Stepping into a new job? Eyeing that promotion? Or maybe just taking a hard look at what you’re currently making? Let’s be real: talking money can be nerve-wracking. But it’s not just about blurting out a number and hoping for the best. It’s about truly getting that you’re worth every penny (and probably more!). Know the playing field, understand what’s going on in the industry, and bring your A-game to the conversation. Remember, it’s a two-way street, and you’ve got every right to steer it towards a win-win. So, take a deep breath, and go in with confidence! You got this, sister. Here are 10 keys to negotiating your salary:

Start Negotiating Early:

Asking about the budgeted range for the role provides you with a benchmark. It gives you a sense of the company’s valuation of the position and where they might be willing to flex. Knowing the salary range upfront can help both you and the recruiter determine if there’s a mutual fit. If their range is significantly below your expectations, it might be better to realize this sooner rather than later, saving time and effort for both parties.

Demonstrating that you’re aware of the importance of aligning expectations early can position you as an informed and forward-thinking candidate. This proactive approach might differentiate you from other candidates who might shy away from discussing compensation early on.

Once you have the initial range, you can delve deeper into the specifics of the compensation package. For instance, if the upper limit of their salary range is lower than your expectation, you can explore other areas such as bonuses, benefits, or stock options that might bridge the gap.

Guard Your Current Salary:​

Never disclose your current earnings. Some jurisdictions even prohibit employers from asking. You want to be evaluated based on your worth and not past earnings. 

By disclosing your current salary, you might inadvertently give the recruiter a starting point, or an “anchor,” for negotiations. This anchor might limit their offer, especially if your current salary is below the market average for the position you’re applying for. Your potential value to a new company isn’t necessarily tied to what you earned elsewhere. By not disclosing your current salary, you emphasize that the offer should be based on the job’s responsibilities, the current market rate, and your qualifications.

When asked about your current earnings, redirect the question to focus on the role at hand. A response like, “I’d like to focus on the value I can bring to this position and what a fair compensation would be based on the market rate and the job’s responsibilities” can be effective.

Gather Information During Interviews:

Interviews are an invaluable opportunity to not only present yourself as a strong candidate but also to gather crucial information about the role and the company. Approaching the interview as a reciprocal process can put you in a stronger position when the time comes to negotiate. Here’s a more detailed look:

Dive deep into the role’s expectations. This not only helps you gauge your fit but also assists in assessing the role’s value, which will be critical in salary negotiations.

Understanding how the team functions, its size, and its hierarchy can give you insights into where you’d fit and how pivotal your role might be. A critical role in a smaller team might have more negotiation leverage than a similar role in a larger team. Identify the primary challenges the company or team is facing. If your skill set directly addresses these challenges, you have a unique selling point which can be a powerful tool in salary negotiations.

Resist Pressure:​

Salary negotiations can sometimes involve high-pressure situations where recruiters, or your boss might push for you to name a figure. It’s all about keeping your cool and having a game plan. If you’ve got history with this company, use that knowledge to your advantage. Here’s a little playbook on how to stand your ground and lead the conversation when they push you to name your price:

Understand Their Tactics: Recognize that applying pressure is a negotiation tactic. By understanding this, you can avoid feeling cornered or anxious, ensuring that you don’t undersell yourself.

Offer a Range: If pressed for a number, provide a range where the low end is around your desired salary. This approach gives the impression of flexibility, while still anchoring the conversation around your terms.

Reiterate Your Value: Instead of immediately sharing a figure, reemphasize the unique skills, experiences, and value you bring to the role. By framing the conversation around your qualifications, you steer the discussion back to why you deserve competitive compensation.

Ask Questions: Redirecting by asking questions can be an effective way to alleviate pressure. Queries like, “What’s the budgeted range for this role?” or “What does the typical compensation package look like for this position?” can pivot the conversation.

​Remember, It’s a Conversation: Treat the negotiation as a conversation, not a confrontation. Maintain a calm and professional tone, even if the pressure escalates.

Understand Big & Small Company Dynamics:

In sizable companies, salary determinations may be systematic, overseen by a dedicated “compensation committee.” Approach your negotiations with strategy, leveraging other job offers or fresh data to strengthen your position.

On the flip side, smaller outfits might not have such formal systems. But don’t let that lull you into complacency. Whether big or small, always come prepared, and remember, knowledge is power. Regardless of company size, your worth is constant. So, step into that negotiation room with confidence and make sure they see it too!

Interpret the Offer: ​

Evaluate the initial offer presented to you. If it seems low, ask for justification. If it’s moderate, recognize the need for a more persuasive argument on your part. A generous starting offer indicates potential for additional negotiation.

Win Hearts and Minds: ​

Navigating negotiations isn’t just crunching numbers and throwing stats around. You’re painting a picture, making them feel the value you bring, and shaping their perspective. It’s all about reading the room and striking the right chords. By making them realize you’re the real deal and a game-changer, you’re setting yourself up for a better shot at a sweet deal.

Research Thoroughly:

When it comes to talking about salary, doing your homework is key. Want to know the going rate for your job? Websites like can help you figure that out. But remember, there’s more to a job offer than just the basic pay. Think about other perks like stock options, bonuses, and how much tax you’ll be paying. So, always look at the whole package before making a decision!

Compare Offers Holistically:

When weighing job offers, it’s not just about the dollar signs. Sure, a fat paycheck is great, but there’s so much more to think about:

Company Trajectory: Is the company on the rise, steady, or facing challenges? Where a company is headed can impact your growth and job security.

Climbing the Ladder: How often do people get promoted? Are there clear paths to move up, or is it more of a maze?

Managerial Support: A supportive boss can make a world of difference. Are they known for mentoring and backing their team, or do they have a rep for being hands-off or, worse, micromanagers?

Team Visibility: Will you be a small fish in a big pond, or will your role put you in the limelight? Being in a position where your work gets noticed can be a game-changer.

​Remember, the best offer isn’t always about the most money. It’s about finding the right fit for where you are now and where you want to go. So, look at the big picture when making your choice!

Make Your Request Confidently: ​

Approaching the topic of a raise can feel like stepping into uncharted territory. But, it’s a regular part of professional growth and entirely within your rights. Remember, the key to a successful raise negotiation is confidence, preparation, and understanding your worth. It’s not just about what you’ve done, but also what you bring to the table moving forward.

Need a bit more help taking that leap? Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss takes you inside his world of high-stakes negotiations, revealing the nine key principles that helped Voss and his colleagues succeed when it mattered the most – when people’s lives were at stake. 

After a stint policing the rough streets of Kansas City, Missouri, Chris Voss joined the FBI, where his career as a kidnapping negotiator brought him face-to-face with bank robbers, gang leaders, and terrorists. Rooted in the real-life experiences of an intelligence professional at the top of his game, Never Split the Difference will give you the competitive edge in any discussion.