12 Dos and Don’ts for Negotiating Salary in a Tough Economy

Don’t Leave Money on the Table Just Because Times Are Tough

In an economy that’s less than robust, more companies than ever are cutting back — not only on their workforce, but also on the compensation and benefits they offer.

Whether you are applying for a new position, or you are just up for your annual review, you might feel lucky to just have a job.

Before you settle, know that you can negotiate a salary in a tough economy. This article explores 12 dos and don’ts that will increase the odds you get what you deserve.

Do your research

Do research salaries for positions comparable to yours before you attend an interview or review. Know what the high, median, and low salaries are for someone with your skills, experience, and education.

Don’t assume that salary and/or benefits aren’t negotiable in this type of economy. Most organizations — about 80 percent, in fact — expect negotiations and leave themselves some wiggle room.

Make a good impression

Do focus on fostering a positive impression during your meeting. Plan to spend a good portion of your time getting to know each other, and building relationships.

Don’t start the interview by launching right into salary and benefits. It’s important to show that you are interested in the organization and the role you’ll play, and not focused solely on money.

Point out your value

Do talk about how you can contribute to the organization’s bottom line. Discuss concrete ways in which you contribute to the company’s profits, and are therefore worth a salary increase.

Don’t make it all about you. Organizations don’t want to hear that you are behind on your mortgage or have kids going to college. Leave the personal stuff out of your negotiations.

Take on more work

Do agree to take on more responsibility. If you see a need that you can fill, or if your boss asks you to take on extra work, jump at the chance.

Don’t take on more work without a pay increase. Any additional responsibility should be reflected in your salary.

Don’t be shy

Do sell yourself. Show what you are able to contribute to the organization, and don’t be shy about touting your skills, experience, and education.

Don’t ask for a raise without having specific and detailed reasons that show why you are worth it.

Consider the whole package

Do remember to add things such as educational reimbursements, vacation time, and travel allowances into your negotiations.

Don’t get hung up on just more money. When all is said and done, the things that make your life easier, increase your skill set, or save you time actually translate into more money.

Be reasonable

Do name a reasonable figure when asked what your salary requirements are. Try a figure that is in the mid to high range based on your research.

Don’t name a figure that is astronomically high, hoping they’ll negotiate down to the figure you really want. Nothing can stop a negotiation cold in its tracks like an unreasonable salary request.

Share your findings

Do feel free to counter an offer made by the organization. You have nothing to fear as long as the counter offer is based on good research.

Don’t be afraid to share your research with your boss or interviewer. Citing facts and figures will show them that you’ve done your homework and know what you are talking about.

Show strength in tough times

Do feel free to bring up the sluggish economy, but only to illustrate what you can do to help the company through tough times.

Don’t be afraid to ask about raises in the future, if the figure offered is less than what you had hoped. Ask for ways to tie your pay to your performance.

Keep it professional

Do remain respectful, even if the offer is well below what you think you deserve, or are willing to accept.

Don’t make threats during a salary negotiation. Threatening to quit your job will never get you the raise you want, and is extremely unprofessional.

Determine your value

Do decide ahead of time what your bottom line is. Based on your research, determine the lowest salary/benefit package you are willing to accept.

Don’t accept less. There’s absolutely no need to accept a position for less than you are worth, and doing so can set you back significantly.

Be patient, persistently

Do bring your patience and persistence to the negotiation table. These two characteristics will pave the road to your success.

Don’t give up too quickly. It’s easy to view the word “no” as the end of a conversation. Instead, try viewing it as the beginning of your negotiations.

Reap your rewards

In the best negotiations, both parties emerge feeling like winners. And Salary.com can help you emerge victorious.

The first thing you should do is research, so you’re able to come to the table armed with the knowledge of what your job is worth. Use our free Salary Wizard below to find out what’s a fair salary for your position. You can enter your location, education level, years of experience and more to find out an appropriate salary range before you negotiate.

Good luck.

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