10 Negotiating Salary Tactics: How to Get Paid What You Deserve

In Career Advice, Salary
January 26, 2016

Nurse Negotiating Salary - 10 Negotiating Salary Tactics: How to Get Paid What You Deserve

There is nothing more intimidating for new employees than negotiating salary. We often think of it as a pushy or antagonistic practice, but the truth is, it’s not as scary as we think. 

Any good boss understands that business is business and feelings shouldn’t get in the way of good business; they also understand that employees want compensation that will allow them to stay and grow with the company and live comfortably. Many people low-ball themselves and end up regretting their decision or begrudging their employer because they don’t get paid what they think they are worth. The problem is, they never negotiated for what they are worth– they let their boss tell them the price because of fear. Most people fear rejection more than they fear to work for little pay at a job they don’t even love.

Our salary plays into how we feel and how we do our jobs. If you feel shafted, then you probably won’t put forth as much effort as you would if you felt valuable. Decide how much you’re worth and don’t settle until you get pretty close.

We know negotiating salary is the cause of anxiety, frustration, and fear, but HospitalCareers wants to help. That’s why we will show you how to effectively negotiate your salary and get paid what you’re worth.

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10 Negotiating Salary Tactics:

1. Know What You’re Worth

To successfully get the money you deserve, you must first know what number you need to pay your bills and have a little spending money.

Calculate your monthly expenses. See where all your money goes, whether it be food, gas, rent, health insurance, etc., and get a baseline on what it will take for you to live. Then add to that number. Nobody wants to just work to live. If you’re going to give hundreds of hours to a company– which is time you can never get back– then you need enough money so you can do other things with your life, other than work.

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Think of your hobbies, vacation, your transportation– anything that would make your life a little better– and calculate those costs. Once you have an idea of what you want to do and how much it costs, on top of how much basic living costs, you can come up with a better number for yourself. Now, don’t get crazy and add up a $65,000 trip to Everest and think your number should include that if your job is not worth that.

But that leads me to the next point.

2. Research the Market

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See what people who do what you do, in your area, get paid. Like I was saying above, an employer is not going to pay you a crazy sum of money if other people who do your job make just above minimum wage. You have to go off the market and see what it can handle. With that being said, you do want to negotiate on the high-end of what the job pays. It is tempting to give in and feel like we are being nice by starting at a mid-level salary, but if you start in the middle, you will end low.

Your employer will most definitely counter your offer, so if you start high, you can land somewhere in the middle like you were comfortable with at the beginning. Alternately, if you start in the middle, you will end at your base, low-income level– or even worse, below that.

3. Make a Brag Sheet

Put together a list of all the things you’ve accomplished in the company and show them how you’ve benefitted them in some way. You can increase your money if you’ve increased your companies, too. Even if it’s not money that you added, as long as you’ve added some type of value, that makes you worth more.

If you are just coming into a job, then you’ve obviously not added any value to them, yet. So, show them how you added value to your former employer or the skills that make you a valuable commodity. Let’s face the facts here, jobs are commodities, which makes employees commodities– so be a valuable commodity to your business and you will get paid for it.

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4. Wait Until Thursday or Friday

Nobody wants to talk about money on Monday. The beginning of the week is the worst time to bring up subjects like time off or money; bosses are on edge and planning for the week and employees hate that they had to get up early. Nobody likes Monday through Wednesday and everybody is a little on-edge.

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On Thursday or Friday people are more relaxed; the week is winding down and the heavy lifting is done. Many places even go out to lunch on Thursday or Friday, which would be an excellent time to talk about money. Food makes people happy, when people are happy, they are more willing to help other people– so ask your boss for a raise when he’s happy.

If you don’t work there yet, then invite the person that decides your pay, out to lunch on a Friday. If you can’t manage lunch, then, at least, try sending an email.

5. Stay Confident

Once you know your worth, then be confident that’s what you should earn. If you don’t know your value, it leads to becoming discouraged and persuaded to take a lesser salary because your employer has tons of practice and never wants to pay more than what you fight for.

Lack of confidence and fear are what keep people in servitude at jobsthey hate. They are afraid that they can’t find another job, which leads to them being afraid of getting fired, which only fuels the fear that they will have to start the job hunt over again, so they do nothing. Employers feed off fear, it keeps employees in check, but if you build up confidence and know that it’s all a game, you can play it to your advantage.

Most often an employer will pay you close to what you want to keep them from having to rehire someone or look for another worthy candidate– because they hate employee-hunting almost as much as we hate job-hunting. So go in knowing that it is a two-way street and you both can help each other. That way both parties can come to a comfortable agreement, and leave the meeting satisfied.

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6. Ask Questions

It’s important to ask diagnostic questions so you get a feel for what your employer needs. This allows you to better understand your leverage and value. If you don’t ask questions, you’ll never know what they truly need to run a better business, and you can’t show them value by meeting that need.

Once you get a feel for their priorities and needs, let them know if you bring that value to the table. Offer up solutions to their problems and let them know you are worth the money. If you can prove what you say, then you can add more money to your pockets.

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7. Don’t Focus on Old Salaries

You don’t want your prospective employer to think they can pay you what you previously made, or that you would be happy with that number. Just because you made it in the past doesn’t mean that’s what you are worth now. We should be paid according to our growth and education and don’t settle for a job that won’t.

If they ask what you made at a previous employer, have a figure ready that reflects your salary, benefits, vacation, etc., but don’t focus on that number or let them assume that’s what you expect. Quickly move from that number to the projected number you want with this new job and be sure to highlight your growth so they know you’re worth it.

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8. Be Specific

Don’t give a salary range. If you give a specific number, it will show that you did your homework and know exactly what the job is worth. If you give a range between 50k-60k then that will give them too much of a gap and could potentially land you at the bottom of the scale. It shows them that you’re uncertain and willing to give in to their numbers first.  But, if you tell them you want $62,525, that will show that you crunched some numbers and came up with an educated value.

It also helps negotiations, because you can go down in smaller increments than if you just had a rounded number. If you say $60,000, they are more likely to come back with a rounded number like that, say 56,000. But they will round down. If you say 60,250, then they might come back with 56,250–that’s 250 more dollars than you would’ve gotten.

negotiating salary  - 10 Negotiating Salary Tactics: How to Get Paid What You Deservevia Giphy

9. Ask for More than You Would Take

Many people fear to ask for more money when negotiating salary. If you would take $50,000, ask for $60,000. Now maybe this number is too steep, but your market research will show you how much the market can handle. Whatever the high-end is, start with that. It makes your employer feel like they won if you settle for $55,000 when all along you would’ve taken $50,000.  Ultimately, you still win and your boss feels good too.

Don’t feel bad about playing the game. You’re bosses play it too. They wouldn’t be where they are without asking for more and not settling until they got it. It’s all about knowing what you’re worth and convincing other people of it.

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10. Be Nice, But Firm

There is no reason to be mean or defensive, it’s a discussion– a negotiation. That means they can counter and you can too. You don’t have to settle for an unfair price and they don’t either.

You are trying to get a certain amount for your time and your boss is trying to get the best deal possible. Think of it as a farmers market; you both want a fair price and you both had to work hard to get where you are, but you don’t want to lose. So meet somewhere in the middle where both parties get a good deal and be kind about it– nobody likes a sore winner or loser.

If you can’t meet on a price, don’t be afraid to walk away. You don’t have to take the job. Set a price and don’t take the job if it’s not met.

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It is a misconception that we have to settle for less than we want, just to have a job. If you work a job where you don’t feel valued, you won’t work there very long anyway. So, think how you will feel 6 months down the road when you are overworked and underpaid. That is a toxic equation. There are more opportunities out there, you just have to be brave enough to find them. Don’t get discouraged if your negotiations fail; without failures, we would never have any success.


See, negotiating salary isn’t all that scary. Once, you do some math and see what people are getting paid in your market, you can make a more educated decision on how much to ask for when the time comes. Remember to add up your expenses, value yourself, see what the market can handle, be confident, be nice, and walk away if your number isn’t met. But if the negotiations do work give yourself a pat on the back and be sure to thank your employer. Hope this helps!

Tell us what you think below. Do you have any negotiation tips?

Advance your career. Change your life. - HospitalCareers