Three Practical Tips for Salary Negotiation

By Andrelisa Livingston

The tasks and responsibilities required for any one position grow and develop over time. Individuals have a right to engage in conversations about their resulting increased value to their company. At its core, a negotiation is simply an opportunity for two people to discuss a topic and come to an agreeable outcome; however, there tends to be some amount of stress and anxiety about this when it comes to salary negotiation. Being adept at salary negotiation is an essential skill at any career stage, and it is vital that the employee, as well as the candidate, feel prepared and confident going into a discussion with an employer. Here are three tips to consider in preparation for salary negotiation.

Track Accomplishments

It is difficult to justify a request for a salary increase when that request is made out of context. At a basic level, tracking accomplishments is the first step to getting the desired outcome. To track accomplishments, the individual should consider doing any combination of the following:

  • Tracking tasks they do most often (Kalish, 2017)
  • Keeping a list of tasks completed on a weekly basis
  • Creating a performance review folder that includes emails and messages with positive feedback (Lastoe, 2017).

In an interview situation, the resume and cover letter will get a candidate through the door, but the candidate should be prepared to highlight stand-out achievements. Interviewers will be more inclined to consider a candidate who can show how previously established skills (communication, teamwork, sales, analytics, etc.) and experiences will have value in a new position.

In a pay increase situation, the employee is in a better position to assess what achievements will stand out. If an employee wants a more comprehensive idea what to highlight, it is beneficial to reach out to connections within the company. Though managers don’t track every individual employee accomplishment, they do notice the strengths that their employees bring to their team. Most employees who ask managers to share stand-outs will find that managers welcome the opportunity to provide performance feedback. Likewise, fellow co-workers can provide useful insight about an employee’s contribution. These individuals are excellent resources to reach out to in the months preceding the negotiation. Metrics that reflect individual productivity or favorable outcomes for the company and customers should be shared with the employer during negotiation (Glassdoor, 2019).

Do the Research

Before going into a meeting to negotiate salary, it is essential that the individual do research to get a sense of how their experience compares to others who work in their current and desired positions (Gross, 2016). An employer is more willing to negotiate with a candidate or employee who has shown they have done research. Savvy negotiators should know:

  • How their responsibilities and workload stack up against co-workers in comparable positions
  • How their responsibilities have changed or grown over time
  • What salary they are willing to accept
  • The salary for individuals in comparable positions at other companies (Tolani, 2018).

It is essential that the individual get this information about their company and companies within their desired industry in order to determine desired compensation. The websites GlassDoor, Indeed, and SalaryList are just a few well-known resources to determine the appropriate desired salary range. (Additional sites may be found under the Job Search tab of NCDA's Internet Sites for Career Planning.) It is important that the individual propose a desired salary range instead of a fixed amount and also consider non-monetary benefits, such as work from home or vacation days, a match for retirement contribution, and other relevant changes to the company’s benefits package.  When an individual is prepared to discuss these possibilities, they have a better opportunity for having a negotiation that ends favorably. 

Practice the Conversation

Practicing the negotiation conversation with other professionals in an individual’s field can yield constructive feedback. The negotiator should practice until they feel comfortable and confident about going into the real conversation with an employer. Constructive feedback should address:

  • Questions and concerns that the employer might have about experience
  • Physical presentation, including appropriate dress and confident body language (Cuddy, 2012)
  • Speech pace and tone.

It is important that the individual prepare for both potential outcomes: an employer can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to a salary request. Individuals need to remember that getting an immediate ‘no’ does not guarantee that they will get a future ‘no.’ Employers have to consider a number of other company-related factors, along with the salary request. An individual who gets a ‘no’ should inquire about the reasons for that response and be prepared to discuss strategies that will put them in a better position to get a ‘yes’ in upcoming negotiations. 


Glassdoor. (2019, March 20). How to ask for a raise. www.glassdoor.com/blog/guide/how-to-ask-for-a-raise/

Cuddy, A. (2012, June). Your body language may shape who you are. TEDGlobal. www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are?language=en

Gross, E.L. (2016, June 27). 8 managers share the best way to ask for a raise (and get it). Forbes Magazine. http://www.forbes.com/sites/elanagross/2016/06/27/8-managers-share-the-best-way-to-ask-for-a-raise-and-get-it/#86dc3c274ff2

Kalish, A. (2017, July 27). The quick weekly activity that helps you get ahead. Why you should track your accomplishments at work. The Muse. www.themuse.com/advice/the-10minute-weekly-activity-that-helps-you-get-ahead-worksheet-included

Lastoe, S. (2017, April 7). 12 little milestones you should be celebrating at work. The Muse. www.themuse.com/advice/12-little-milestones-you-should-be-celebrating-at-work

Tolani, K. (2018, April 9). How to ask your boss for a raise. GoSkills. www.goskills.com/Soft-Skills/Articles/How-to-ask-your-boss-for-raise


Andrelisa LivingstonAndrelisa Livingston is an Editor at SAGE Publishing, an independent publishing company. She collaborates with editors to identify areas for development and implement strategies for improvement. Andrelisa can be reached at Andrelisa.Ralana@gmail.com.

Printer-Friendly Version


Linda Sollars   on Monday 03/02/2020 at 09:17 PM

WOW! The Features Section is the perfect place for this article that can help so many! Congratulations, Andrelisa!

Ralana Allen    on Monday 03/02/2020 at 10:26 PM

Great pointers.

Teresa Cain   on Friday 03/06/2020 at 09:01 AM

Great information!
Thanks !

Kenyatta Joseph   on Sunday 03/15/2020 at 05:21 PM

This is great information and helpful for anyone. Thanks!

Lori Schyltz   on Monday 08/03/2020 at 11:27 AM

This is a very well written and informative article!

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the comments shown above are those of the individual comment authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of this organization.