How to Negotiate Your Compensation

Photo Credit:  SashaW
Photo Credit: SashaW


When you know what you want to ask for in a negotiation you should rank the items from highest priority to lowest. This is how you will focus the negotiation. Ask for the highest priority item first, then go down the list. For me it was salary, vacation, bonus, and work from home, in that order. You may not get to ask for all of the things you want, but as long as it is above your baseline everything is great.

You will typically receive a written offer(usually emailed to you). I advise never immediately accept. Always request 2-3 days to think it over. This gives you time to sleep on it and consider your options in a relaxed environment.

Once you have thought it over, you are ready to make your counteroffer. When making the counteroffer use phrases like “I was looking for something more in the … range” or “Based on .. I was expecting …” or ”What are my other options?” or “Can you do a little better”.

When in a negotiation you do not want to give away too much information if you can avoid it. For instance, they will ask what you made in your last job and try to give you an increase based on that. Your compensation at your last job has nothing to do with what you should be paid at your new job. Whenever I am asked to share that information with them I explain I am not comfortable sharing it because the compensation should be based on the responsibilities of the role and the local market. If they really push, I share the information but I reaffirm that what the compensation should be based on.

If there is something you don’t want to share then tell them you are not comfortable sharing that information. Be firm, but not confrontational. These are people you will potentially be working with and you want everybody to be comfortable working with you.

Also, don’t lie by trying to make it sound like you had more at your last company than you did just so they offer you more. If they catch you in a lie you will definitely not get the job.

A negotiation can go back and forth several times. You will most likely be negotiating with your future manager and he may have to talk with others in the organization to understand what is available to you.

Be willing to push a bit in this process to get what you are worth. Remember you also have leverage in this situation and they are not totally in control.

Finally, be sure to get your final offer in writing.

Note on the video: it is quite funny but has some rough language.

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