Salary Negotiation

How not to lose salary negotiation game

What my salary amount should be? What if I could have named a higher amount? That’s too high for them, probably they would not hire me. I know I cost more, how should I tell them? Is there an option for a counteroffer? Both companies offer me the same amount of money, which one should I choose?

Do any of these questions sound familiar? Well, some of them should be. I guess every programmer who switched a company considered those questions. Let’s cover the most important points on how to behave in case of salary negotiation and how not to lose this ‘negotiation game‘.

Know Your Value

The most important and probably the most obvious one. If you’re going to get the pay you deserve, it’s crucial to know the going rate for your position in your specific industry and in your geographic area. If you walk into a salary negotiation without a number, most likely you will lose control of the conversation.

You can estimate your value by visiting different sites with the average statistics of dev salaries (my favorite one is Glassdoor) or simply by asking others in your field.

Aim to the Top of the Range

After you’ve finished the first point, you’ll likely come up with a range that represents your market value. You can think that the best option is to pick something in the middle of the range, but instead, you should ask for something toward the top.

There is a high chance that your employer will negotiate down, so you need some space to still end up with a salary you’re pleased with.

Always Have Your “Walk-Away” Point

I know, walking away from an offer is never easy. But you should understand that without the power of saying “no” you will never be satisfied with your job. So the “walk-away” point is the price which you should turn down no matter what. The numbers could be based on financial need, market value, or simply on your inner feeling of a good salary.

Start With Questions

Discover everything you can about the company. During the interview, you should ask about company goals, desires, and priorities. These questions can help you understand the point of your negotiation partner and offer up ideas or solutions which will be valuable.

Show What You Can Offer

Before you start talking numbers, talk about what you’ve done and what you can do. Your growing plans, goals, and ideas - everything which can show you as a promising employee.

If possible, provide a summarize what you’ve achieved this year. Try to highlight cases when you’ve gone above and beyond in your role, which will describe you as an experienced developer with a high vision of various situations with the ability not to lose focus under pressure.

Don’t Be the First One to Name the Numbers

I often compare salary negotiation with a poker game. In poker, one of the ways to win the pool is by having the highest combination at the showdown. So the rule you should follow: never be the first one to open your desired amount. Make everything you can in order to let your potential employer call his vision of your salary. That’s the only valid case when you can negotiate. Once you’ve named the numbers yourself - there is a 99% you will not have a chance for the increase.

Common Mistakes During Negotiations

  1. Don’t disclose your current or desired salary! Recovering from this mistake can be tricky. Instead, try to focus on the value you can add to the company.

  2. Don’t say “sorry“. Saying sorry could signal to the recruiter that you might be willing to back down, and that could be expensive. Don’t apologize for negotiating.

  3. Avoid “yes“ and “no“. Focus on positive language in order to continuously improve your situation throughout the negotiation. Instead of “Yes”, formulate a counteroffer to see how much you can improve it. The negotiation should end with the company saying “Yes” to you. Once they say “Yes” to you, or you run out of things to ask for, then you are finished negotiating.

That’s it for the basic salary negotiation points. Try to include them in your interview processes. And last, but not least: the main key to success is practice. The more interviews you will proceed with, the more experience and confidence in yourself and in your knowledge you will get.

Good luck finding your best salary! <3