The Crash Course on Negotiating Salary and Compensation

Updated Dec 21, 20225 min
The Crash Course on Negotiating Salary and Compensation

The Crash Course on Negotiating Salary and Compensation

Elise GelwicksUpdated Dec 21, 20225 min
The Crash Course on Negotiating Salary and Compensation

Any conversation with a potential employer is stressful. When you add into the mix that you're asking for more compensation, the stress can go through the roof! Don't worry, we've got you covered in this negotiation crash course so you can feel confident approaching the conversation.

Negotiation is a vast topic, but we've boiled down the six most important things for job seekers to know when preparing to negotiate their offer.

Consider your BATNA

"Best Alternative to Negotiated Agreement" is what either party will do if this option doesn’t work out. If you have a great BATNA, you can afford to think about the negotiation with a higher risk/reward mindset. If you need a job now and this is the only thing looking like an offer, you may play more conservatively.

During a job search, the two common BATNA's are staying at your current job or accepting a competitive job offer. But there are other ones as well – such as starting a company, taking time to travel, or even going back to school.

Decide on your “steak” and “potatoes”

People have different priorities for their compensation package. Some people care more about total compensation, others base compensation, others equity, others an uncapped commission. There’s no right or wrong answer to this. Whichever aspect of the package is the #1 most important in your mind – think of that as the "steak". You’ll focus on getting that first and then worry about the “potatoes” later. 

Negotiation starts with the first impression

From the moment a company first learns about you, you’re positioning yourself for a great offer. It’s the perception ✨ of your value and skills that determines your level within the organization. That, in turn, determines the salary range of the role that they offer you. For example, companies often give higher offers to people who come in via referrals because the perceived value is higher.

Do your homework

Negotiation is a high-stakes game. There is no absolute truth for how much you should be paid; only a market and human decides. There can be a lot of numbers and details involved, a lot of moving pieces. It’s a bit nerve-wracking. We got you, though. Let’s do this. 💪

Communicate carefully

In a negotiation, you can change the game in your favor with just a few words one way or another. Really! You’ll need talking points or a script (whichever is your style 💅), and we strongly recommend practicing out loud with a friend. Definitely read our tips on how to negotiate a job offer.

Exude enthusiasm

Employers want to hire people who are genuinely excited about the opportunity – negotiators are human too! Be sure to acknowledge your excitement and gratitude about the offer throughout the conversation. You might win a few thousand more dollars by dialing up the enthusiasm in the final rounds. :)

Reinforce your shared goals

By definition, a negotiation includes two sides with competing interests. Competing interests are true while zoomed in but less accurate when you zoom out. Emphasize through the conversation that you both want the same thing – for you to accept an offer you feel terrific about. This technique can help break the ice and make it easier for the other person to listen to you.

Elise Gelwicks
Elise is a communications and emotional intelligence training consultant for companies and law firms

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