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5 tricks for your next salary negotiation from an ex-recruiter

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

You’ve spent long months on an exhaustive job search, sending out resumes and dutifully attending networking events. You finally got an offer for a job you wanted. Victory, right? Hold on, your work isn’t quite done. Before accepting the new gig, you still have an important task: salary negotiation.

The fear of losing the offer and the stress of haggling are common roadblocks to asking for more. In fact, 59% of American employees accepted the salary they were first offered, according to a recent Glassdoor study. And as study after study shows, women are much less likely to negotiate than their male counterparts.

“Money is emotional, but following a well-disciplined strategy can help take the emotion out of it,” says career coach Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio of SixFigureStart. Here are five her of negotiation tips to get you to market value.

Don’t lie about what you’re currently earning

When job applications or recruiters ask for your salary history, don’t pad the truth. “While you may be tempted to fudge because you know you’re being paid below market value, don’t,” says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. Your salary history can be checked once you receive an offer and recruiters may know each other at various firms and check.  

Instead what you can do is make them want you during the interview process, giving you more leverage when compensation talks begin. And remember you can add any bonuses you’ve earned to your base salary in your response.

Don’t lowball

Resist the temptation to seal the deal quickly by accepting the first offer. You’ll be leaving a lot of money on the table if you lowball your own salary, says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. Again, include total compensation versus just your base salary. This can include vacation, 401(k) match, stocks, education/training, commuting or moving expenses, and more.

Use objective numbers

Present a business case for the salary you should be paid. Prepare multiple data points that include salary websites like Glassdoor.com, Wetfeet.com and Salary.com, and compare like roles in similar companies within your industry.

“Calculate what you expect to bring to the bottom line and bring that into the discussion,” advises Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. And if they don’t budge on the salary, ask for a review in 3 to 6 months.

Use the right language

Take out words that charge emotion – don’t use words like “feel” or “worth” or even “deserve” in your discussions and stay away from powerful phrases like “I’m disappointed,” because it might sound like you’re scolding them, says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio.

Lead the conversation with positive words that support the offer they’ve just given you. Expressing gratitude and excitement will help build on what you do agree with -- and will hopefully land you and your potential employer at a realistic number that’ll make you both happy.


This is one conversation you certainly should not be winging. Even if you’re trying your best to take the emotion out of it, negotiation is nerve-racking no matter how you slice it. The best thing you can do for yourself is to practice with someone you’re comfortable with -- someone who will give you honest feedback.

“Practicing with someone who will say ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ will build your negotiating muscle,” says Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. And don’t just do it once, practice until you look and feel confident.

And remember, you may not always get the number you want right now, but it’s not just your salary you can negotiate. Think about what will really make you happy to take on this job and then revisit the money question in another three months.

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