How to Negotiate Salary for new job?

Ashwin Honawar

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How To Negotiate Salary Tips for Your Next Job Offer or Interview

Lots of my students ask me this question frequently: “How should I negotiate my salary?” Understandably, this is quite an important question and hence I respond earnestly, with a lot of explanations. That’s because negotiating a salary isn’t really as easy as you might imagine.

Over the years I’ve seen highly qualified persons trying to negotiate their salary as though they’re bargaining over fish at the local market. This is the worst way of salary negotiations. When you’re negotiating salary, it concerns your educational qualifications, skills and experience.

Money isn’t the only consideration: your self-respect matters too. Therefore, the only way to negotiate your salary is in a manner that befits your professionalism.

If you’re planning to negotiate your salary, continue reading. I will be providing some vital tips that could help you bag the salary you desire, regardless of whether from your present employer or a new job.

Let’s therefore start by responding to the question, why do we have to negotiate for our salary?

Importance of Negotiating Salary

should i negotiate salary

Yes, negotiating your salary is important. That’s because your salary in many ways helps to shape the future course of your career while having a bearing on your personal finances too.

These in turn translate into your lifestyle and that of your family. A higher salary could ensure a superior lifestyle, afford better education for kids and provide a greater degree of confidence for your retirement.

Furthermore, negotiating your salary is important because pay hikes don’t come so easily nowadays. Without negotiations, you could get stranded on a specific salary level even as inflation runs amuck, sending your personal finances and lifestyle spiralling downwards at a dizzying pace.

Negotiating a salary gives you the confidence that you’re getting a pay that matches your qualifications, skills and experience. That wouldn’t be the case if you settled for a pay less than your expectations.

If you take such a job that pays below par, you might soon feel disgruntled, and wouldn’t feel like performing to the best of your abilities. This in turn means you would start looking for another job sooner or later that pays better. Often, disgruntled employees suffer from money-related stress and anxiety.

And finally, settling for a lower salary could prove disastrous, if you’re looking for a new job. Employers surely would like to know your last drawn package. Should your income be lower than the market standards, an employer could get the false impression that you’re not good at work. Drawing a lesser salary also puts you at a disadvantage when you wish to negotiate for a higher pay.

Before we move on to the further sections of this article, here’s something important to remember. That your salary is a reflection of your education, skills and experience.

If you don’t care about it, trust me, nobody will. Your salary is the clearest indicator of your progress in your chosen career as well as your life. Surely, you would love to project yourself as a successful professional.

Right Time for Salary Negotiations

when to negotiate salary

Since salary negotiations are so important for your personal life and career, we also need to look at what’s the right time to ask your boss for a raise or to bargain with a new employer.

As a rule, never ask for a salary raise when your present employer has made some huge profits. That would make you appear as an opportunist. While dealing with a new employer, the best time to negotiate for your salary is during the very first interview itself.

Avoid asking for a pay hike from your current employer when any of your colleagues has gotten a raise. That’s in poor taste. Your colleague could have gotten that raise because they might have given some exceptional performance.

That might not be your case and hence, approaching the employer merely because someone else has been lucky enough, will not work. Instead, it could backfire badly if you’re asked to justify a pay hike based on performance.

For jobseekers, never wait for the second or third interview to negotiate a salary. Understandably, some companies do not hire after the first interview itself and have one or two more. However, there are no guarantees of any kind that you will be invited for more interviews, even if you completed the first one successfully.

This simply means that you should negotiate for your salary at the very first interview itself. Usually, an opportunity will be presented by the interviewer. If not, you can initiate the negotiations.

If you’re experiencing some financial hardships due to reasons such as someone’s sickness in your household that requires extra money, by all means, go ahead and negotiate for a higher salary with your present employer. Asking for a salary hike and negotiating it is justified when your child is going for higher education and the household needs more money.

Now, let’s look at what you need to do to negotiate a higher salary.

How to Negotiate a Higher Salary?

You can take these simple steps before and during your salary negotiations. These are vital steps and could help get the salary you’re looking for, either with your current employer or a new place where you wish to work. Though these steps are simple, you would surely have to exert some effort.

Reasons You Qualify for Better Pay

reasons to negotiate for higher salary

Find out the reasons that could help you qualify for better pay from your present employer or a prospective one. There are several reasons that you could use. While negotiating with the current employer, it’s possible to leverage things such as the length of service since it indicates loyalty to the organization.

However, the strongest reason would be your superior performance. If you have executed some projects successfully, completed sales targets or done something outstanding that met and exceeded the expectations of your seniors, you can negotiate your salary.

Skills Based Pay

While changing jobs, highlight the years of skills and experience that you would bring to the new employer. Point out that such skills and experience come with time and showcase ways and means that it would help the prospective employer’s business.

At the end of the day, any new employer is only interested in how much you can deliver for their organization. If you present the case well, chances are that you will get the pay you’re seeking. In such a manner of negotiating salary, your experience and skills matter and not your educational qualifications.

Job Role

Another superb method to negotiate your salary with a prospective employer or current one is by leveraging your job role. To do so, read the job role part of a job post very carefully. Mark the areas where you have superb skills and those where you lag.

Harp on your strong skills and build your case for a salary hike based on the number of roles you would be playing and negotiate on this basis. Usually, nowadays, a lot of companies hire a single employee for multiple roles. This makes your case stronger, should you be able to fulfil all these roles effectively.

Rarity of Skills

If your skills are rare in a particular geographical area, you can negotiate your salary without any reservations. That’s because, in the US, certain skills are in demand in some areas and others in different areas.

That doesn’t mean that a specific skill isn’t needed in a particular area. However, due to lower demand, most people with that skill would be working at other locations. If you get lucky and there’s a demand for this skill in your area suddenly, this is a very good reason to negotiate your salary.

Seniority Linked Salary

And finally, leverage your seniority for negotiating a salary hike. This is possible only when you’ve worked for a considerable period with an employer and have a strong performance under your belt to use as a bargaining chip.

The very fact that your employer has retained your services for so long is because you’re now well-versed with all internal processes at the workplace. Usually, employers reward senior employees with higher pay as a token of appreciation for their long and uninterrupted services.

Getting Prepared to Negotiate Salary

Before you get down to actually negotiating salary, it’s better to be prepared. There’s an old adage that states: “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” This axiom holds true in most features of our lives but also when we’re hoping for a better pay and willing to negotiate.

get ready to negotiate salary offer

Research the Market

Thanks to the Internet, there are countless resources you can use to find out prevailing salaries for any specific job. Some such resources include and Additionally, you can also search on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website for past and existing pay scales for any profession and projections for growth and salary hikes.

Job boards such as ZipRecruiter, and are also excellent resources since in most cases, companies that post jobs also indicate the salary on offer. Find out the salary that corresponds with your educational qualifications, experience, skills and roles.

Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a website of choice for networking with other professionals in your field. Often, they have articles or posts speaking about trends in a specific profession or job. Here, you might come across some data on salaries that’s prevailing in your profession or industry.

Alternatively, you can ask your network of professionals about the existing pay scales for your type of job. However, it’s worth remembering that pay scales can differ a lot depending on your location.

At the same time, you can get some estimates about how much you can ask for while negotiating for a salary, through the information you get through LinkedIn networks or posts.  

Skills Upgrade

Nowadays, there’s a trend of skills upgrades. This is possible due to thousands of online courses being available on various e-learning platforms such as and for most professions.

You can find out how much a person with your educational qualifications and skills would get from an existing or new job and that which someone with a skills upgrade could expect.

In some cases, a skills upgrade won’t make any significant difference while for certain professions, the difference in salaries with a skill upgrade can be as high as 50 per cent more.

Freelancer Platforms

Check how much freelancers from your profession with equal or lesser skills charging for their services. You can get an estimate by visiting top freelancer platforms including,, and, among others.

Generally, freelancers earn more than their counterparts in traditional office-bound jobs. You can use these figures charged by freelancers as your benchmark to negotiate for a salary or even a hike. Consider, that if the employer were to hire a freelancer, they could end up paying much more. Therefore, they might readily agree to negotiate better pay, if you play your cards carefully.

salary Negotiation tips

Tips on how to negotiate salary successfully


One word about salary negotiations. Never be rigid about the salary that you’re asking. Leave some scope for negotiations. The best way to do so is to imagine a lower limit or the smallest salary that you’re willing to work for.

However, this small salary amount should be greater than what you’re currently earning. Sometimes, an employer is eager to hire you but reluctant because you asked for a pay that they simply cannot afford. In such cases, it’s better to allow some room for negotiations. That way, the employer and you will strike a healthy chord when you begin working.

Personal & Household Needs

At the end of the day, all of us have personal and household needs. This means, our salaries have to be sufficient to meet these needs and above that, afford a proper and better lifestyle for our family.

Consider the cost of inflation over the last three to five years, prevailing rates and projections of inflation. Also, think about the higher expenses that may accrue because you would have to pay for higher education for your kids and a comfortable lifestyle for all, regardless of the rates of inflation. That will help you to negotiate a salary that provides some buffer against the rising cost of living.

Financial Goals

Setting personal financial goals is very important and I am sure that you too would have some. Such goals are fine as long as they’re realistic and measurable. Take your financial goals into consideration when negotiating for a pay or pay hike.

Financial goals are important because savings and investments can provide the necessary protection to your family and you in case of dire situations such as economic downturns and loss of employment. Find out how much money you would realistically love to save in a calendar year of 12 months.

Also Read: How to Save Money from Salary?

Retirement Planning

And finally, retirement planning. Remember that anything between 60 per cent and 90 per cent of American seniors has little or no money for retirement. Those nearing retirement age are also worried about money since they do not have sufficient funds to see them through that golden phase of life.

Therefore, while negotiating a salary, remember that you also have to provide and save for your retirement. The value of money depreciates over time. This means, there’s no point in accepting a salary that wouldn’t enable you to plan and save for those golden years.


I hope that these simple steps and guidelines can help you negotiate your salary in a healthy and purposeful manner. Unfortunately, I’ve seen lots of people rush to negotiate their salaries without having any specific plans.

This can prove disastrous since not only you can’t get a necessary salary but you might also leave a bad taste with the employer. This can happen especially if you have no strong grounds to seek a salary hike.

Most employers are willing to pay a bit more if they find the right person during the hiring process or to a high-performing employee.

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