Don't be afraid to not move on your price. IF you can walk away, you have the power.


This is probably a little wordy but overall I would concur. I own an executive search firm and my recommendation is almost always, if possible, to defer initially.

The reality of things is most companies can make a lot happen if they like you so the first step is to do a good job assessing the company and selling yourself.

Beyond that your best tact is almost always to communicate to them what was on your W-2 for '07. People get all worked up about what to communicate from a salary standpoint and the reality of things is it always comes back to what you are currently making and what it will take to move-on.

In some cases a lateral may be acceptable. In others, depending on market dynamics, who contacted who, etc. it could be significantly more.

I have watched more candidates blow themselves up by fluffing themselves compared to never having seen somebody damage themselves by just communicating directly.

Good luck.


Is it a big company or a small company? And is your job a relatively senior position or a junior position?


Big company and my prior jobs have been junior positions, but this will be my first (if I get it) moving towards mid-level. First time being paid salary instead of hourly.

I'm going to shoot for 5 a month. From what I've seen from others, this is higher than average, but not so high that they're going to tell me to get the fuck out of there.

Thanks to everyone for helping me think this thing through. Now, hopefully I'll get the job.


On negotiating I'd say go with percentages.

Let's say your last job paid 60,000 a year. Ask them for a 16% increase, which sounds better than a 10,000 dollar increase. When they start discussing numbers they will probably not drop as low as they would if you were discussing actual dollars.


Take the salary you want to earn and add 20% to it. This will give you room to negotiate should they make a counteroffer (they usually will). Don't set yourself up too high that you price yourself out of the market -- only you will be able to make that determination.

If you have had more than one interview with the company, which you probably have since you're already thinking of negotiating salary, then you've made at least some impression on them that they've asked you back for further consult. At this point, take yourself seriously and be prepared to prove your mettle.

If they ask you your current salary and you live in a state that doesn't consider it protected under privacy laws then confidently give them your rehearsed answer. If they can legally ask your named references for that information don't lie but tell them you won't budge unless you get a "significant" raise in pay. They will probably respect you more for being honest and forthright. This will leave the offer open and won't completely shut you out of the deal.

Above all, remember, this is a mutual exchange and that the end result is not them benefiting over you or you over them but that you both benefit; however, only you are capable of knowing your own comfort level with respect to income.

The more you interview the better you will get at negotiating salary.


I'm not sure if this is mentioned but the best strategy is to get them to tell you a range first. I play it like this "I have a pretty large range that would depend on a lot of different variables. How much does usually pay for."

A lot of people are saying shoot high but if you are some kid out of college and give anything over what the company is thinking they are probably going to think you are sort of misinformed and egotistical. I have given interviews where kids say some huge number very deadpan, "next please" is what I'm thinking.

OK, with that said if they will not give you a number first give as big a range as you can to bait them into giving you their range. If it turns out to be on the high end you need to make sure to say "Good, I don't really know if I'd accept lower than that" or something to that effect.

Good luck,


See if you can find out what they pay for the level of your position. Big companies often have an "approved range" for salary based on the position. I know here it's about a 5% difference from the top to the bottom of the range. You may be able to get more movement on non-cash components of compensation (e.g., paid vacation days, stock grant, etc.), or one-time things such as a signing bonus (particularly if you're leaving some bonus on the table by leaving your current position mid-year).

I would avoid the salary discussion altogether until you have an offer, if possible. Definitely avoid haggling over things until you have an offer in hand.

With a big company, you may have some leverage if they've been trying to fill the position for a long time (of course, if they've been trying for so long because they don't want to pay enough for market, then it may still be a problem).