So you have nailed the phone screen, knocked the in-office interview out of the park, and have been offered the job.  Just when you thought all of the awkward discussions and butterflies in your stomach were over, along comes the salary negotiation (cue dramatic music).  The salary discussion can sometimes be the most uncomfortable and difficult part of the hiring process. However, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be! With proper research, you can have a confident and successful discussion that leads to a win for both you and your future employer. So before drive yourself crazy stressing over the most tactful and effective way to bring up compensation negotiation, check out our tips!

Putting a price tag on your talent

Before you march into an interview with an estimate of what you think you’re worth, actually take some time beforehand to research the average compensation for your industry, experience level and area you reside. There are a number of online compensation resources to provide you with a plethora of salary ranges based on skill, industry, position and location. (One of our personal favorites is When reviewing your job title on these sites, be sure to pay attention to the job description, as titles and positions can vary based on organization. Also, be sure to put the appropriate geographic location as this will affect the results as well.

What affects your worth

Just like how fixing up your kitchen can affect the value of your home, certain skills and traits can affect your worth as a professional to companies. Such things as specific industry skills, experience level, education and unique experiences that have advanced you as a professional add to your value as an employee. There are also a few additional factors OUTSIDE of what you can offer as a candidate that can affect your compensation level, and those include geographic location, the industry you desire to work in, the organization’s size and financial status. Keep these parameters in mind when researching salaries to help give you a realistic starting salary range to leverage in your negotiation.

Timing is everything

Compensation is an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to finding the right job. However, it’s a delicate subject, and bringing it up early on in the interview process can give the employer the illusion that money is the only important factor to you and that you are not truly concerned with the overall bottom line of their company. Proper business etiquette encourages candidates to wait until the interviewer brings it up first, which will usually occur in the second or third interview, or at the latest at the time of the offer. Jumping the gun and discussing salary prematurely can result in you not being offer ANY salary or position at the organization at all, so make sure you approach the topic at the right time.

Think big picture

When negotiating compensation, don’t be shortsighted and only think about salary; you have to think bigger! It’s important to always keep the entire compensation package in mind. A compensation package can include salary, benefits, 401(k), personal time off, life insurance, working conditions and any additional perks the organization is able to provide. The overall package can also help to compensate for areas that are less than enticing, i.e. pay. Believe us when we say that good all-encompassing compensation packages will ensure long-term happiness at an organization.

Now that you have the fuel to back up your conversation, you can confidently approach your potential employer to discuss those Benjamins. Go negotiate!