As we progress in our career, it becomes important that our compensation is aligned with our professional growth. However, often we come across people who get paid less than what they deserve, mostly because they are afraid to negotiate their salary.

In the current dynamic and competitive professional environment, salary negotiation is an essential skill to have.

In this blog, we will share tips on how to effectively negotiate a salary.

1. Review industry standards

Research salary range of different companies for the position that you have applied for. Consider factors such as:

• Level of work experience
• Education and certifications
• Location, etc.

If the difference in the range being offered to you is noticeable, you can use this as one of the points, while you negotiate your salary. Also, once you have a fair idea about the salary range, you’ll know how much you can stretch the salary negotiation.

2. Assess your market value

Now based on the above research and your qualification and experience, assess your market value. Recruiters generally negotiate the CTC package, so decide a figure beforehand that you consider you are worthy to draw.

3. Evaluate other components

Apart from the basic salary being offered, the other components like allowances, HRA, insurance, bonuses, incentives, etc. also form a major part of the salary package.

If the recruiter seems rigid during the salary negotiations, you can always ask for a raise in the other components of the salary apart from the basic. For example, you can negotiate performance-based incentives or request the employer to raise non-cash perks and benefits.

Related: Understand salary breakup

4. Prepare a pitch

Accumulate your past achievements and prepare a pitch on how these achievements will help you contribute to the company. If you have any experience, make sure to smartly mention that in your pitch.

Here are a couple of tips to help you prepare your pitch:

a. Show excitement - Early in the negotiation, you can use a phrase like “Working with (company name) was my professional goal”, this will convey your seriousness for the job.

b. Convey expectations – During the negotiations, you must let the employer know that you are expecting a generous raise from them. To convey this you can say, “At this stage of my career, I wish to take a leap both in terms of my professional responsibilities as well as my compensation.”

5. Be prepared to tackle arguments

Arguments and counter-arguments are a positive sign as they show that the employer is taking a keen interest in you. However, a good impression can only be created if you remain poised and composed during the negotiation process.

Make sure to speak with confidence and handle the arguments tactfully. Being firm yet gracious is the best way to take it forward.

6. Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse

Make sure to practice your pitch as many times as possible, it will ensure that you deliver it smoothly and don’t miss out on anything important.

Get hold of your friends, parents or roommates and narrate your pitch to them. You must also practice answers for the arguments that are most likely to arise during the negotiation process.

Related: How to answer "What are your salary expectations?"

7. Have conviction in your strengths

When you are in the middle of a grueling negotiation process, there are chances that you may short-sell yourself. To avoid that, it is important to make a realistic self-assessment of your educational qualifications, social competence, attitude, and other strengths, and that you have belief in your competence.

This self-awareness exercise will give you a rooted & strong sense of confidence, and you will remain steadfast even during difficult arguments.

8. Initiate conversation

Do not hesitate to take the lead and start the conversation about salary negotiation yourself. All you need to do is be gracious and ask the question “Is the salary negotiable?”. This will help you start a conversation with the opposite side and depending on their response you can then negotiate your salary package.

9. Timing

Although it is a good idea to initiate the salary negotiation talk, do take care of the timing. Salary negotiation is best left to be discussed towards the final round of interview.

10. Avoid intimidation

Very often people lose focus and resort to threats and intimidation for the sake of winning an argument. But this approach could bring an abrupt end to the negotiations.

Remember, both you and the employer are just trying to work things out. A show of strength can create a negative perception and may affect your long-term relationship with your employer.

11. Don’t accept the initial offer

Make this a thumb rule. This is because employers generally leave room for negotiations when they give their first offer. Accepting the first offer can trim down your base pay and can also prove detrimental in the long run as it will affect your future increments and bonuses.

12. Quote a higher number

Always ask for a little more than what you decided for. This is because the recruiter may also try to negotiate on your quoted number.

Every time you talk to an employer, you must be prepared with a well thought out and realistic figure that will keep you on the negotiating table.

13. Prove your worth with evidence

It is best to come up with hard evidence to prove your competence. If during the salary negotiations you are able to provide some real data about your achievements, your chances of getting a higher salary will rise exponentially. Employers are more likely to accept a story which is backed up with good numbers.

14. Promise what you can deliver

It is important to not get carried away in the negotiation process and promise more than you can deliver. If you have quoted a figure to your employer, make sure that you have the competence and knowledge to live up to it.

15. Stand your ground

If you have proved your worth in the negotiations and have confidence in your ability to perform, there is no reason for you to accept an offer that is less than your expectations.

Make it a point to insist on a figure that you think is in line with your job objectives and industry standards. However, take care to not come across as stubborn.

16. Take your time

You don’t have to accept or reject the offer immediately. If you are not sure about the offer, you should ask for a couple of days to think about it. During this time, you can assess the offer properly and also weigh other promising opportunities.

In case you choose to reject the offer, it is important that you do that graciously so that you continue to communicate for opportunities in the future.

Related: Calculate in-hand salary with online tools like Salary Calculator.

17. Have a foresight

Even if the monetary benefits are not at par with your expectations, discuss your career growth with your employer and see if they can chalk out a good career path for you. Sometimes having a long-term perspective can be more beneficial than short-term gains.

18. Walk away

If you quoted a reasonable figure for your salary and know that you have the competence to fulfill your professional obligations, then there is no reason to accept a compromised offer.

If you don’t get what you want, you must gently express that you are willing to walk away. During the negotiation, you must come out as a person who is asking for something that he/she deserves, rather than someone who is desperate for a job or money.

Once you have acquired salary negotiations skills, it will come in handy throughout your professional life. There will be times when you’ll feel that your compensation is not at par with your performance, or that your annual increment is less than what you had expected. In such situations, knowing the art of salary negotiations will be of great help.

Further suggested reading:
7 Ways To Ask For Promotion And Hike

Salary Career Advice