The Do’s and Don’ts of Salary Negotiation

Does the thought of negotiating with an employer make you feel uneasy? If so, you’re not alone. Nearly 71 percent of employees could be missing out on pay and benefits due to lack of salary negotiation. By not doing so, you could be leaving more than just money on the table, including working environment options, start date considerations and more. Negotiating the full range of compensation can be uncomfortable at first, but using these tips and tricks can make it a simple process with big rewards. 

Do your homework.

It’s an important aspect of any interview prep, but doing your homework prior to salary negotiation is extremely important. There’s a good chance that almost every job interview is going to ask you about your preferred salary, so don’t get caught off guard. Before you even begin the interview process, you should have an idea of what range you’re comfortable with. Spend some time conducting research on the current salaries of people with similar job titles to yours. You can find this information simply by doing a quick search online or using sites such as Glassdoor, where current and former employees can report their pay rate. When researching current salaries, make sure that you search by your current location, as salary ranges can vary widely depending on the cost of living in different areas. 

Don’t exaggerate. 

As the saying goes, “honesty is the best policy.” This is especially important when it comes to salary negotiation. Don’t exaggerate your current salary or job responsibilities when asked about them. Building trust with your interviewer is extremely important, and it’s not difficult to find out if you’re telling the truth during the interview process. Employers may ask to see past W-2 documents or pay stubs where they can easily verify your past earnings. Don’t risk missing out on an offer by exaggerating your past earnings. Be truthful during the interview and salary negotiation process. 

Do be confident.

When it comes to salary negotiation, confidence is key. If you’re going to ask for a certain amount of money, you should ask confidently and have examples of how your strengths warrant that number. Come prepared with ideas of how you can contribute to the overall success and goals of the organization. Be sure to highlight your past accomplishments and tell the interviewer why you are the best candidate for the position. 

It is important to note that there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is more about expressing yourself and your accomplishments in a positive way, while arrogance is simply bragging about what you’ve done. One way to make sure you’re striking the right tone is to do a practice run with a friend or family member. They’ll be able to point out if your messaging is positive or negative and help you make adjustments. 

Don’t bring up salary first.

While salary is important, don’t be the first to bring it up during an interview. It can be seen as disrespectful to talk about pay before an employer is ready to do so. You also want to make sure that you don’t bring up salary until you know exactly what the job responsibilities are. You may need to adjust your salary range requests based on the needs of the job itself. Let the interviewer make the first offer. Before that time, focus on learning about the role and sharing your enthusiasm for the opportunity.

Do think beyond salary alone.

After doing your research and asking for your desired salary confidently and positively, the company may come back with an offer that is different from what you had in mind. In this case, you should be willing to negotiate. Sometimes a company is only able to offer up to a certain amount due to structure and organizational rules. Be open and willing to hear offers that may be slightly different from what you imagined. In many cases, other perks and benefits may offset the salary amount. For example, some companies offer great benefit packages with health insurance, paid time off or gym membership reimbursement. There may be additional elements to consider such as work structure, company culture, hours and location. Be open to and willing to negotiate your salary by looking at the entire picture and what the company has to offer. 

Don’t drag out the process. 

If you’re going to negotiate your salary, make sure you put all your cards on the table at once. Don’t keep coming back with additional or contingent requests once the negotiation process has begun. After you’ve taken some time to reflect on the offer, make a list of what you’d like to negotiate. If you’d like to see more pay, prepare some examples as to why you believe you should be compensated more. If you’d like more paid time off, mention that at the same time. Don’t drag out the salary negotiation process by not presenting your requests all at once. Most importantly, never negotiate for a role you’re not really interested in accepting.

Salary negotiation can be daunting, but following these do’s and don’ts can help you approach the process with confidence and land your next position. 

Ready to find a job that fits your skills and interests? Visit to view our job openings and apply today. 

Work with a Trusted Healthcare and Life Sciences Staffing Agency.

We help companies find great talent — and great talent find great jobs.