How to Negotiate Salary

An honest step-by-step guide by a Talent Acquisition professional

Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash

In this article we will cover the following:

  • How to negotiate $ at the Phone Screen stage
  • Should you disclose your current salary?
  • How to negotiate $ at the Offer stage

☎️ How to negotiate at the Phone Interview stage.

🎚️ Level set from the beginning.

👌 ️It’s okay to ask about the budget that we have for the role.

  • A new role for the org that never existed before. The company doesn’t quite understand yet what salary bands are applicable in that particular situation.
  • The HR person responsible for compensation is still doing research on the market.
  • TA team started the search even before they got the compensation data.
  • Small org. There is no dedicated HR person responsible for compensation. HR is learning a lot from the market and from the information provided by peers.

The one who says the number first defines the range of possibility.

❌ Don’t just focus on the money.

  1. Distorted logic. You do all the money talk even before you learned about the role. You don’t even know what you are signing up for yet. Why do you care how much it pays? And this is exactly what recruiters will tell you: “It doesn’t matter how much we pay you if the opportunity itself is not interesting for you.
  2. Creates the perception that you are money hungry. That communicates a scarcity mindset (not having enough money). And a scarcity mindset is not what top performers are made of. Top performers think growth, abundance, and win-win situations. Money is important for them but it is never a purpose in itself. They know they are the best in the game and hence they never lack opportunities. All the money in the world is out there for them to take but that is not what their work is about. They see their work as a Craft. They see themselves on a Mission.
  3. You are communicating that you are not an A-player. A-players know that base salary is just an element in the whole equation. And while salary is important, it is not the most important element for them. They look for other things in the opportunity: opportunity to grow, opportunity to make an impact and build a reputation, a strong business, great culture, international exposure, and exposure to important players (investors). Hyper-focus on the money shows that you are not focusing on the right things.

🔍 Do your research.

  • Google is the obvious choice when it comes to finding salary data points for your role but don’t rely too much on the numbers you find online. The numbers presented on different salary-focused websites are often far from reality. The market is changing quickly. These days the compensation data needs to be recalibrated every 6–12 months.
  • Speak to your peers. Reach out to folks who are in similar roles. See what data points they can provide to you. Analyze across several industries, not just yours.
  • Network with recruiters. We are the best source of information for you. Ask about job levels. Ask about internal equity. Ask about how compensation decisions are being made and what is the logic behind those decisions. Ask about the comp data points for the roles we have recruited before.
  • Based on the information you get from them assess your level accurately. Do a full self-audit on your skills and have clarity on the value you can deliver.
  • Work with your Talent Partner. All people are different but I can tell you about my personal perspective and the perspective of some of the best in the game — we are not incentivized to save money for the company (we are saving money for the company because we are cheaper than the agency recruiters who take 20–25% fees, and we are more effective because we understand the business and know our stakeholders). On the contrary, we want to get the best deal for you. Why? A. We want you to be excited about joining us so that you could focus on the business and deliver your best work. B. We don’t think only Talent Acquisition, we think Talent Retention. We don’t want you to join us, feel underappreciated, and start looking for a new role after 1 year. From a business perspective in order to maximize ROI on the hire, an employee should work for at least 2–3 years. If the worker lasted less than 12 months, the business is losing money.

🙌 Provide a range rather than an exact number.

The business wants to buy your time at a maximum discount. Your goal is to sell your time at a maximum price.

🙊 What to say

Should I mention my current salary?


🙊 What to say


🙊 What to say

🤝 How to negotiate at the offer stage.

Here are some things that I don’t recommend doing:

Things that I recommend doing:

  • budget allocated for the role
  • macroeconomic conditions (like the ones we are going through right now)
  • availability of your talent on the market (how easy it is to find someone with your skillset/specific knowledge)
  • data on the market rates
  • internal equity (bringing an external hire at a very high salary impacts others who are currently not being compensated at that level),
  • the company compensation philosophy
  • job leveling (research: Radford Levels), etc.

❓ Ok, so how exactly I should communicate to get a raise in the offer?

Provide sound and logical rationale for why you are worth more.

  • Personal and warm opener
  • Communicating excitement
  • Re-iterating that there is a fit
  • Communicating true understanding of the technical challenges that we are facing
  • Re-iterating on the value that they bring to the table
  • Re-iterating on the excitement

Remember. The best time to negotiate a raise is at the salary negotiation stage not when you are already in the company.

🥳 Congrats! You have arrived at the end of this article.

  • How exactly you can manage expectations from the beginning at a phone interview stage
  • Whether you should disclose your current salary or not
  • How to conduct salary negotiation at the offer stage

Life is too short for mediocre career experiences.

I’m on a mission to enable 1M humans to actualize their full potential and live a Purpose-Driven Life.



Life Purpose Coach |

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