Salary Negotiation Recipe

The interview is going well, you’ve jumped through the hoops, and it’s time to talk about salary before concluding the deal. What should you do? Simple: take the following 6 steps and get more money and greater respect from your future employer.

1. Accept Negotiation

You have to accept that salary negotiation is a normal part of the interview. There are several reasons you might not want to negotiate: you feel uncomfortable talking about money or trying to put into money terms just how great you are. Or, you might need the job badly, and don’t want to risk not getting it by asking for too much money. However, if you negotiate, and do so with the right attitude (step 6 below), your employer’s basic human nature will make it more likely that you will get hired, and hired for more money.

So what is the basic human nature of your employer? First off, people who are in the position to hire anybody negotiate already all the time. They won’t think negotiation is inappropriate or in bad taste. Secondly, negotiating about your salary shows confidence in your skills and in your person, and the employer will simply consider you a better candidate because of it.

Think of the negotiation in real money terms: the work that you are doing when negotiating, a few simple minutes of conversation, could mean thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary over the span of a few years of your career. It’s all there, you just have to have the courage to ask and initiate the process.

Finally, go into the negotiation with a concrete idea of what salary you would like to get. Do research on what they company pays, or what comparable positions pay, and specify to yourself a definite number that would make you happy and that you think you have a chance of getting. Otherwise, it’s easy to quit at the first offer and say to yourself, it’s acceptable. A definite goal will make you try just a little bit harder during the negotiation.

2. Get the Employer to Make the First Offer

You’re past step 1: you’re willing to negotiate. What do you do when they ask you, “What do you expect in terms of salary?” Simply, try to deflect the question. Get them to make the first offer. Tell them that you don’t really know how much they pay, and that you wish they would tell you what they think is a fair offer.

If they make the first offer, you might be surprised by how good it is. If the offer is low, lower than you expected, you should bracket: make a counter offer that is as far away from your target salary as the offer that they made (for example, you would like to earn 75K, they offer 70K, so you suggest 80K). Many people feel that splitting the difference is the fair thing to do, so even though they might scoff at your high offer, you will wind up with the amount you were hoping for.

In case of a low offer, you can also complain and plead without making a counter offer. Say that you’re surprised and you think what they’re offering is really low – you don’t know what the true salary is, but you couldn’t accept the job at this rate. Make this simple statement, then shut up. Let them pick up the conversation, and they will usually come back with a better offer.

Finally, quote some competition. Whether or not you have other offers, you can give them a concerned look and say, “I really like this position, but I have to tell you I think the salary is low. I was offered [some amount] just last week at [some other company]“. Again, make the statement, and let them take up the negotiation.

3. Otherwise, Give Your MPP

Sometimes, the employer refuses to make the first offer. He might be a seasoned negotiation hound, or might have some other stubborn reasons. What to do when you are absolutely the one who has to go first?

In this case, you should start with your maximum plausible position (MPP). The MPP is the highest amount you could possibly ask for with your qualifications and for the position you are applying for. How can you know what this is? Again, do some research beforehand. Talk to friends. Chances are, the MPP is much higher than you think it is.

An important thing to add is that, when your MPP is uncertain, you should make the offer with an implication of flexibility. Say something like, “From everything I know about what [company X] pays for [position y], I think [some amount] would be fair”. Making the offer in this way, even if it is too high, makes it possible to negotiate further.

4. Make Other Trade-Offs

In case the salary gets stuck at a level that you think is low, and you feel that there’s no hope of making the employer budge, you can still force other concessions that can make the overall package better. First off, say that the offered salary is less than you expected. Add that you are willing to accept it at present, if the employer is willing to agree to negotiate a raise in 3 months. You can also ask for reduced responsibility, for less working hours, or for other benefits like a paid phone (in case you don’t already get it), a gym membership (if the company offers it otherwise, but not to you), or that they should consider your commuting costs as part of your working time.

It’s critically important to accept their offer conditional on these other concessions. If you accept the offer first, the employer has no incentive to give you anything more.

5. It’s Smart to be Dumb

Play dumb during the salary negotiation. Specifically, take time to think things over, ask for explanations, ask for things to be repeated, show your surprise at low offers, and plead naively for a higher salary. If there’s no satisfactory agreement in the end, ask for time to consider the offer instead of making the decision on the spot.

You’ve already proven your expertise for the job. Not being authoritative during the salary negotiation won’t hurt; in fact it will help. First off, it will diffuse the competitive spirit that comes along with negotiation. Second, it will give you more time to think, and to get into the negotiation rather than nervously accepting any offer because you want to appear confident. Finally, it might make it easier to negotiate by getting into a bit of play-acting.

6. This is the Right Attitude

Finally, when you make your salary demands, be firm, be convinced, but don’t be arrogant, and don’t get combative. It’s important to maintain this attitude even in the face of possible theatrics that the employer might put on. When they roll their eyes in disbelief at your MPP, or they seem to get angry that you are challenging their offer, ignore this – it is as much a part of the negotiation game as all the things you are doing. Ignore the emotional displays, and focus on the offers and concessions that are going across the table. Keep working towards the amount you set out for yourself, and you’ll soon have a new job with a better salary.

Prepare for Your Next Salary Negotiation

Entering into a salary negotiation can be one of the most intimidating parts of the job search process. Knowing the correct questions to ask and the proper way to handle the situation easily can be the difference maker between thousands of dollars on your annual salary. Being able to approach the negotiation in a professional and informed manner can make the process not only profitable but also stress-free.

I entered my first salary negotiation extremely unprepared. It was my first job after college, and I was excited to have simply received an offer. Prior to my interview, I focused on honing my skills and responses. I spent little time thinking about my salary, let alone the necessary knowledge I needed to enter into a professional negotiation.

I quickly realized that I had overlooked a major component of my job search process. I felt clueless when the employer asked me about my salary expectations when offering me the position. I realized I should not have spent all my time researching possible interview questions; instead, I should have also devoted energy to investigating the position’s average salary and some negotiation tips. Although I felt confident with my responses during the interview, I knew my inexperience during the salary negotiation led me to accept a much lower salary.

Although this early blunder most likely cost me thousands of dollars, it helped me understand the importance of salary negotiations during my next job search. I quickly understood that employing a few simple tips would provide me with the necessary tools to confidently discuss my salary during my next job search.

When preparing for a salary negotiation, a perspective employee should begin by researching the average salary for the position. Luckily, there exists multiple websites that that provide salary information to perspective employees. I found of a number of these resources helpful, particularly when interviewing for a position outside my traditional field of employment. These websites allow perspective employees to not only research the average salary for a given profession but also the average salary for an array of companies-primarily large corporations. Having a basic understanding of the salary range for a given position allows for a perspective employee to develop a starting point during the negotiation process.

Knowing when to discuss salary requirements is also crucial to the negotiation process. Although an interviewee might be eager to enter into a discussion about the position’s salary, it is inappropriate to discuss during the interview process-unless the employer brings the topic up first. Instead, a perspective employee should wait until they are offered a position to begin negotiating their salary.

More importantly, they should try to begin the discussion by inserting what they feel is an amount appropriate for their skills and experience. By initiating the first offer, an interviewee is able to control the negotiation from the beginning and causes the employer to work around the presented offer-a crucial tactic during any negotiation. From my own experiences, making the first offer allows me to feel in control and significantly boosts my confidence during the process.

If an employer brings up the salary requirement first or responds to an initial offer with a lower counter-offer, it is appropriate for a perspective employee to reiterate their initial offer. This response should be framed in a proactive manner that highlights the specific skills, experiences and goals that qualify the candidate for the position. I have found that by reiterating my skills and discussing perspective goals, I was able to not only remind the employer why they had offered me the position but also was able connect clear, concrete examples of why I deserved my requested salary-a win, win situation.

While many employers may accept the salary requested by the interviewee, some might wish to discuss the offer with their human resource department-a common occurrence. A perspective employee should honor this request but also ask that the employer respond within a specific deadline. Stating that an answer is time-sensitive due to the presence of other offers positions a candidate as sought after and competitive. Furthermore, a perspective employee should restate their interest in working for the company to make them feel like their first choice. I have found employing this approach allows the conversation to end on a positive note and without any damaging miscommunications-such as leaving the impression the position is not your initial choice.

Finally, an interviewee should always remain professional during the negotiation. Making an aggressive demand or offering an ultimatum to a perspective employer rarely works. Being assertive is expected but being rude and pushy can cost a perspective employee the job. I always make sure to keep my voice level and ensure I am not taking an aggressive tone that would offend the employer.

As you prepare for your next salary negotiation realize it is normal to feel overwhelmed or intimidated. By following a few simple steps, such as being prepared and remaining professional, you can ensure the process is not only positive but also a confidence builder. It is impossible to build skills overnight, so understand mistakes are expected; however, being able to minimize those mistakes can add thousands of dollars to your annual salary.

Negotiation and Conflict Management Degree Courses

Conflict is a common factor within the business world but if it’s left unresolved it may become an increasingly problematic situation. The understanding needed to fix conflict and negotiate a solution in a variety of areas is utilized by businesses to help create a better work environment. Education inside a negotiation and conflict management degree program is broken down into courses that teach students to meet the demands of a business.

Degree programs explore negotiation and conflict management through a variety of subjects that include business-oriented courses and specific concentration courses. Many students work through education at the master’s degree level in both. Several degree and certificate programs allow students to choose a concentration making them highly proficient in one area of negotiation and conflict management. In the popular combined approach students should expect to learn what areas of a situation to negotiate and how to foster a resolution to a conflict where both parties leave satisfied. Education provides students with the ability to handle conflict and negotiation concerning individual employees, company groups, and corporate executives.

Business-oriented courses may include:

*Global Leadership

The impact of globalization is explored inside the confines of the ethical and political issues that affect the business world. A wide selection of topics trains students to develop a plan for operating in foreign countries. Global challenges, culturally diversity policies, and fair trade techniques are some areas that are incorporated into this type of course.

*Ethical Management Decisions

Courses like this one teach students to handle decisions from an ethical and unbiased standpoint. The four traditional ethical areas are discussed. These include rights and responsibilities, results, relationships, and reputations. The techniques to utilize precise decision-making are covered to prepare students to become an active member of their future business environment.

Negotiation and conflict management core courses are designed to teach students the different aspects of management as related to these primary topics. Courses may include:

*Conflict Management

Different approaches are presented on how to successfully handle conflict. Theories of management prepare students to work with employees on conflict regarding many issues. Communication, team building, organizational change, and litigation are some general conflict areas covered in this type of course. Students will learn to accurately find the source of the problem and resolve it.


Negotiation takes certain skills and courses that focus on helping students build their own personal and professional system. Fundamentals of negotiation are learned in regards to dealing with difficult situations. Students learn to prepare for negotiation by identifying the situation, people, and problem. Individual personality, strategy, and common procedure are subjects integrated into a typical course.

*Strategic Management

The overall areas of a business are discussed and students work to understand different strategies. Businesses internal and external components are explored so students can analyze a situation and prepare a plan. Strategies are applied to the complete structure of a business and its employees.

Accredited degree programs use these types of courses and many more in order to create intelligent managers for the workplace. Accreditation is proof that students will receive the quality education they need to succeed. Agencies like the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs ( ) are approved to provide full accreditation. Students can find a degree program or certificate program and start learning to become a negotiation and conflict manager today.