Salary Negotiation Etiquette

Many people would not put salary negotiation high on their lists of desirable activities when they apply for jobs, maybe thinking that a company would always be offering reasonable compensation for their employees. This is probably true when the economy is doing well and jobs are aplenty. But things in a recessionary situation like what we have now could be different. Fewer jobs are available, and there are many job seekers.

Some companies may take advantage of this situation, and offer low salary figures knowing that many now are looking for work. If you are a job seeker now, know how to negotiate for the salary you desire, commensurate to your education and skills and previous work experience.

While there are many now out of their jobs and competing for the jobs still unfilled in companies, it would still be good for you how to handle correctly the salary negotiation phase of your interview. The chances of you getting hired will be much higher if the interviewer you deal with in the negotiations note that you are knowledgeable in the field of salary ranges. Any interviewer will be impressed with your salary negotiation skills especially if you are a very qualified job applicant.

The following Dos and Don’ts in salary negotiation could be useful to you, so look at them closer.


1. Don’t look at how much money your friends are making:
You may be envious of your friends who are earning more money than you are, but there is no comparison with what you are supposed to make as your fields of specialization are different. What you should pay more attention to is what the salary range in your particular industry is.

2. Don’t make the mistake of talking about how much money you need:
When you are going through salary negotiations, don’t tell the interviewer or the prospective employer that you need to make more money because your bills are high, your house is expensive to maintain, or your child is starting his studies in college. That will be a big mistake for you to tell a prospective boss. These are things better told only to a close confidant or friend, but certainly not in the salary negotiation during your job interview.


1. Research on the salaries in your field of expertise:
Review closely recent industry salary surveys, and talk to others working in your field on salary matters. Contacting your trade or professional association to find out what other people are paid for doing the same work will be very helpful. Remember also that salaries differ by geographic regions. There are regions that offer only so much, compared to the regions where the cost of living is much higher and where the salary offers are also high.

2. Take note of how much experience you have:
Those with much more experience naturally can hope to earn more money than you if you do not have much of it to talk about. A factual presentation of how much experience you have in the job being offered will of course help you in negotiating a higher salary. If you don’t have much previous experience in the area of work that you are applying for, be realistic about the salary that you can ask from your prospective employer.

3. Talk about the salary you deserve, but do it carefully:
When presenting your case during a salary negotiation, talk about what you can do with the salary you are requesting. Tell them of your capabilities that you can tap very well to help the company attain its business objectives. Also inform them that the figure you are asking is standard in the field of your expertise.

4. Be flexible:
When going through a salary negotiation you may not get the amount of money you have in mind. You probably have to compromise, and so have a ready option that you can adopt in case the compromise you have in mind will still not work.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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