How to negotiate a good salary?

How to negotiate a good salary?

By Published On: 20. October 2023


Hey guys, I know how tricky the subject of salary negotiation can be. It's a challenge to get exactly what you're worth without seeming like a diva. Where do you draw the line between respect and arrogance? It's a dance with a lot of complex steps and fouls. But don't worry, we're not talking about a tango or waltz here. With some proper preparation and techniques, you'll quickly learn how to master this dance. In this article, we'll share some helpful tips and tricks on how to handle your salary negotiations with confidence and skill. Whether you're applying for a new job or asking for a raise with your current employer, these strategies will help you get the salary you deserve. So, lace up your dancing shoes and let's get started!

Why is it important to negotiate your salary?

It's common for you to prefer to avoid salary negotiations. You may feel uncomfortable or think it's inappropriate to negotiate your pay. But that mindset can hurt you in the long run. So, why is it actually important to negotiate your own salary?

Salary negotiations can significantly increase your income

Money may not be everything, but it helps make life more enjoyable. A decent salary helps cover everyday needs, leisure activities, education, and savings goals. By negotiating your salary, you can often accomplish much more than if you simply accept the first amount offered.

Imagine you accept a job with annual pay of 40,000 euros. However, if you had negotiated for 10% more, you could have earned 44,000 euros per year. Over time, this difference can be significant, especially when you consider that future raises and bonuses are often based on your current salary.

Negotiating the salary strengthens your professional position

A salary negotiation shows your employer that you are aware of your skills and value. This can help you gain more respect and recognition in the workplace and even improve your career opportunities. It is also seen as a sign of self-confidence and determination, which are highly valued in the working world.

Finally, a salary negotiation also creates an opportunity for a candid conversation with your boss about your role on the team and your long-term development at the company. This is a valuable opportunity to discuss your career plans and goals, and to ask for any additional support or resources you may need.

Salary negotiation is therefore an extremely important aspect of your job, not only to earn more, but also to further your career and personal growth. So, don't hesitate to negotiate your salary. It could make a big difference in your career and in your life. Remember that negotiation skills are a learnable art, and with a little practice, you can achieve your desired salary.

How do you prepare for a salary negotiation?

A salary negotiation can be an overly nerve-wracking affair, but with the right preparation, it doesn't have to be. In the previous sections, we discussed why salary negotiations are important and how they can lead to a higher income and greater respect at work. Now it's time to discuss how you can effectively prepare for a salary negotiation. This knowledge is essential to getting the best deal possible while maintaining relationships and remaining professional.

Do your homework

Before you sit down at the negotiating table, it's important to do your homework. Do a market comparison and find out what other people with similar job profiles and skills earn in your area. There are many salary comparison sites online that can help you do this. Also, think about what you've accomplished so far and how you add value to your company. Don't underestimate yourself, but be realistic in your expectations.

Another important aspect of your preparation should be the development of arguments. You need to be able to show concretely why you deserve a raise. List your achievements and accomplishments - both big and small. Make sure you can make these points clearly and convincingly, and be prepared to defend them if necessary.

Develop a conversation strategy

A salary negotiation is not only about what you say, but also how you say it. That's why it's important to develop a conversation strategy. Think about how you want to start and continue the conversation. You may want to start with a positive statement about your work and your contribution to the company, followed by your request for a raise.

Your strategy should also include how you deal with possible objections. Perhaps your supervisor will react with a defensive attitude or try to steer the conversation in another direction. In such situations, it is important to remain calm and confident. Show understanding for their views and fears, but defend your own positions.

Also, don't wait for an annual performance review or a job change to talk about your salary. You could start a salary negotiation conversation at any time, as long as you are well prepared and the timing is appropriate.

Remember, preparation is the key to successful salary negotiations. So do your homework thoroughly, develop and practice your interview strategy, and go into the interview confidently. Be prepared to clearly express your desires and the reasons why you believe you deserve a raise. And most importantly, remember that negotiations are give and take, so be prepared to compromise if necessary. With good preparation and the right attitude, you will be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

How do you bring the topic of salary into the conversation?

It's crucial to know when and how to bring up the topic of salary in the course of the conversation. The point is to get to the point without provoking strong emotional reactions. If you don't bring up the subject, you could find yourself in an awkward position. A healthy and beneficial salary conversation requires some strategies and planning.

Choose the right time

First of all, it is important to choose the right time. It is not advisable to bring up the subject of salary right at the beginning of a job interview - even if it is tempting to put your cards on the table right away and jump straight into salary negotiations. In fact, there is a specific moment that is strategic to talk about salary. This moment usually occurs when the employer is convinced that you are the right candidate for the job. This means you should prepare the salary interview only when you are sure you have the job almost in your pocket.

Be tactful

It's also critical to be tactful. You don't want to come across as money-hungry or unprofessional in any way. First, make sure you truly understand what the role requires and evaluate those expectations in the context of your own skills and experience. Then you can begin to formulate your salary expectations. Be as specific as possible and back up your demands with verifiable numbers and accomplishments. But remember, it's not just about numbers. You also need to pay attention to how you conduct the interview. Be respectful, patient, confident - but not arrogant.

Preparing for a salary interview is already half the battle. You need to be willing to compromise and be negotiable on the downside as well as the upside. But you should also be clear about what an appropriate salary is. Ultimately, it's important to remember that a salary negotiation is a form of communication. And as with all communication, both substance and style are important here.

To bring the topic of salary into the conversation and negotiate successfully, you need more than just courage. You need a clear idea of your objective, a plan to achieve it, and the ability to deal with resistance. It's also important to know when the time is right to compromise and accept a negotiation offer. After all, although it's a highly competitive game, a good salary conversation should benefit both you and your future employer.

Therefore, practice the salary conversation just as you would practice any other conversation. Do your homework, stay positive, and be patient. A successful salary conversation can not only increase the amount on your paycheck, but it can also improve your self-esteem and career prospects. And those are things you can't put a monetary value on.

What arguments are effective in a salary negotiation?

It's important to know how to effectively negotiate for a salary. This can help you massively, especially if you are changing jobs or looking for a salary increase. Probably the most important aspect is choosing your arguments during these negotiations. But which arguments are most effective in achieving a favorable salary negotiation outcome? Let's take a closer look.

Present your skills and achievements

One of the strongest arguments you can make in a salary negotiation is your skills and achievements. Point out clearly and specifically what you have achieved in your position so far and how you have contributed to the overall success of the company. Perhaps you were able to successfully complete a major project or won an important client? Each of these accomplishments is a plus in your negotiation. But always be honest and don't exaggerate - this can quickly backfire.

It's also important to point out what special skills you bring to the table, especially if they are needed or particularly valued in the company. For example, if you have specialized knowledge in a certain field or a rare qualification, this will support your claim to a higher salary.

The salary structure in the company and the remuneration customary in the industry

Another strong argument can be the salary structure in the company and the remuneration customary in the industry. Here it is helpful if you have informed yourself in advance about what other employees in similar positions in the company or in the industry earn. If you are paid less than your colleagues or your salary is below the industry average, you can use this as an opportunity to ask for a salary increase.

But be careful: You need to be tactful here. You should not be too offensive about the fact that you know exactly what your colleagues earn. That could be interpreted as an indiscretion. It is better to point out that you have informed yourself about the salaries customary in the industry and feel that your salary is not in line with the market.

In the end, it is important to remember that salary negotiation is not a game of who has the last word. It's about finding a fair solution that both sides are happy with. And if you can present strong, convincing arguments, chances are good that you will achieve a result you can be happy with. Always remain professional, even when negotiations might get heated. With the right amount of preparation and confidence, you can overcome this challenge and achieve your financial goals.

What mistakes should you avoid when negotiating your salary?

It's always good to talk about your strengths and achievements, but even when it comes to money, you should consider the mishaps that can occur during salary negotiations. Here we take a look at some of the most common salary negotiation mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Negotiate negatively or aggressively

First, whatever happens, don't let your emotions get the better of you and don't become negative or even aggressive in your negotiations. One of the basic things in conversation is that you must always remain polite. Take a Mendelian approach, "Positive negotiation is a work of art." Feel free to be tough on the subject, but always remain soft on the person. Never underestimate the importance of personal charm in such conversations.

Do not prepare yourself for the negotiations

Second, another mistake in salary negotiations is the lack of preparation. This mistake often stems from the fact that you think that only the employer side has to do its homework. But this is not true at all! As I said before, you should definitely set realistic goals and work out your ideas in advance. What is the usual salary range in the industry? What do employees in similar positions earn? You should also carefully list your accomplishments and achievements throughout your career so far so that you can highlight them when discussing them with your employer.

Make unrealistic salary demands

Third, never make unrealistic salary demands. Everyone wants to get the best salary, of course, but don't overestimate your market or position value. Always consider the judgment of a neutral third party and base your salary demands on facts and data. For example, you could use the average salary for your position in your city as a reference. Or you could ask colleagues or friends to get an overview of the salary level in your industry. And most importantly, you must never forget that non-monetary benefits such as work-life balance are also important.

Break off negotiations prematurely

And finally, never break off a negotiation prematurely just because you think you're not getting anywhere. Sometimes it's just a matter of patience or the right negotiation strategy to achieve a breakthrough. Always remember the old adage: "A good negotiation ends with a result where both sides are happy and feel valued."

If you avoid these mistakes, you have a much better chance of earning a good salary. It doesn't matter if you're just starting out in your career or if you're an experienced professional looking for a higher position. Negotiations can be tough, but always remember that it's not just about the money, it's also about respect and recognition. Finally, you don't have to walk away from a negotiation if you're having a hard time. You may also take your time. Stay calm and collected, and with the right communication skills, you're sure to get a good salary!

How do you negotiate a good salary at a new job?

You've taken the big step and are ready for a job change. Congratulations! But now you're facing one of the toughest challenges - the salary interview. However, it doesn't have to be an unpleasant topic. With a little practice and the right strategies, you can make your case successfully. Let's look at some helpful tactics for the salary negotiation process at a new job.

Estimation of your market value on the labor market

Negotiating salary for a new job is not only a matter of your negotiation skills, but it also requires a good knowledge of your market value. What does that mean exactly? Imagine that you are a product on the job market. Like any product, every employee has a certain "price", which is made up of various factors. These include, for example, your education, your experience, your skills, and what people in similar positions earn.

Use websites like Glassdoor or to find out what people in similar positions and companies earn. Also find out what salaries are like in the industry in general. With such comprehensive research as a basis, you will be stronger when it comes to salary negotiations. It will give you confidence and security in the interview and help you to better justify your salary demand.

The art of presenting a good offer

A successful salary negotiation starts with a strong initial offer. However, this does not necessarily mean that you should throw extremely high numbers into the room. Rather, it aims to establish a reference point that matches your requirements and market value.

This requires a good amount of strategic thinking and calculation. Instead of immediately naming the amount you really want to achieve, it might make sense to name a slightly higher amount first. This way you give your future employer room for negotiation and still end up with an amount you are happy with. But be careful: Your offer should always be based on your research and remain realistic.

It is important to remember that salary is not the only thing that matters. Think about what other aspects are important to you, such as work-life balance, career opportunities, or work location. These aspects can also be part of the negotiation.

Ultimately, a successful salary negotiation at a new job is the result of thorough research, a confident demeanor and good timing. So don't hesitate any longer and take control. With the right preparation and strategy, you can achieve fair pay for your work while still gaining valuable negotiation experience for the future.

How do you negotiate a better salary for a promotion?

You're about to get a promotion and it's time to bring up the subject of salary. It's important that not only your responsibilities increase, but also your salary. Here are some tips on how to successfully negotiate a better salary for a promotion.

Research thoroughly before salary negotiation

First, you should get an overview of what you are worth. Research salary information for your new position on the web. Find out what experts and industry leaders earn on average for these roles. Use tools like or Stepstone Salary Report to build a solid foundation for your negotiations. This will not only help you set realistic salary expectations, but also strengthen your negotiating position.

The more information you have at hand, the better. And don't forget - there are other aspects to consider besides the base salary. Maybe you could negotiate a higher vacation allowance, more attractive bonuses or better benefits. Your overall package will be more attractive.

Appear self-confident and emphasize one's own achievements

Be confident and take a decisive stand. You may think this is easier said than done. But hey, you've come so far and earned this promotion, so believe in yourself! It's important to communicate your successes over the past few years and emphasize how you've contributed to the company's success.

Make it clear why you deserve the raise. Show that you are ready and able to take on the increased responsibility of the new position. Let them know how much you are looking forward to the new challenges and that you are motivated to do even more.

The way you communicate can make a big difference. So tailor your words carefully, always remaining professional and respectful. Make sure you listen and respond to your boss's feedback.

Conduct salary negotiations tactfully

Don't just walk into your manager's office and ask for more money - that could have the opposite effect. Instead, take time to create a plan and develop your negotiation strategy. You might decide to discuss salary first, before even accepting the promotion. You should also decide on the exact amount or percentage you're seeking.

It's important to stay flexible. You might not get the exact salary you expected, but there could be other benefits. Also, think about long-term goals and prospects. It might make sense to accept a slightly lower raise if it means you have more chances to move up in the future.

It will take patience and skill, but you can do it. The promotion is a big step forward, both professionally and personally. It deserves the proper financial recognition. With good preparation, confidence and tactful negotiation, you'll be on your way to a better salary - not to mention getting the recognition you deserve. Good luck with your salary negotiation!

How do you handle negative responses in a salary negotiation?

It probably happens to everyone that you finally gather all your courage, prepare well for your salary interview and then you get a negative answer from your employer. Such a setback can quickly demotivate you, but don't worry, there is always a way to deal with it.

In salary negotiations, as in all other conversations, you don't have to be discouraged by a negative response. It's important to be in control of your emotions, think flexibly, and be willing to communicate and negotiate. Let's face it, this is not a beauty contest - it's about what you are worth and what you deserve.

Do not think so much about the rejection

It's easy to be discouraged or even offended when a raise or negotiation is turned down. How hurtful! But it's really important to keep a clear head in such moments.

Rejection at a salary negotiation is not necessarily an evaluation of your work or qualifications. There may be factors beyond your control, such as budgetary constraints or economic uncertainty. Try to take a step back and rationally analyze why your request was rejected. This can help you rethink your strategy for the next interview.

Be flexible and open different doors

When it comes to salary negotiations, flexibility is key. Just because your proposal for a raise didn't work out doesn't mean you can't negotiate other things that are important to you.

As an employee, you have several options to improve your situation. Perhaps training opportunities, flexible working hours, additional vacation or other amenities could also be of great value to you. And such requirements may be more acceptable to your boss.

The bottom line is that a salary negotiation is about recognizing and affirming your value. It doesn't always have to be a specific number that reflects your value. It can also come in the form of other benefits or how the company supports you in reaching your full potential.

A salary negotiation will never be a walk in the park and there will certainly be setbacks. But remember, the most important thing is yourself and your value. Always stay positive, focus on who you are and what you can do, and be willing to be flexible and readjust. Always remember that rejection does not mean an end, but an opportunity to grow from it and become stronger. Cheers! Stay cool and keep negotiating!

Tips and tricks for a successful salary interview

In the mammoth process of salary negotiation, there are often a lot of things that can go well, but a whole host of stumbling blocks also exist. However, thanks to a smart approach and valuable tips, you can steer the negotiations to your advantage. Here I present some strategies that will help you overcome this hurdle effectively and successfully.

Back up your negotiation with evidence

Believe me, "I want more money" is not a good enough reason for your boss to consider a raise. You need to be able to present strong evidence that supports your request. How do you do that? By presenting your past accomplishments and how they contributed to the company's bottom line. You could also highlight your unique skills that you bring to the company. Always remember - you're basically presenting yourself. And the only argument that really matters is your value.

Want direct access to that evidence? Take a close look at your work portfolio. Let's see it. Valuable project deliverables, goal-oriented tasks you've led, or specific skills you've developed - all of these can be useful in your salary interview. So gather all those accomplishments and present them in a compelling way.

The art of listening in salary negotiations

In a salary negotiation, it's not just your ability to speak that's important, but also your ability to listen. What exactly does that mean? It simply means that you have to be attentive to understand what your employer is actually saying and what he expects from you.

By listening carefully, you can understand and address your employer's concerns. You may have actually overlooked a skill or a way your contributions could continue to help the company. This also gives you the opportunity to reconsider and adjust your arguments before making a final decision.

Be vigilant and patient throughout the process. It's natural that a salary negotiation process can be intense and exhausting. But always remember that the results achieved are well worth the effort.

Ultimately, salary negotiation is about fair recognition of your value and contributions to the company. Always stay true to yourself and your value and never give in just to reach a compromise. Use the right strategy, stay in control of the conversation, and take ample time to prepare. Because the greatest victories are those won with hard work and perseverance. So go out there and get the salary you deserve!

What to do if the salary negotiation fails?

You went into the salary negotiation with good preparation and full of hope, and still it didn't work out? Don't worry about it! It's neither the end of the world nor a sign of personal failure. On the contrary, you grow from the challenges. Here you'll learn how to deal with an unsuccessful salary negotiation and what the next steps should be.

Analysis of the conversation

After a failed salary negotiation, take the time to reflect on the conversation. Was your demand too high? Were your arguments not convincing enough? Or was the current situation of the company simply not favorable? Try to understand what the reason for the rejection was. Maybe your boss even gave specific reasons - you should take these to heart. As stressful as it may seem, you will find out what you can do better next time and gain additional experience.

But remember not to be too self-critical. It's perfectly normal that not all salary negotiations are successful. After all, it's a give-and-take process and must be fair for both sides.

Plan B: Alternatives to the salary increase

Okay, so you didn't get a raise. But maybe there are other benefits you can negotiate instead? Things like flexible hours, home office options, or extra vacation days can make your job more valuable. A better work-life balance or even training opportunities can also greatly enhance your career. If the company isn't able to pay you more money, these are alternatives you should consider.

Don't just negotiate these extras on the side. They should be taken as seriously as your original salary request. Show your employer that you're willing and flexible to find a solution that makes sense for everyone involved. And who knows, maybe these alternatives will open up new opportunities for your professional development.

Resume the conversation

Even if the salary negotiation wasn't successful this time, it doesn't mean the door is closed forever. You can bring the subject up again at a later date, but be tactful about it. Wait for the right time - a success in the project, a new qualification or an upcoming annual review could be good occasions. Be patient and don't give up. Persistence and perseverance is often the key to success.

Remember, it's not uncommon for salary negotiations to fail. You are not alone and you should not be discouraged. A failed salary negotiation doesn't mean the end of your career, it's just a small challenge on the road to success. Use the experience to learn from it and come back stronger as well as wiser. After all, it's not the failure itself that matters, but how we handle it. Go back out and negotiate again, this time better prepared. Who knows, maybe the next salary interview will be a slam dunk. Keep at it and keep your head up!

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About the Author: Sven Emmrich

Sven Emmrich avatar
Sven is a business graduate, DEKRA-certified coach and passionate entrepreneur. As CEO of Karrierehelden, he has been writing for many years on all career topics such as job applications and job changes, money and salary negotiations, leadership skills and management issues, psychology and personality development, communication and conflict management, self-confidence and entrepreneurship, and the line between work and private life with work-life balance... or much more work-life integration. Sven has coached over 1,000 academics, professionals and executives with his team and is happy to help you too.
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