8 Answers to Common Salary Negotiation Questions

Posted September 11, 2014 by
Jim Hopkinson

Jim Hopkinson, Salary.com contributing writer

Salary negotiation can be a complicated, confusing, confidence-rattling experience. There are lots of questions to be answered, and in nearly every situation, part of the answer is “it depends” — on number of years in the workplace, what the salary level is, what the job and industry are, and how much leverage you have.

Given that background, let’s look at eight quick-hit questions that might be on your mind.

8. “How much is too much?”

Q: When asking for a higher salary, how much higher is generally reasonable? $10,000? $15,000? More than that?

A: It’s valuable to look at increases as both a number value and a percentage. An entry-level raise from $32,000 to $37,000 is a nice 16% increase, but the same $5,000 raise from $72,000 to $77,000 is only 7%. For a raise at your current job, the average increase is roughly 3%, with top-performers around 5%-10%. Getting a promotion with a new title can be much higher than that (your range of $10,000 or more), as can changing jobs.

7. “How do I get more next time?”

Q: I took a position at a lower salary based on expectations of high commissions and other incentives, which never materialized. How do I handle that when negotiating salary for my next job?

A: The key here is to avoid giving your past compensation and turn the focus on your market value for the new job. A good phrase to use might be, “I’ve done my research in terms of compensation, and found that my previous salary wasn’t a good indicator of the market value for this role, so I’d like to focus on the range for this current position.”

6. “How do I get tuition reimbursement?”

Q: I’ve been at my current job for 5 years, and have consistently been moving up in responsibility & annual salary. I’m interested in going back to school at night to get my MBA. What should I consider when trying to ask my company to pay tuition?

A: The key here is to put yourself in their shoes and think about the three most important things on their mind: How much will this cost? What will we get out of it? What happens if you leave? Thus, you should prepare a specific number that you are asking for, explain what benefits the company will receive from your increased knowledge, and propose an agreement for how long you will stay with the company – with payback options if you decide to leave.

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Article by Jim Hopkinson and courtesy of Salary.com

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