Key takeaways

  1. Preparation is key: Research your market value, analyze past experiences, build your case, and prepare a list of questions
  2. Be respectful yet persistent to negotiate the best package possible
  3. Lead with open-ended questions to discover the other party's priorities while demonstrating your interest in their needs
  4. Take a holistic approach; more than just salary
  5. Focus on future potential rather than just past achievements

Negotiating a job offer can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. It's an opportunity to advocate for yourself and secure the compensation you deserve. 

This guide provides strategic insights that will strengthen your negotiation skills and help you achieve better outcomes.

1. Research and preparation

Before entering any negotiation, gathering relevant information and preparing yourself is crucial. Here's what you should do:

Know your market value

Knowing what you’re worth to a potential employer is crucial. Consider your experience, and talk to recruiters. 

In addition, visit websites like or PayScale to compare salaries by job title and geographic area. The information you gather will help you set a well-informed starting point for your salary negotiation process.

Analyze past experiences

Think about past job offers and what salary level you accepted then. Also, consider any additional benefits, such as flexible work arrangements, that may be of interest to you.

Build your case

Document the evidence and facts that support your desired salary level. This could include any previous job offers, a list of accomplishments, or references from other professionals in the industry.

Gather negotiation questions  

When negotiating a job offer, it’s important to come prepared with a list of questions. This could include asking for more information about the job description or benefits package and getting an indication of the salary range they are offering.

Check out sites like Glassdoor and Indeed to gain these insights from other interviewees. 

Prepare a brag sheet

Document your accomplishments, responsibilities, and reasons for deserving your requirements. This not only reinforces your self-worth but also gives you a solid foundation to argue from.


Practicing your pitch can make a significant difference. Role-play potential scenarios, anticipate challenging questions, and refine your responses.

2. Enter with confidence

Adopt a power pose

It may sound silly, but research has shown that adopting a power pose—such as standing tall, head high, with your hands on your hips—can make you feel more self-assured. 

Lead with questions

Before diving into your pitch, understand the other party’s priorities. Start by asking open-ended questions (the opposite of yes and no questions). This not only demonstrates your interest in their needs but also allows you to tailor your proposal accordingly.

Be likable

Your demeanor plays a significant role. Being amiable can tilt the balance in your favor. Show genuine enthusiasm and commitment to the role or company.

3. Crafting your proposal

Aim high

Set your initial salary request above your actual target. This strategy allows room for negotiation without underselling yourself.

Specify a number, not a range

Presenting a specific number rather than a range indicates thorough research on your part and sets a clearer expectation.

Discuss future potential

Instead of just focusing on your past and current achievements, highlight your potential and how a better package will motivate and position you for future contributions.

4. Effective negotiation techniques

Stay professional and persistent

Even if you receive an offer lower than expected, remain composed. Use phrases like “hmm” to signal your hesitation and counteroffer with valid reasons.

Understand your counterpart

Negotiations are a two-way street. Recognize the person across the table’s constraints and motivations. Responding empathetically can foster collaboration rather than conflict.

Negotiate holistically

Address multiple aspects simultaneously. Consider the complete package, which includes roles, responsibilities, and other benefits apart from just the monetary component.

Avoid getting swayed by ultimatums

Remember, ultimatums are often just a part of the negotiation tactic. Stay focused on your goal and maintain a broader perspective.

5. Alternative moves

If your salary requests are met with resistance, think outside the box. Often, other non-monetary benefits can provide significant value, such as:

  • Flex time or remote work possibilities
  • A higher job title or better role definition
  • Additional training or learning opportunities

Final word

Negotiation is a skill. Like any skill, it improves with practice. 

Remember, the primary objective is not just a higher salary but a package that reflects your value and potential and ensures mutual growth for you and the organization. 

Always approach the table with confidence and a clear understanding of what you bring to it.