Salary Negotiation

What is Negotiation?

Negotiation is an arrangement or agreement made between you and an employer about a job offer. Negotiations occur after a job offer has been made and before the applicant has accepted the job.

Negotiation Steps:

  1. Do Your Research, Determine Your Market Value
    • Know what your market value is and benchmark that data.
    • How much salary should someone in a similar position with similar experience expect to receive based on job title and location?
    • Determine your market value by utilizing the NACE Salary Calculator and Compensation Data Center.
  2. Determine Other Needs
    • Create a list of your needs beyond salary. What are some needs you may have?
    • For example, is it important for you to have: benefits, retirement, vacation, reimbursement for relocation, professional development, flex time, or to negotiate a start date?
    • Consider what value you bring to the organization and how that value may be increased by having some of your additional needs met.
    • Determine which needs are important to you and do not feel limited by this list. Decide on your "best case scenario."
  3. Prepare For the Negotiation Conversation
    • The negotiation conversation most appropriately occurs after a job offer has been made and before the job has been accepted.
    • Decide whether or not you need to negotiate, does their offer match your "best case scenario"? You may decide not to negotiate if you feel your needs are being met.
    • Contact the employer and determine if there is a time when you may speak about your job offer.
  4. Negotiate
    • Let the employer know how much you are interested in their job offer.
    • Use the data you gathered about your market value.
    • Express your desires by letting the employer know what value would be added to their organization by meeting your needs.
    • Remember, there is nothing personal about negotiation. The person with whom you will speak during a negotiation is only a representative of the organization and may be limited by the organization's finances and policies. They may need some time to determine what can and cannot be offered.
    • If the employer is unable to negotiate, you must then decide if you are still willing to accept their offer. You may need to ask for time to reconsider their offer.
  5. Accepting or Declining the Offer
    • If you successfully negotiate, review your negotiated terms with the employer to make sure both parties understand the verbal commitment. Ask for the agreement to be put into writing.
    • If you do not successfully negotiate and decide to decline the offer after taking time to reconsider, let the employer know that you do not plan to accept their offer and thank them for their time.


  • View negotiation as a way for both parties to express their value to one another and a way for both parties to get what they want.
  • By articulately expressing what value you would bring to the organization through your needs being met, both parties will be able to gain something through your negotiation.
  • Being able to express your negotiations as a win-win situation for you and the organization, success is more likely to be achieved.

Additional Resources:

  • Occupational Outlook Handbook
  • O*NET
  • Type in the job title and it will link you to a full job description that includes an expected salary range depending on your professional experience and your location.


Click below to access resources!

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