Buckley Search Inc.

Partners for Progress

Salary Negotiations

kevin@buckleysearch.com                             Tel:   (416) 865-0695 toll-free 1 (866) 996-9984

What do I need to know in order to negotiate a salary?

  1. Determine the market rate salary range for this type of position in the industry.

  2. Prepare a budget to determine your financial needs.
  3. Decide, BEFORE YOU GO INTO AN INTERVIEW, what salary you WANT to earn, what you NEED to live on, and what you will be willing to SETTLE FOR.
  4. Be realistic: entry level salaries are less negotiable than salaries for mid-level or executive positions.
  5. Practice your salary negotiation skills with a friend.
  6. Document your skills and accomplishments, and be prepared to talk about them.
  7. Don't be the first to mention salary during the interview, and use the negotiating tips listed below when the topic does come up.
  8. Never say "I need at least ___ dollars."
  9. Don't worry about what your friends are making, the employer certainly isn't.
  10. Never lie about your salary history.
  11. Always end discussions on a positive note.
  12. Once you have accepted a job offer and salary level, be sure to get it in writing.

How can I find out the market rate salary range?
Uncovering salary information is not as difficult as it may seem. Try the following resources:

  1. Review salary survey information sites on the net.
  2. Use job listings which indicate salaries for related positions
  3. Ask your friends and networking contacts
  4. Call employment agencies or executive search firms
  5. Contact professional associations to see if they conduct surveys.
  6. Talk to other job seekers
  7. Review business and trade periodicals.


Are salaries really negotiable?
Yes, and no. The degree to which a salary is negotiable depends on the position, the manager, the organization, and your perceived value. Most entry-level positions have set salaries that are subject to very little if any negotiation--perhaps a few hundred dollars of negotiating room. Mid-level positions typically have salary ranges of between 10 and 20 percent (i.e., a job paying $30,000 a year may have a salary range between $27,000 and $33,000).

Employers will negotiate within the range, but will rarely exceed it unless you are an exceptional candidate.  In general, the higher level management and executive positions offer the greatest opportunities for negotiation.

How can I handle questions about salary during an interview?
Most books about how to find a job contain entire chapters on negotiating salaries. Here are just a few tips to get you started:

  1. If asked: "What are your salary requirements?" Summarize the requirements of the position as you understand them, and then ask the interviewer for the normal salary range in his/her company for that type of position.
  2. If asked: "How much did you earn on your last job?" Tell the interviewer that you would prefer learning more about the current position before you discuss compensation, and that you are confident you will be able to reach a mutual agreement about salary at that time.
  3. If told: "The salary range for this position is $42,000 to $47,000, is that what you were expecting?" Tell the interviewer that it does come near what you were expecting, and then offer a range which places the top of the employer's range into the bottom of your range (i.e., I was thinking in terms of $47,000 to $52,000). Remember: be sure that the range you were thinking about is consistent with what you learned about market rate for that position.
  4. If told; "The salary is $1900 per month." Try not to look excited or disappointed. Simply repeat the salary, look up as though you were thinking about it, and pause. Don't worry about the silence; give the employer an opportunity to increase the offer. If the interviewer does not change the offer, try the response suggested in #3 above.

Introduction to Benefits

In addition to salary, take into consideration the employee benefit plan when evaluating an offer made by a company. In today's job market many employee benefits are considered standard--they come with the job and are not subject to negotiation. However, an increasing number of employers are offering flexible benefit packages, which allow employees a variety of choices regarding their benefits. Most entry level employees can expect a basic benefit package consisting of:

A more comprehensive benefit package might include some or all of the following: