5 Preparation Tips for Negotiating Your Salary

It can be either an exciting prospect or a nausea-inducing nightmare, depending on your point of view. Negotiating your salary. Love the process or hate it; success often comes down to preparation. The negotiation is usually won or lost before discussions even start. Taking the right steps ahead of formal conversations can increase your chances of securing a good deal.

There’s no getting around the fact that negotiation is central to the way many businesses run. Some people find that stimulating, thrilled by the sense of competition. Others get nervous and look to avoid any tense discussions. But receiving the compensation you deserve involves mastering the deal-making process.

Luckily, there is a lot you can do to set the stage for a successful discussion. Long before any potential tense conversations, you can create the right circumstances to maximize what you receive. Here are five tips you can use to get the most out of your preparation, raising the chances that your salary negotiation will go well: 

Create a Value List

Negotiating is about selling value. The company has to get something out of your effort to pay you a higher rate. Otherwise, why would they agree to increased compensation? 

As such, you need to differentiate yourself from the typical, average worker who could do your job. In other words, consider what additional value you can provide. Going into a negotiation, list your attributes. Include your qualifications and your accomplishments. But go further than this as well. Also, describe your soft skills, things like leadership and communication. Having these in mind will help you make a successful pitch.

Know Your Worth

Negotiation’s all about that point where someone says, “Okay, you win.” To reach that point, the decision usually comes down to the party with the most options. Which side can get more value somewhere else? 

To know where that line sits, you have to do your research. Look into the market rate for the position at hand. Consider what salary is fair and where are you fit in into the overall field of candidates. From there, you’ll know an appropriate rate to accept. If you don’t receive an offer close to that amount, you know you have better options elsewhere.

Hone Your Pitch

Business success often starts with salesmanship. In the case of salary negotiation, you’re selling a very particular product: yourself. As such, you should be prepared to make a pitch, spinning your assets in such a way that your salary request seems like a bargain.

Widen the Negotiation

When a negotiation only deals with salary, there is often little a manager can do. They have a particular budget, and most positions have a preset salary range. However, if you bring other elements into play, you expand the possibilities. 

Look for other, non-monetary, requests that you can bring into the conversation. Your boss might have flexibility on other matters. You might not get the salary you want, but you can make up with it with a more flexible schedule or increased fringe benefits.

Don’t Start with a Compromise 

Once you determine a reasonable salary figure for yourself, don’t pre-negotiate with yourself. Eventually, you’ll likely be forced to accept a compromised position. Make your opening bid as high as (reasonably) possible, so that when you eventually reach a middle ground, you’ll have maximized the final number.  


Getting the most out of a salary negotiation involves putting yourself in the right position. You need preparation and a situation where your skills and experience get their highest value. Working with a top-ranked recruiting firm, like Qualified Staffing, can make that possible. They can put you in the ideal situation to drive your career forward.

Contact Qualified Staffing today to find out how they can find the perfect position for you.

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