10 Questions to Ask When Negotiating Salary
Negotiating skills don't come naturally to everyone
Dona DeZube | Monster Finance Careers Expert
What you ask for during a salary negotiation doesn’t just influence how much you earn — it also tells your future employer whether you’re good at negotiating, which is a skill you can put to work for the employer once you’re hired.
Negotiating salary doesn’t come naturally to many Americans, says Matthew DeLuca, author of Perfect Phrases for Negotiating Salary and Job Offers: Hundreds of Ready-to-Use Phrases to Help You Get the Best Possible Salary, Perks, or Promotion. “Most people in our country are not used to bargaining,” he says, “But if you don’t bargain, you’re not going to get all you should.”
Perfect Phrases explains how to negotiate salary, but DeLuca’s tips also apply to contract and project-based pay negotiations. In both cases, the people on the other side of the salary negotiations are trying to get you for the most cost-effective price.
To win your best salary, continue talking until you get everything you want, whether that’s a higher base, an early salary review or company-paid childcare, DeLuca says.
“There’s always a risk involved with any questions you raise when the offer is made, but it’s better to ask questions then, because if [the company is] uncompromising, that’s not a healthy situation,” he says. “If they have no tolerance for questions, you need to know that up front.”
Think of a salary negotiation as your chance to shine. “The person on the other side of the desk is evaluating you,” DeLuca says. “This is going to show you’re astute in dealing with the outside world. When you get the offer, don’t let your guard down — you’re still on the firing line. Feel confident, because they’ve come to you with an offer.”
To make sure you get all you deserve, DeLuca recommends asking these 10 questions:
1. “Thanks — is this a firm job offer?”
Demonstrate that you’re professional, polished and polite by saying thank you, and immediately follow to make sure that you really have just been offered a job.
2. “Is this negotiable?”
Once the salary offer is revealed, it never hurts to ask if they’ll put more money on the table. If they say no, you can move on to negotiate other items.
3. “Is this base only?”
Asking if the figure you’re offered is total compensation or base compensation lets the interviewer know you’re interested in the details of bonuses and stock options, and it opens up other questions about bonus opportunities.