Salary Negotiations: Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Offer

When you receive an official job offer from a potential employer, you have invested significant time and energy into the hiring process. Your interviews weren’t perfect, but you have convinced the recruiter that you are the best person for the position. Of all the candidates they talked to, they have chosen to present the offer to you.

The job sounds like a great opportunity, but the offer isn’t quite what you expected. You had hoped this job would provide a good salary bump to help keep up with inflation. Unfortunately, you will only make slightly more than you did at your previous job, and the commute is longer. Should you turn it down or risk it all to ask for more money?

Conversations about money and compensation are never easy and often awkward. However, for a highly qualified candidate, such as yourself, effective salary negotiation can ensure you are well-compensated with the salary that someone with your skills and experience should have.

Understand Your Worth

Professional job recruiters negotiate with candidates regularly. Walking in to ask for a higher salary without doing homework will unlikely lead to your desired outcome. Your belief that the salary is too low may be accurate. However, it is just your opinion without facts to support your position. The pay a potential employer is willing to offer depends on several factors.

Market conditions and salary norms within your industry define a salary range. Evaluating your job offer and the salary you can expect to earn should begin with analyzing what other companies pay for similar positions. Start by looking at the national average. Then, narrow your search to your geographic location. Job postings can provide valuable information about your potential salary range.

Your personal experience and skills determine where you will fall within this range. Consider the following factors:

  • Working Experience – Do you meet or exceed the company desired years of experience?
  • Education – What is the highest relevant degree you have achieved?
  • Leadership – Do you have management experience, or have you been in a leadership role?
  • Skills – Do you have any unique or difficult-to-attain skills applicable to the position?
  • Certifications – Do you have certifications that would help you perform your duties?

Also, consider factors related to accepting the position that may increase your costs.

  • Location – Will your cost of living be higher? Are salaries for comparable positions in your area higher than the national average?
  • Relocation – Will you need to move to be closer to the office?
  • Commute – Do you anticipate a longer commute or higher transportation costs to get to the office?

Prepare to Negotiate

Many business interactions have moved to email, text, or other digital forms of communication. These platforms can work well for asking questions, but they are not the best format for negotiating the terms of your future employment. Instead, schedule a meeting where you can converse in real-time. In-person is best, but phone calls or video calls will also work. Talking face-to-face facilitates the back-and-forth necessary to come to an agreement. It also allows you to read facial expressions and body language.

The way you deliver your message is as, if not more important, than what you actually say. People are more likely to consider requests coming from someone who is likable. The recruiter’s perception of your request and your motivations will impact the outcome of your conversation. Practice delivering your message to friends, family, or colleagues before you are sitting with the head of HR trying to explain your request.

Begin by expressing your gratitude for their time. After all, they have invested just as much time as you have. Also, let them know how excited you are about the opportunity they have offered you. Starting the conversation on a positive note will set the tone for the rest of the meeting.

Having done your homework, you should feel confident that your skills and experience justify your request for a higher salary. Keep the conversation factual. Avoid over-emphasizing your value, as it may make you appear arrogant. Likewise, avoid apologizing for your request, as it weakens your position. Instead, use the facts you have gathered as justification.

Tip: When you suggest a pay range, start higher than your target salary. Starting negotiations high gives you room to accept a lower offer comfortably.

Be Ready for a Response

A recruiter’s response to your request will vary depending on various factors. Often, they will ask you for more information before addressing your question. These challenging questions can be unnerving. However, they are not meant to make you uncomfortable. They are merely probing your motivations and your intentions. A recruiter may be reluctant to go to bat and ask for a better benefits package for you if you are not committed to joining the company.

Be prepared to respond to inquiries such as:

  • If we come up on the salary, will you accept the position?
  • Are you entertaining other job offers?
  • Is this position your first choice?

Remember, honesty is the best policy when answering these questions. Focus your answer on resolving their concerns. Helping them understand your commitment will help your cause and keep negotiations moving forward.

Sometimes, employers may not be able to entertain your request. Perhaps they are hiring several people for the same position. If so, they must keep salaries flat across the board. In other cases, there may not be room in the budget to offer you higher pay right now. Don’t give up if you find yourself in one of these situations. Other ways to improve your compensation may include stock options, a signing bonus, or schedule flexibility.

Make Your Decision

Don’t forget to consider the whole picture when evaluating a job offer. Does the job offer new growth opportunities? Does it offer the flexibility you and your family need? Does it provide advancement opportunities? Is the culture a great fit? Though the job may not meet your monetary goals, it may still be a smart move for your career or a great fit for your lifestyle.

At the end of the day, if the whole package doesn’t make sense, don’t be afraid to walk away. A Utah recruiting firm can help you find you a position that is a great fit for you and offers compensation that reflects your abilities and potential.


Receiving a job offer is a culmination of effort, but what if it doesn’t meet salary expectations? Despite a promising opportunity, the offered salary may disappoint, leaving you uncertain. Negotiating salary, though uncomfortable, aligning with market standards. It’s a crucial step to secure a satisfactory outcome in your career transition.
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Salary Negotiations: Everything You Need to Know to Improve Your Offer