Tips for hiring.

8 Tips For Employers Looking To Successfully Negotiate Salary

Posted August 26, 2015 by Christina Taler in Hiring and Onboarding
Learn how to successfully, strategically, and ethically negotiate salary with new employees.

Once you have determined that you need to expand your team and have successfully completed interviewing candidates, it’s time to move on to the next crucial step: negotiating salary.

Tips for Negotiating Salary

Above all else, don’t go into negotiations with a confrontational attitude. Negotiations with a new hire present a wonderful opportunity to reflect your company’s core values while empowering your newest team member. Want a positive experience for all? Follow these eight tips on how to negotiate salary.

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Know Your BATNA

Make sure you know the answers to the following questions: What is your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (or, BATNA)?

Is this the best candidate? If your new employee has terms that you just can’t meet, are you willing to walk away? How easy would it be to find a candidate with their skill level? How urgently do you need the position filled? Once you know your options you can determine how far you can go.

Do Your Research 

Take the time to properly research comparable salaries. Your new employee will undoubtedly come into talks having done their homework and you should too. Websites like or  are a great resource.

Establish a Salary Range

Now that you’ve done your research, establish a salary range. What is the most and least that you’re willing to pay? Does this range vastly differ from the salaries of your current employees? Being fair not just to your prospective hire but to your current staff is vital and will stave off future tensions among your team.

Anticipate Their Needs

Preparation is key in negotiations. Take the time to know your needs – as well as the needs of the candidate. Assess their target point. What are they getting paid now? In interviews, have they expressed a number they’re hoping to make? Are they going to be driven solely by salary, or are they looking for other options, like flexibility? What will they do if your negotiations end in an impasse? Are they simply looking for an offer for leverage with their current employer?  

It’s Not Just About Salary - Create Value 

When bargaining with your future teammate, your mutual overarching objective should be that both of you do better together. What kinds of benefits can you add to the bargaining mix? Creating value in your negotiations gives you a position of strength as you trade concessions, also known as logrolling. For example, if you know you can’t meet their salary demands but want to remain a competitive option, would your new employee be willing to sacrifice pay in exchange for flex time or other benefits? 

Be Ethical 

Presented with an initial offer, women are significantly less likely to negotiate salary. That’s one reason why they tend to make less than their male counterparts. You can see how this quickly becomes problematic. Operating with the assumption that your opponent will counter, you open with an admittedly low figure, which they then accept. Male or female, use the opportunity to be honest and suggest the salary you previously established as your target point. Such a move reflects your company’s integrity and earns the candidate’s respect. Consider the following example cited in the books Bargaining for Advantage and Negotiation Genius. When Albert Einstein was recruited by the Institute for Advanced Study in the early 1930s, he made an opening ask for an annual salary of $3,000 or less. Knowing that he had undervalued himself, IAS countered with $15,000 per year. This commitment to integrity paid off – Einstein remained affiliated with IAS until his death.

Ask Questions

A common mistake that most people make when negotiating is the sole use of “what” questions. Instead, go with “why.” This is especially important if you’ve found yourself at an impasse. It’s easy to get frustrated when someone seemingly refuses to adjust their demands and it can quickly turn into a battle of wills. By asking the person why they’re holding fast to their position, you may learn what’s driving them and find a solution that satisfies both sides.

Confirm What You’ve Agreed To

You’ve come to an agreement. Now what? Together, put your agreement in writing as soon as possible. You'll avoid making a common compliance mistake. Plus, you'll both have a clear understanding of the expectations and terms established. Now, time to celebrate!

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.