Identifying a Target Salary:

  1. What salary would you need to cover your cost of living?
  2. What was the salary range listed on the job posting?
  3. What is the "market value" for this position? Resources for this information include: Glassdoor and Salary.com, your network and informational interview contacts, employment agencies, competitors, similar job postings, trade and professional organization salary surveys.
  4. Based on how your qualifications and experience match the position description, what do you consider a satisfactory offer?

Use this information to come up with an expected figure, then add 5-10% on top of that, and you have your desired salary request.

Benefits Separate from Salary:

After receiving a job offer (congratulations!), thank them right away for the opportunity. Make sure to take the entire offer into consideration before broaching salary negotiation. You can start by saying "Before we get into discussing the salary, could you give me an overview of what would go into the entire compensation package?".

  • Insurance (medical, dental, vision, life)
  • 401K/Retirement planning
  • Professional association membership
  • Professional development budget
  • Vacation and personal days
  • Company car/expense account (if you will be traveling)
  • Cell phone coverage
  • Bonus options (signing bonus, performance bonuses, holiday bonuses)
  • Relocation expenses
  • Additional perks (free parking, tuition reimbursement, health club membership, etc.)
  • Commission structure (if applicable)

If you have been given an official offer that you do not feel reflects your value and/or the value of the position, now you have the ability to negotiate with the employer for a higher salary, better benefits package, and/or additional perks. Before negotiating, you must do your research on the appropriate salary level and prepare your rational for why you believe your worth is greater than the initial offer. Take some time to put this together by asking the employer if you can have a couple of days to consider the offer and schedule a time to speak with them again in the next couple of days.

Preparing for Negotiation:

  • What salary would you need to cover your cost of living?
  • What was the salary range listed on the job posting?
  • What is the "market value" for this position? Resources for this information include: Glassdoor and Salary.com, your network and informational interview contacts, employment agencies, competitors, similar job postings, trade and professional organization salary surveys.
  • Based on how your qualifications and experience match the position description, what do you consider a satisfactory offer?
  • What credentials, skills and accomplishments justify your requested salary (these should be specific examples, quantifiable results, etc.)?
  • What objectives might the employer have to your request? Be prepared for a counter-offer.
  • How will you respond to the objections?
  • What other non-salary items do you have to negotiate with (benefits, vacation, perks)?
  • What combination of salary and benefits is the minimum that you will accept?

Whether the employer does or does not meet your desired salary level, be sure to evaluate the job offer taking into consideration the position, the company, your personal lifestyle and your career goals in addition to the compensation.

Salary Interview Questions

If the employer asks you during an interview what your desired salary is, it is best to defer to the employer first. For example, you could state "I would expect the compensation to be commensurate to my skills and experience. What is the salary that you have offered others coming into this position with a similar background?". You would then use your previous research to identify if this salary is appropriate and state whether you agree or if you feel the salary is low based on your research. If the employer defers the question back to you, you would use your research to present your desired salary request. When the salary request is asked during the application phase, you are not in the position to negotiate the salary at this time. Do not try to negotiate salary until you are officially offered the position.