Negotiate Like a Pro in your next interview: Using Data and Negotiation Strategies to Secure the Salary You Deserve

Feb 13 / Thomas Bartelsen

Get the salary you deserve!

Negotiating salary is a nuanced aspect of the job search process, requiring a strategic approach. It usually happens after an initial expression of interest from the employer, often during or after an interview, when the employer asks about your salary expectations. 

Here's how to handle it effectively. Preparation Before the Interview:

Research: Use platforms like Glassdoor, PayScale, and LinkedIn Salary to gather data on industry standards. Know the salary range for your role, experience, and region. A more comprehensive guide can be found here

Evaluate Your Worth: Assess and quantify your skills, achievements, and how they align with the market and the specific job. Also, check out the salaries provided about the company you are applying for in portals such as kununu.

Anticipate the Salary Question:

Timing: Be prepared to discuss salary if asked during the interview process. It's common to ask that in this step. When you're in the second interview, and the salary has yet to be discussed, or if you're being asked to travel a fair distance, consider raising the salary question yourself to save time.

Strategic Response: When asked about your salary expectations, it's best to first try to understand the range the employer has in mind. If they insist on an answer, provide a range based on your research and what salary components they may offer. Be prepared to justify your range. Let them know that you need to understand all the benefits provided, such as the number of vacation days, variable component, vacation pay, company car, etc., before you can give them an exact number. You also need to know what you will be getting from the company. This will help you both better understand what will be expected and what will be offered.
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Structure your job search strategy with a solid foundation. Our game plan guides you and helps identify your market value.

Employ Top Negotiation Strategies

Harvard Negotiation Method:

Principle: Focus on mutual interests rather than positions to find a win-win solution.

Application: Explain the reasoning behind your salary range, focusing on how your skills meet the company's and not just the number itself.

BATNA (Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement):

Principle: Knowing your alternatives if the negotiation fails.

Application: Understand your market value and have an idea of other opportunities you could pursue, giving you confidence to negotiate from a position of strength.

If your salary is above the maximum range, consider reducing your weekly hours or requesting additional benefits such as education or vacation time as a counter-offer.


Principle: The first number set in the negotiation influences the discussion.

Application: If asked for your salary expectations, propose a range based on your research that is a higher end to set a strong anchor.

ZOPA (Zone of Possible Agreement):

Principle: The range within which an agreement is satisfactory to both parties.

Application: Determine your acceptable salary range and aim to understand the employees to find overlap.

Mirroring and Labeling:

Principle: Using reflective listening and recognizing emotions to build rapport.

Application: Echo the interview when discussing salary to encourage openness and label any concerns they express to show understanding and empathy.

Justify Your Ask:

Data-Driven Justification: Use your gathered data to support your salary range. Highlight your achievements and how you can add value to the company.

Flexibility and Professionalism:

Negotiation: Show willingness to negotiate other aspects like benefits if salary flexibility is limited.

Maintain Professionalism: Regardless of the outcome, remain positive and professional. 

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Scenario Comparison

Lack of Preparation and Research:

Entering discussions without market data or understanding your worth leads to unrealistic salary demands or underselling yourself.

Misjudging the Timing:

Prematurely stating a specific salary expectation without understanding the employer's or showing flexibility. The more information you gather upfront, the better you can reason.

Rigid Negotiation Tactics:

Sticking to a single number without considering other compensation aspects or failing to use effective negotiation strategies to find common ground.

Poor Communication:

Refrain from justifying salary expectations with data or achievements and showing frustration or impatience during discussions. Another example would be statements such as I want to improve when changing jobs.

Neglecting Professionalism:

Taking a confrontational stance or showing dissatisfaction with the process damages the potential for future engagement.

Effectice Scenario:

In an interview, Alex is asked about salary expectations. Alex defers answering directly, seeking to understand the employer first. Alex provides a researched salary range when pressed, emphasizing flexibility and eagerness to find mutual ground. Alex uses anchoring and mirroring to guide the conversation, leading to a satisfactory offer that reflects both market rates and Alex's ask.

Ineffective Scenario:

During an interview, Jamie immediately states a high salary expectation without any research to back it up. Jamie shows frustration when the employer expresses budget constraints and insists on the initial figure without considering other compensation forms. This approach leads to a strained conversation and diminishes Jamie's of receiving an offer.

In conclusion, if your salary demand exceeds the maximum range, there are other negotiation strategies you can use. One such strategy is to request additional benefits such as education or vacation time or consider reducing your weekly hours to balance out the salary. Being flexible and creative can increase your chances of securing a fair compensation package that meets your needs and expectations.
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