Negotiating Salary

When negotiating salary, take the following details into account

Never begin negotiating a job offer until you are offered the position.
If you begin negotiating before an offer is made, you may find that an organization will not make you the offer.

Seek to receive all job offers in writing and be cautious of employers that will not give you written offers.
Make sure that you get offers (including new offers that are made after negotiating) in print. A verbal offer cannot be verified and can be changed.

Research the organization before negotiating in order to find out the salary range for the position you are seeking.
Organizations (even those in the same industry/field) provide compensation at different levels. Do research to find what the organization normally offers for the position you are seeking.

Remember some offers are not negotiable.
Do not be surprised if an organization does not allow you to negotiate an offer. Some organizations have a strict policy when it comes to compensation. Although rare, some employers rescind their original job offer, as negotiation is perceived as burdensome to them.

Ask questions about benefits that are not stated in the offer such as tuition reimbursement, etc.
Be sure that you have all the information possible on the benefits of the job offer. Some benefits may not be explained in the job offer and you should search for clarity on the benefits that you can expect to receive.

Know what you are worth in the current job market.
Understand the value of your skills in the current job market. This will help you understand your negotiating power. One tool you can use is a salary calculator, which will give you a sense of what other people in your field are earning.

Never lie during job offer negotiation and use discretion.
Lying during the negotiation process can catch up to you. Many employers will ask to verify the information that you have told them. In addition, be careful with disclosing too much information and over-negotiating.

Timing can be extremely important.
Considering that the organization is making a business decision in hiring you, take into consideration that they are expecting you to make a timely decision and to keep them informed of your employment status/decision.

The Process of Negotiation
  1. Begin by stating your interest in the position and how well your skills match the qualifications of the position.
    Start the conversation on a positive note. For example: “I was excited to receive the job offer and I am very interested in the position. I feel confident that my communication and analysis skills will allow me to make a positive contribution to the organization.”

  2. State your position.
    • Build your case for desiring to negotiate the offer. Some scenarios for building your case may be:
    • Based on your research of the cost of living and/or the market value for your skill set, you found that you need more compensation
    • Based on other job offers that you received you found that your market value is higher than what you have been offered
    • Based on the shortage of individuals in your chosen field you found that you are worth more than what they’ve
    • Based on your current situation you need to negotiate your start date and/or benefits package.
  3. Ask the employer if they can provide more compensation.
    After stating your position, ask the employer if they can provide additional compensation. For example: “After doing research on the cost of living in New York, I found that the total compensation of the offer will not allow me to secure an apartment and live in the surrounding area. Is there anything else you can do in terms of the offer?”

  4. When asked, state an acceptable salary range.
    Be careful not to give an exact salary figure. State a salary range. For example: “I would be interested in an offer between $49,000 and $55,000.”

  5. Work on creative solutions if necessary.
    Be prepared to be involved in creating the solution. The organization may ask you to provide options for them to consider when negotiating the job offer. Consider all angles including benefits, perks, signing bonuses, relocation expenses, etc. For example: “I would consider accepting a lower salary if the organization could provide relocation expenses and tuition reimbursement.”

Contact Career Services

Mike Dolinger

Director of Student Services

1100 Public Health
130 DeSoto Street
Pittsburgh PA 15261