How to negotiate your salary

How to negotiate your salary

One of my goals for GRS in 2012 is to write more about earning money.

I quit my job a year-and-a-half ago to become self-employed, but I know that most people are employees, and I'm the last person who would suggest that everyone should quit their jobs and become full-time freelancers. For one thing, it's not right for everyone. It can be lonely, and it doesn't come with medical benefits, which some people need, especially those who can't get individual insurance at a reasonable cost. Depending on your career, it might not even be possible (never heard of a self-employed police officer, for example). And some people want to put in their time and leave work at work at 5 p.m., or just plain enjoy their job.

There are a lot of reasons why it makes more sense to be an employee, which is why I don't plan to only write about starting a side business or freelancing (although I do plan to cover those topics), but also how employees can earn more at their current job and make savvy career moves.

A History of Unsuccessful Negotiation

I worked for one company or another from the time I was 17 until 2010. And one thing I never mastered, despite my sad attempts, was the art of negotiating salary. There was the job I took because I desperately wanted to work for this company with great benefits and “just be an editor” (not an editor and secretary and event planner and marketing coordinator and graphic designer…). They called, offered the job, and I said “yes” to all of it without even blinking. There was the job where I tried negotiating — I even researched how to negotiate and prepared facts and figures — but felt strong-armed into taking the amount offered.

In both cases I was scared they'd pass me over. I didn't know what to say if they said “no”. I wondered if it was even possible to negotiate at either of these companies, or was it more that the common denominator here was me? So when I decided I wanted to write more about career strategy this year, I also knew I would need to bring in some experts. Obviously I'm not the best person to tell anyone how to negotiate their salary!

How the Pros Negotiate

Recently I spoke with Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich (the blog and the book). When Ramit was studying at Stanford, he got a group of friends together who, like him, were interviewing at some of the world's toughest companies — such as McKinsey, Google, and Goldman Sachs — and learned the intricacies of interviewing, negotiation, and writing effective résumés.

I interviewed him about some of the top mistakes people make when it comes to negotiating salary, and how to overcome your fears.

April: What is the biggest mistake people make when it comes to salary negotiations?
Ramit:
They don't negotiate at all. We concoct all kinds of reasons why — “The economy is terrible!” and “I'm just lucky to have a job,” and “They don't have a budget this year,” but really, we don't know if it will work because we rarely try. In our research of 20,000+ people, we found that most of us are afraid of negotiating for two reasons: We were never taught how, so we don't know what to say, and we worry what will happen if they say “no.”

April: There was one job offer where I didn't negotiate at all! I accepted their offer right away because, like you said, I was scared they'd rescind the offer or think I was being difficult. What's one thing can we do to assuage our fear of negotiating?
Ramit:
Practice relentlessly. I went from closing zero interviews to closing a double-digit percentage of interviews once I practiced — and practiced in the right way. First, practice in front of a mirror. Then, record yourself. Next, have a friend run a practice negotiation and videotape yourself. Most of us find this weird, but I find it weirder to leave literally millions of dollars on the table over your career because we don't want to take a few hours to negotiate.

April: What are the gender and age differences when it comes to negotiating?
Ramit: The data is clear that women negotiate far less frequently than men, costing them tens of thousands of dollars in the short term and millions over the course of their careers. They also use subtle phrases that cost them thousands, like “I think” or “I'm not sure, but…” There are very subtle gender pressures in a negotiation, so it's extremely important to practice and deconstruct any self-sabotaging verbal or body language tics that compromise your position. This can work well — my female students negotiate, on average, $10,000 in salary increases.

April: Wow. I use those phrases all of the time! But some negotiating tactics sound like they could be pretty uncomfortable if someone isn't good at selling themselves. Does successful negotiation involve sales techniques or some kind of Jedi mind tricks?
Ramit:
When I was younger, I had to get scholarships to pay my way through college. I ended up applying to 60-70 scholarships, and when I landed my first interviews, I kept losing again and again. I finally decided to videotape myself and I discovered a subtle tic — I wasn't smiling! In my head, I was a friendly guy. On camera, I wasn't coming across how I wanted to. Once I started smiling, I started getting scholarship after scholarship. Is that a Jedi mind trick? Or is it simply studying the process systematically? None of this is magic, but it does require some unconventional approaches.

April: At one of my companies, my boss was notorious for putting people off when it came to an answer about raises — is it worth “bugging” my boss? Do a few thousand dollars more make that much of a difference?
Ramit: Even one $5,000 raise — just one — can be worth $1 million over an entire career. And people who tend to negotiate a raise once tend to do so repeatedly.

Well, there you have it. It was me, not them. I was a young female using phrases like “I think” who was too fearful to ask for raises because I was always lucky to have jobs. I was pretty textbook, and a lot of that could have been remedied if I had videotaped myself. It's a powerful way to avoid common mistakes — such as not smiling or using weak phrases that undermine your efforts — and to gain confidence before you sit down with your boss.

If you're interested in more on negotiation, Ramit is offering a free mini-course that includes tips on overcoming fears about negotiating; the three biggest interviewing mistakes; the exact words to use to get a raise; and more. Here's a preview of what you can expect:

Do you negotiate your salary? If not, what has held you back?

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Joe
Joe
8 years ago

A self employed police officer would be a bounty hunter, or a mercenary 🙂

Dan
Dan
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Or just a private investigator.

my honest answer
my honest answer
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Or Sherlock Holmes!

T
T
8 years ago
Reply to  Joe

Or a security guard?

KS
KS
8 years ago

For women in particular, though many of the strategies certainly work for men, the book “Ask for It” is incredibly useful. The authors also have an earlier book called “Women Don’t Ask”. It’s a rather depressing eta analysis of many of the studies on negotiating and gender. The authors have found that when women don’t negotiate, they lose in multiple ways – they receive lower salaries, of course, but often less respect. And if they do negotiate, they can also lose because they will be perceived negatively.

Kate
Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  KS

I’ve found there to be an additional challenge for women trying to negotiate: it’s rare enough that when you do, employers either aren’t sure how to take it, or they think you’re bluffing. I wondered if this was the case in instances where I tried to negotiate, but I never had an confirmation of it. However, I recently sat on a hiring committee and saw the principle in action. When the male candidate tried to negotiate, the committee expected it and took him seriously. When the female candidate tried, the committee played hardball, figuring (openly discussed in the room) that… Read more »

Jaime B
Jaime B
8 years ago
Reply to  Kate

That’s terrible to hear, but great to know. Knowing that someone may think I’m not serious about earning more money through negotiation because I’m a woman just firms my determination in the future. It’s so frustrating that it’s two-sided – a lot of women don’t ask and when they do there can be all kinds of negative consequences. But, it won’t change if we women don’t change what is under our control – ourselves and our approach. Once enough women, whole generations of women, start negotiating for better salaries, benefits, etc then it will become part of the status quo.… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
8 years ago
Reply to  KS

Recently I was offered a payment that the Old Me would have taken instantly. But this time I wrote back, “Frankly, I expected more” — and went on to explain exactly WHY they should pay me more. I also included a ludicrously high figure that I knew I’d never get, but you have to start somewhere. We wound up meeting in the middle. I’ve never been a negotiator because I never had the self-esteem. It’s taken a few decades, but I am now able to say “I am worth it.” Of course, it helps if you can PROVE you’re worth… Read more »

SF_UK
SF_UK
8 years ago

The last time I got a new job, I decided what to negotiate for. I was staying in the same organisation, so I planned to ask for a 2 grade raise (bearing in mind that I was already close to the top of the proposed pay band). In the end, I didn’t negotiate, because they offered me a 4 grade raise, which I thought was very generous. Don’t regret it.

Avery
Avery
8 years ago

I haven’t negotiated my salary. I was nervous because it was my first salaried job and it was my only job offer at the time.

When it comes to raises though, how long after you start at company is it good to ask for one? A year? Two?

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  Avery

I dont think there is a set rule. Just watch for the time in which you did something important, or when you start outperforming expectations, etc…

When the boss notices you or has a good impression, jump on the oppurtunity.

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago
Reply to  Avery

Search for some of the more recent articles on salaray negotiations here are grs. I’d say that in the past 12-18 mos there was an article written that spoke about when to ask for a salary increase. I think it had to do with requesting an annual review if one is not scheduled. I’ve been meaning to look up the article too so if anyone remembers where it is… =)

MoneyforCollegePro
MoneyforCollegePro
8 years ago

For me, it was the restrictions of the state human resources that held me back. I repeatedly asked for raises and salary negotiations, but none of my managers could make the final decision. All salary raises had to be approved through State HR, and I could not receive a higher raise than any of my co-workers. The state tries to promote equality and in doing so, causes all of their best employees to fly to the private sector.

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago

Working for the government is a dead-end.

Katie
Katie
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

Not really. Depending on what you do (and that depending is the key word), you may be able to make a killing afterwards in the private sector or consulting, in which case it would be a stepping stone and not a dead end. Some jobs have very good medical and retirement benefits, in some fields you can get your student loans paid back…that said, I’m absolutely each field within the gov’t has its own problems.

pliglee
pliglee
8 years ago

Hm… I work for a non-profit so my boss is bound by a board of directors and budget when it comes to salaries and raises. He was disappointed last year that they didn’t raise our pay by more. On the other hand, when I first interviewed for the job, I gave a number on how much I wanted. Then I realized I would need more in order to live on my own so I called him later that day and told him I would need more. I still got the job and I’m on my 6th year here.

Isela
Isela
8 years ago

In 17 years that I have been working, never ever negotiated a raise, and I had received as much as 17% without asking.
But one thing I always said to my employer has been : ” I expect my salary to represent the value you give to my skilss and results”
Always worked….

Phil
Phil
8 years ago

I can attest that Ramit’s suggestion of practicing your negotiation and writing down why you should get more money does work. I moved from Missouri to Illinois last year, I got a number of job offers, but they were all for just a little more than I currently made, not enough to even cover the cost of living increase. I was nervous about negotiating since I hadn’t had to do it previously, but having written out my reasons for why I deserved a larger salary really helped. I was able to run down my list and after a few comments… Read more »

Kate
Kate
8 years ago

All negotiating here is met with a resounding no and we’ve been that way for about 10 years; I can’t see ever wanting to put myself on the radar like that.

Brenton
Brenton
8 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Might be time to find a new job then…

Kate
Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  Brenton

I love my job – after 17 years, I’d rather stay put than take a huge paycut to start over. When I read articles like this I always wonder why no one ever addresses the fact that in some workplaces, asking for money will only bring you (possible) trouble. I think you really have to take a hard look at the company dynamic before asking for more cash.

BD
BD
8 years ago
Reply to  Kate

Seconding this. Certain careers are so saturated, that asking for a raise may very well get you fired, because there are thousands of other super-talented eager kids willing to take your place for half your current price. I’m talking about the Arts, Graphic Design, anything creative like that. For every graphic designer with a job, there are probably 50 desperate unemployed designers who are every bit as talented as you, and willing to work for half your wage. And employers KNOW this. Most companies have zero motivation to give their designers a raise should they ask for it, and every… Read more »

Katie
Katie
8 years ago
Reply to  Kate

@Kate, out of curiosity, what sort of work do you do/what field are you in? and are you in the US? I’m genuinely curious, not trying to snoop! I’m back in school and was temping before my return, so I haven’t had a chance to negotiate a salary and most of my friends are concentrated in fields where negotiation is expected. Another portion of my friends are in academic settings where they get a stipend that has minimal wiggle room.

Kate
Kate
8 years ago
Reply to  Kate

@Katie I’m in an academic setting, and there are all too many people who would do (or try to do) my job at a lower wage. And good for you in going back to school. 🙂

Holly
Holly
8 years ago

I’m glad the previous commenters have had such success. That isn’t the norm. I’ve been reading Mika Brzeinzski’s newish book “Know Your Worth” about women and salary. It is both heartening to know that I’m not alone in this and shocking that many otherwise successful women struggle with this issue. And truly, many women also struggle with this at home too, even those like me who have a fairly equitable partnership with our spouse/SO. (For years, I ate cold dinners because my husband would get and eat his own dinner, without regard to whether our kids needed help with cutting… Read more »

Jaime B
Jaime B
8 years ago
Reply to  Holly

I had a little trouble finding this book at my library, so I’m correcting the spelling and title – small changes but made a big difference when I was searching my local library’s website.

Knowing Your Value by Mika Brzezinski

Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll be picking it up tomorrow.

John | Married (with Debt)
John | Married (with Debt)
8 years ago

Ramit is definitely the best there is when it comes to negotiating salary and for advice to land your dream job.

He hit it right on – the key is confidence. If you stammer or use “maybe,” they know you will fold easily.

abby
abby
8 years ago

that works great with a company you can negotiate with. at my company every job gets the same pay and its a corporate policy. so all company admins get the same pay, all engineers get the same pay. and its not even based on seniority. i’m a pay grade 10, i’ve been at this job for 5 years, if someone new were to start tomorrow as coworker with my same job description they are a 10.

but the information is good to know if i ever work at a company where you can negotiate your salary.

Carl Lassegue
Carl Lassegue
8 years ago

The main thing is to show that you will be a great asset to the company and by offering you the position, they are saying that they believe that you will be an asset. Once they are convinced of that most companies will try to keep their employees happy and that includes raising your salary if it means that you will be happier and will work harder.

Dorothy
Dorothy
8 years ago

I do negotiate my salary, although I haven’t always. I have to thank my sister for making me start, because she learned to negotiate first and hassled me relentlessly until I tried. My three biggest raises from negotiation were 100%, 50%, and 25% (at different jobs, two nonprofit, in a field where raises are typically small and irregular). So I’m convinced. I read Women Don’t Ask and found it depressing but fortunately inconsistent with my experience. I have been told I am very valued for being direct about what I want and what I deliver. I know from talking to… Read more »

Jade
Jade
6 years ago
Reply to  Dorothy

Yes, 19 Dorothy is spot on: policies “true but irrelevant.” Yet we still suffer the trend 66 Sherry brought up, i.e. pre-negotiated $, and I’ve seen both HR and recruiters blow up (literally) if I try to negotiate. Spent years negotiating supplier pricing, was never rebuffed in vulgar manner as was by would-be employers. Excuses/tactics? Hmm. Strongest position in trade is person whom doesn’t have to cede, hence ideas to block our attempts to negotiate!

Curious
Curious
8 years ago

April,

From your first line.. .One of my goals for GRS in 2012 is to write more about earning money.

Why isn’t your girl then to MAKE more money? And if so, will you be making more money by writing about earning more money?

Well Heeled Blog
Well Heeled Blog
8 years ago

I worked with materials from a gentleman named Jack Chapman (google him) and was able to negotiate a $2K increase when I first started my job and then a $6K increase after the first year. It takes a lot of practice, especially for women – because the consequences and perception of a woman negotiating may be, for better or for worse, different from that of a man.

Dave Hilton
Dave Hilton
8 years ago

I have a mentor who can accurately predict what the outcome of a negotiation will be, just from listening to the first couple of exchanges. It’s really more science than art! Many people have never learned about the real benefits they can get from knowing the dance…Integrative vs Distributive…WATNA/BATNA/MLANTA…Negotiation Continuum…etc. Just understanding the basics means you know more than 90% of the population. Salary negotiations are difficult because, in many cases, you have the perception that your employer has more leverage than you. But, most of the time, this perceived power imbalance is a fallacy. The small incremental costs of… Read more »

Jake
Jake
8 years ago

“When Ramit was studying at Stanford, he got a group of friends together who, like him, were interviewing at some of the world’s toughest companies – such as McKinsey, Google, and Goldman Sachs – and learned the intricacies of interviewing, negotiation, and writing effective résumés.” I get the gist of the article, but April/Ramit should not use employers that absolutely do not budge in salary negotiations as a proof point for having figured out how to negotiate salaries. In fact, chances are that a Stanford grad taking a job at one of the firms listed never had to negotiate a… Read more »

Anon
Anon
8 years ago
Reply to  Jake

Ehhhhh, I don’t work at a firm like that, but I’ve had the opportunity to hear bonus compensation meetings at firms like that. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if things are set in stone then why do they do a whole song and dance justifying large bonuses and approving bonuses? It seems to me that some thing must be negotiable – maybe bonus amounts or structure?

But, I definitely don’t work there and it’s easy to mistake a situation from the outside.

Jake
Jake
8 years ago
Reply to  Anon

The song and dance about bonus is driven by performance. Depending on whatever metrics the specific firm uses the individual’s performance is measured. The bonus is calculated using a formula that is a function of two main variables: total bonus pool size and individual performance. Pool size however is rarely a surprise (unless it is a very miserable year or esp. good year), and is predetermined. As an individual you cannot negotiate either the total pool size nor what your performance is. You can influence the latter with hard work, which is why the bonus is such an important incentive.… Read more »

Carla
Carla
8 years ago

I’ve never negotiated salary for some of the reasons mentioned and then some. As a Black woman its not so much that I feared hearing “no”, I feared having the rug pulled up from under me and having the entire offer rescinded because now I come across as an arrogant, entitled (…) woman who don’t know my worth. I should be glad to be in that position in the first place and so on. Race and gender does change the game in ways many people should be thankful they never have to face. Of course, it also depends on region,… Read more »

Sally+JPA
Sally+JPA
8 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Yes! And I would love to see more discussion of handling these issues related to salary in posts on GRS.

Steve
Steve
8 years ago

I think the only time I’ve ever negotiated, was for a job I didn’t even end up taking. It was right out of college. I got four offers, and negotiated the lowest offer up but only as far as the median offer; I ended up taking the highest offer, so my negotiating didn’t matter.

Since then, I’ve just accepted (or rejected) every offer I’ve gotten. I guess since it was always a raise from my previous salary, I felt like it was good enough. I am sure I have been costing myself quite a bit of money over the years.

Christopher
Christopher
8 years ago

I always find these articles both intriguing and frustrating. I’d love to play around with these techniques but there’s the underlying assumption that negotiating a raise is even possible. For many places, salary increases are on a fixed schedule and have little/nothing to do with performance. I work for the federal government and so I’m tied to the GS pay scale. Negotiating raises is simply not an option. I’d love to see an article or two on how to better position oneself when working in such an environment!

Stacy
Stacy
8 years ago
Reply to  Christopher

This is where I end up too. I work for a small nonprofit in the disability/human services field. If there was ever a recipe for “no room for raises in the budget” it would be us. I’ve been there 5 years and the raises are standardized and single-digit. Except for the year we were all under a wage freeze and no one got a raise. But at the same time, in the past 2 years there have been several 5 and 10% cuts to the rate that the state is reimbursing for the services that we provide, so the agency… Read more »

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

I can’t agree with this post enough. I work in a bit of an unusual field (software, which is unusual in a good way), in that once you have a few years experience, recruiters come looking for you, asking you to interview at their companies. In the last few months I’ve been contacted by companies like Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Hulu, and been asked in person if I wanted to talk to Facebook or Apple. This really boosts your confidence. It’s a lot easier to ask for more when you know that half a dozen other companies will gladly interview if… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

Hello April,

Nice job on the article. This is exactly the opposite of “blogging about being a blogger and selling ebooks”– writing about *what you don’t know*, interviewing sources, going for a broad audience. Excellent!

I’m self-employed, but I could definitely use some negotiating skills to set the price of my services. So I’m checking out the free course and will try to figure out how to transpose it to my own situation. I’m not afraid of negotiating (it’s part of life), I just want to be better at it. Thanks for the link.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago
Reply to  El Nerdo

ps – watched the video, was pretty good, not rocket science or any new concepts in negotiation theory, but a good demo

jim
jim
8 years ago

I think that negotiating for raises is certainly a good idea if your employer negotiates. Mine does not negotiate. However, is it realistic to expect $5,000 or $10,000 more for most people? Most people make under $75,000. So you’re talking more like 10-20% increases. That seems like an awful lot. Sure if you’re a Stanford grad looking at a $100,000 starting wage somewhere then getting $5-10k which is 5-10% more seems almost easy. But the median starting salary for a college grad right now is $35,000 if working in their field and getting $5k more on that is 14% extra.… Read more »

doug_eike
doug_eike
8 years ago

Negotiation of salaries, or anything else for that matter, is about leverage. If your boss perceives that you give value to the business, and you are willing to quit, and your boss perceives you are willing to quit, you can negotiate effectively. Negotiation without leverage is an uphill battle. Thanks for the insights!

Denis
Denis
8 years ago
Reply to  doug_eike

This is the best and most insightful comment here. I absolutely agree.

Squirrelers
Squirrelers
8 years ago

I think it’s a great point that so much money over the years can be left on the table just by being afraid to negotiate. This is not only the case with salary, but in other areas as well. For example, real estate. There’s no harm in totally lowballing and hoping to get a deal, yet some people feel like they’re insulting the other person. In any situation, it’s important to think about the downside, and often we’ll find that it’s not as bad as we fear. Many times it just doesn’t hurt to ask – and to be prepared… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

The easiest way to negotiate is to get competing offers from different firms. I just had to tell the firm I was interviewing with that I had an offer for X amount of money and they had to beat it if they wanted me to work for them. They did. This works for getting a raise too. If you interview for another job and get an offer, you can take it to your current boss and see if he will counter-offer to keep you. This last raise I got, I just told my boss that I missed the raise cycle… Read more »

Sara
Sara
8 years ago
Reply to  Amanda

I totally agree. This also applies to school merit scholarships. Tell the other schools what comparable or higher-ranked schools offered you, and you’d be surprised how quickly they match or beat the other offers.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  Sara

I agree with the scholarship part, especially for grad school. Always apply to competing schools — you may need the competing offers to get scholarships and work.

Lis
Lis
8 years ago

Long comment, but I thought I should let you know that the content in Ramit’s YouTube is really effective. (Yes, I am a real human!) I have always negotiated salary because I was taught to do it by a friend very early on in my career. I didn’t have any training or techniques (actually, what I was taught was to always ask for a small extra increment e.g.$5k). I watched the video and learnt a few things I could polish but I was also surprised to see some of the techniques discussed in the video as exact replicas of ones… Read more »

guest
guest
8 years ago

I live in a state where employment is very high and unemployment is just 4% but even still in this environment, some employers like to remind their workers that they’re lucky to have jobs. I’ve come to hate that phrase. Yep I’m happy to have a job, but that is no reason for people to stay at jobs they hate or jobs that treat them poorly. Anyway I think negotiating salaries is mostly for professionals, I work at a calling center, where they can hire anyone off the street. If I tried “negotiating” they would laugh. This is good advice… Read more »

Kathryn C
Kathryn C
8 years ago

That video is a cliffhanger. If Ramit is giving him the dollar amount he’ll pay him (50k), and the interviewee has to rebut with a higher amount, and justify in that meeting what he’s worth, the interviewee already lost. In other words, if you’re going in for a final interview and the first time you’re discussing salary numbers is in that “final” interview, you’re dead in the water. Kind of like if you’re going in to close business, you already kind of know that you closed it by the time you walk in. All the work is done before that.… Read more »

Sherry
Sherry
8 years ago
Reply to  Kathryn C

I have been a recruiter for over 10 years, it is is extremely rare where I have a situation that I don’t require at least a ballpark figure from a candidate before submitting him or her to a particular job. (I have worked as a 3rd party recruiter, as well as a corporate recruiter.) Even if they don’t want to give a preferred comp range, I get what they are making now (base salary + bonuses, vacation, etc.). I do agree everyone should be able to negotiate, but if candidates/employers are not do not start to broach the subject of… Read more »

Amanda
Amanda
8 years ago

Part of getting yourself in position to negotiate a pay raise is keeping your life simple. Much like the principles taught here at grs you put yourself in position to be choosy with your job if you don’t have debt. Doing this will make you more confident because you’re not afraid your offer will be turned down, which is one of April’s points. I negotiated a starting salary last summer. I felt I was confident and in a good position to do so for several reasons. 1. we live on DH salary so mine is unnecessary-I’m working only to pay… Read more »

Richard
Richard
8 years ago

What this article fails to mention and Ramit doesn’t really highlight either is that for certain jobs there isn’t any negotiation of salary. As one person mentioned federal civil service jobs, as well as many state and local gov’t positions have predefined and public pay scales. Basically, there’s very little to zero negotiation about pay and benefits. Also, for many blue collar jobs that fall under a labor contract or collective bargaining agreement between the union and a company, they sometimes have pre-negotiated wages that all new people or certain positions start at. For those salaried professionals, yes there is… Read more »

Tomspeak
Tomspeak
8 years ago

I have to echo the comments of Well Heeled Blog. I bought Jack Chapman’s book “$1000 a minute: Negotiating your Salary” before I was hired by the Feds, and it resulted in me starting out several thousand dollars higher than I would have. Since much of the federal salary used to be built on cost of living increases (we haven’t had one of those for two years) my initial higher salary meant that all of my other raises were better. The idea in the book is to only talk about money AFTER you are sure they want to hire you.… Read more »

Tania
Tania
8 years ago

I’m currently working for a small nonprofit that doesn’t have much flexibility in terms of salary. However, by being willing to do stuff that was needed for the organisation but was outside my job description, they have offered me additional work at higher rates to do some web based communications – and who doesn’t want to facebook etc in work time? They are also paying for me to attend training to do this. Its a benefit for the organisation as they don’t have enough funds/work to employ a specialist, and a way for me to improve my skills for my… Read more »

Tyler S.
Tyler S.
8 years ago

Definitely a touchy subject for a lot of job applicants – many people tend to be afraid of any kind of confrontation, and thus will avoid any argument or asking for more than what they’re offered. It’s amazing to hear of how much people have gotten just by asking!

As for me, I’m going to have to try videotaping myself practicing to see the MANY areas I’m sure need to be improved on.

treo
treo
8 years ago

It can certainly happen if you sell yourself right, and that’s really the goal. I’ve been with my current company for 4 years now, I did negotiate my initial offer up by $2k, but that’s all they could offer at the time, and it was more than I was making before even before asking, but then over the years, I really put in a lot of effort and got: 1st year: 5.7% raise (no negotiation) 2nd year: 13.6% raise (negotiated up from just 9.1%, plus commissions target of 16% of base salary) 3rd year: 28% raise (negotiated from nothing, commissions… Read more »

Jackie
Jackie
8 years ago

I haven’t negotiated in new jobs really for some reason, but I’ve negotiated raises and increased benefits multiple times in existing jobs. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

RubySongbird
RubySongbird
8 years ago

Since my company is about to have its 8th round of layoffs and our expense budgets are all frozen, it’s not exactly the best time to negotiate. Things have been along those same lines since I got hired, though. One day, I hope to have a chance to negotiate!

UltimateSmartMoney
UltimateSmartMoney
8 years ago

Unfortunately, not anyone can just try to negotiate their salary. Well, they can but they won’t get it at all. First, you have to be an asset to your employer. You must be good at what you do. This gives you some power when asking for salary increases. Can the company afford to lose you? If you are important to your company, then you can ask for many things if you have guts to ask.

MelodyO
MelodyO
8 years ago

This reminds me of when I worked for a bank as a teller years ago, and all raises were doled out supposedly based on both individual merit and the branch objectives as a whole. Even though the bank was making literally billions of dollars a year, our raises were always figures like, I kid you not, 26 cents an hour more. No negotiations considered. Which is why the bank industry has massive employee turnover, even though it must cost the bank more to constantly train new people than just give existing workers half decent raises!

John Bartal
John Bartal
8 years ago

Personally, this is an area of mine that I struggle with. There have been times in my life that I have found myself working for absolutely nothing, merely because I did not bother to ask about the salary. Granted, this position was not too demanding. As we all know, time is money. Taking into account the magnitude of the position and the responsibilities entailed in the job is something to take into account when you’re negotiating your salary. Great article, April!

Jessica
Jessica
8 years ago

I read a book when I was in college called, “Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office” which talks a lot about how women often don’t get raises because they don’t ask for them so I always go out of my way to not be that girl and ask for a raise at least one a year. Also, you are absolutely right that women asking for raises are perceived differently than men (so frustrating!). One of the most shocking days of my career is when I had set up a meeting with my boss to talk about a raise. I… Read more »

Verbos en Ingles
Verbos en Ingles
8 years ago

One thing I’d like to say is the fact car insurance cancelling is a dreadful experience and if you are doing the appropriate things being a driver you simply will not get one. Lots of people do are sent the notice that they’ve been officially dropped by their own insurance company and many have to struggle to get further insurance after a cancellation. Low-cost auto insurance rates are generally hard to get from a cancellation. Knowing the main reasons for auto insurance cancellation can help motorists prevent losing one of the most important privileges offered. Thanks for the ideas shared… Read more »

ks
ks
8 years ago

My husband got a job offer recently and tried to negotiate his salary. They were offering him an entry-level/just out of college salary, despite his extensive experience in a similar industry, as well as his doctorate. They said there was some wiggle room with salary, so he asked for a reasonable amount higher than the original offer, expecting they would come somewhere in the middle. He was confident, explaining his value to the company, but not at all arrogant or unreasonable. The company said they would discuss the salary the next day, but then spent the next few days postponing… Read more »

Gabe
Gabe
5 years ago
Reply to  ks

I agree with your “but then again…” statement. I firmly believe that a company like that wouldn’t be worth working for anyway. It’s their right to back out of negotiations but to admit that the potential employee should just be glad to have the job and take the lower pay is arrogant and unprofessional. If they came back with something like, “well, you’re more than qualified and worth that salary but we just can’t fit that into our budget so we’ll have to continue looking for another hire”, now that would be tough for me to walk away from. In… Read more »

Maria Rojas
Maria Rojas
7 years ago

I always try to negotiate my salary but sometime the companies offer you a offering him an entry-level salary :S

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