How To Negotiate A Job Salary Or Ask For A Raise

How To Negotiate For A Higher Salary

I wanted to share with you some insights I picked up from top career books like What Color Is Your Parachute? and best-selling career experts and authors like Ramit Sethi:

So there are two possible situations:

  • you just got a new job
  • you’ve been working here for a while and have been overdelivering but not getting the raise you want.

I’m going to teach you the best, timeless practices for properly negotiating a higher salary rate.

Know Your Value

Before you even consider negotiating, it is important to really know if you are delivering value above what you are being paid. It is one thing to want more money, but it’s another to ask for something you don’t deserve. Many people mistake what they want for what they think they deserve.

Sometimes, it is difficult to determine it yourself. There are objective metrics of numbers like sales brought in, leads captured, and so forth that can be used. In addition to that, meet with at least 5 people in your industry who are doing well and know the industry well. They can give you a great understanding of how well you are delivering the

They can give you a great understanding of how well you are delivering the services you were hired for and whether or not you are under or overvaluing yourself.

You Don’t Need To Be Perfect

You don’t have to be the most flawless negotiator in the world to get things right. In fact, with the proper understanding and techniques, you can still butcher parts of it and do well.

It’s Not Evil

It’s not always an evil thing to ask for what you are worth, especially if you can justify it. In fact, it’s good for you and the right employers will respect it.

Use Leverage

One important component to negotiation is leverage. You can’t be the guy who is desperate or doesn’t have any other offers on the table. Compare that to the guy who has 3 other offers on the table and has statistics on why he wants a specific compensation based off market research.

Put Off The Salary Negotiation Before An Offer Has Been Extended

During the hiring or interviewing process, you should make sure to defer the negotiation. You can say you are not comfortable talking numbers until after both parties decide you are a good fit.

A top performing candidate doesn’t over-focus on salary initially and doesn’t let that tangle up with the more important points of the discussion before that during applying and interviewing. Always will wait until an offer is extended because that is when he or she has leverage.

As a last resort, you can tell them that you will use the budget they have already assigned to the role as a starting point.

In rare cases, they might seriously show that they are ending the discussion if you don’t bring up salary. For some companies, especially not your ideal company, you must be willing to show that you are willing to walk away yourself. In other cases, those are instances where you can finally let up and give a range if you really want.

Don’t Be Disturbed By Emotional Tactics

Sometimes, the hiring manager might get incredibly angry or react with emotion when you tell him or her you are unwilling to discuss salary levels yet. It may or may not be a tactic to get you to agree to their demands. Remain calm, polite, and stay the course.

How To Find The True Market Salary Range For Your Job Role

How To Ask for A Promotion

First, make sure you really think you deserve the salary you are aiming for. Many people overestimate or underestimate what they’re worth. Women especially under-value their skill and potential while some individuals of both genders complain about a raise they don’t deserve.

Talk to people with similar jobs as you through LinkedIn or other sources. Reach out to them and meet in person. Ask them about their typical salary range and the responsibilities that are expected of that.

You can do this honestly and ethically.

From there, you have a sense of the market price of your role based on many meetings.

If you are being underpaid based on what you find the market range is, you can move on to the directions further down.

Also, you can use websites like and to get a fairly accurate estimate of your expected range. Of course, talking to people in person from your market is the most accurate bet. Talk to more than one so you have a more accurate picture rather than anecdotal or unique salary ranges.

If you’re within the range, you need to overdeliver to get a higher pay. Make sure you have solid evidence of you going above and beyond expected metrics or numbers of achievement significantly. Some people say you need to bring in ten times the amount of money you are asking for. That might be overboard for some people. It may be a good benchmark.

How To Effectively Negotiate Salary

Few people do this right. Many people are too lazy and they don’t prepare. But getting this right can turn a $5,000 salary into a $500,000 lump sum if you invest it over the next few decades through a reputable, safe index fund.

The first thing you should do is prepare properly. Do not come in there spontaneously with no plan. Have some level of presentation with evidence of your achievements to present them.

Get them to offer first. Ideally, you want them to offer first on a salary range. You should have already researched the market range. It doesn’t always happen, but if you can, get them to offer first to see where you are.

You don’t want to bring up your past salary if possible, especially if you have all low salaries in your past experience. They could use that as a benchmark to get you for a lower price.

When they offer you the job and a number for your salary, do not react and resist the urge to immediately accept the offer, even if it’s in the range you want. Slow your responses down. 

If it is in the green (a range you want), slowly respond saying you think it’d be a great fit but you’ll have to think it over. Ask for when you should get back to them by.

You have no obligation to accept the offer on the spot no matter how much pressure they give you.

If it’s yellow (below the range expected), proceed to do what is said in the section right below:

Understand higher level thinking

A true highly valued candidate, which you should strive to be, understands that they have some power too. Don’t assume that the company has all the power. You have the ability to leave or move to different jobs if you aren’t being compensated well compared to another job offer. High achievers don’t emphasize on compensation as the #1 priority. When you are going through the hiring process, the salary and compensation should be deferred until after the offer is extended because a high performer is concerned about other things first. You must embody this idea.

A top performer is willing and able to ask for what he or she deserves because he or she deserves it.

A valued applicant or employee embodies good body language.

If they offer you a salary way lower than what you expected (in the red), avoid lower level reactive responses like shuddering in shock. Simply, kindly point out a higher range with good reasoning.. It implies that you have an emphasis or naivete regarding salary. A skilled hiring manager can detect the slightest hesitation since they do it often.

This is what average performers do: They get offered a random salary and have no idea what the typical market range is. They go on to just vaguely ask for more because they want it.

Instead, you should prepare ahead of time so you’ve done your research and know the market rate. Also, you should be able to justify with good reasoning why you deserve more if you ask for it. You need to go in with a reasonable salary range to aim for. The point is to be able to bypass offers that are way too low or identify offers that are as high as it gets. A good rule of thumb is a range of at least $10,000.

Come in with an Agreeable, Friendly Vibe

It’s important to come into the discussion beforehand and make sure you create a friendly, positive environment between you and the manager before discussing the topic at hand.

Maybe that means a very brief bit of small talk about an upbeat topic beforehand like what happened that day.

This is important because humans are much more likely to agree with you when they’re in a good mood and like you. Some of it can be created just by the small talk and discussion before you bring up the topic of negotiation over salary. Other times, it’s about timing.

You must be socially intelligent and aware enough to reschedule a meeting if the manager you are talking to is in a really bad mood because of something that happened to him that day. You could make things ten times harder or impossible by doing the same exact thing but timing it wrong and meeting with them when they’re already in a really bad mood.

I learned this from Donald Trump’s book. He had an employee he loved that he would have definitely given a raise to except that the employee chose to discuss it right after he was in an incredibly bad mood because of a business deal not related at all to this employee.

It’s Not About Manipulation

It’s not about manipulation. These are usually people you like and work with that you are negotiating with. Even if you can manipulate with tactics, it doesn’t mean you should. Remember that this is a relationship that you will have with them.

Some things shouldn’t be overstepped such as ruining the long-term relationship by being too hard-pressed with a negotiation. It’s not a very socially intelligent thing if you do this because you’ve won the short-term battle but lost the long-term war.

Come Prepared With Numbers and Reasons

You must be able to come in prepared with numbers, comparisons, and an understanding of the market range as well as what you have done to deserve a raise or higher salary offer.

This is important because it shows that you are not just doing things unprofessionally and have reasons that can be backed up to argue your point rather than just rambling with no tangible reasons. The latter is easily pushed off.

If you come in with no good reasons, they have no reason to even consider it. It must be packaged right.

This can be quantitative or qualitative things backed up with measurable reasons. Quantitative results could be like:

  • This is the market salary range ($45,000 to $55,000 per year) based off all the people I’ve talked to and I think I am way below the mark even though I’m overdelivering.
  • Most employees with my title deliver $200,000 in sales per quarter but it’s clear as day that I’m delivering $500,000+ consistently.

Don’t be intimidated by “the standard.”

Hiring managers (from small to very large businesses) might throw out the phrase “it’s just the standard process” or “it’s the company policy” when they offer a very low salary range or won’t budge on negotiation. Almost always, this is just a tactic and doesn’t actually mean they can’t negotiate or change the offer.

You Can Negotiate For More Than Just Salary

Sometimes, your employer has really strict salary budget requirements. That is fine. In that case, try to negotiate for other things they can give like extra time off, a signing bonus, more time before you start, parking, stock options, other benefits, insurance, etc.

Generally speaking, you want to start with a big request (salary increase), then a small request (a more frequent review process), then a bigger request (4-week vacation).

Make sure first that they really have such strict budgets because they can easily lie and say there are “standards of budget” when there are not.

What To Do If They Refuse Your Suggested Salary Range

In this case, they may have a number of different excuses like the economy, budget, or “the company standard.”

To respond, you can tell them that you agree if you were an average candidate, but you intend to make an above average contribution and you want the compensation to reflect this. Show the evidence and metrics you’ve collected to back this up.

Be concise, deliver your response, and be silent. Every word after that you add can cost you.

In cases it still doesn’t work, you can concede a bit and show that you are conceding slightly in your message. Tell him or her that you understand and are flexible. Tell him or her that you would really like to get a number at least a little closer to what you had in mind. Another way to phrase it is to ask if it would be fair to at least meet halfway. see the section below on “If You Cave.”

For more details, see the section below on “If You Cave.”

Leverage Demand and Offers From Other Companies

You don’t need to be the smoothest talking guy in the world. However, you need to have leverage and show you are sought after.

Do this ethically and do not lie.

If you can show that you have multiple companies interested in you who want to hire you or you are currently interviewing with, it will show that you have value and add additional, real reasoning behind why they would consider your salary suggestion.

Sometimes, you may be dead set on one company, but you should not rule out a second or third company. Go to the interview if asked. You may be able to leverage additional offers in your compensation negotiation. And you never know – you could end up liking these other companies better.

Contrast this to the average joe who appears desperate. When he’s asked if he has any other offers, he answers that this was the only offer and he really hopes it pans out. It shows that you are not highly sought after or valuable in the marketplace.

He may have even had another offer but he turned down the interview because he was too set on one company.

If you mention that you got a higher offer from another company, it can be great leverage for compensation negotiation. Do not lie about a fake offer if you never got one. It can come back to bite you.

To get multiple offers at the same time, you must apply and time them so you get the offers all around the same time period. Some application processes can take 4 times longer at some companies. One way you can get them to line up around the same time is to

Some application processes can take 4 times longer at some companies. One way you can get them to line up around the same time is to attempt to speed up one company’s process. Send HR, the hiring manager, or the recruiter a note thanking them for their time and mentioning that you have an offer from another company that wants a decision soon. Ask if you can help speed up the process anyhow.

By being honest and showing you have urgent demand from others, they might speed up the process.

Precise Offers Work Better Than Round Numbers

Studies have shown that precise first offers resulted in more favorable counter-offers in negotiations because it gives the appearance of being more knowledgeable.

This can go beyond negotiation. Whenever you are pointing to a numerical achievement, it is better to be very precise, such as $11,596.52 or 4,549%, rather than a round number like $12,000 or 4,000%.

If You Cave…

Negotiation should be practiced with friends so you get better. Practice makes you better. However, there will be instances where it’s real life and you didn’t practice enough or something slipped, and you cave from the pressure.

They may press you or might just intimidate you.

Here’s the plan if you do:

If they get you to disclose a range for salary, use phrases like “I normally don’t do this, but here is my expected range/here was my past salary/here’s the minimal salary I’d consider.”

Also, you can use a phrase like “Based on my experience, skills, and the value I proved I can provide, this is the starting range I’d be interested in.”

It’s important to show that you are conceding slightly.

Small Businesses Can Pay Just As Much, If Not More

Sometimes, you will get reasoning from small businesses that they cannot pay as much because of their size. Oftentimes, this is really not true, especially if they have

Oftentimes, this is really not true, especially if they have funding or are profitable. Don’t let this tactic prevent you from getting what you’re worth.

Sometimes, it is true though, especially with really small start-up’s. Some of these will offer a percentage ownership in the company (called equity) instead. Think it through because if you really believe in the success of the company and it happens, that equity could be worth a lot more than the salary in the long run. Or it could be worth zero if the company goes bust.

Remember, It’s Not Just About The Money

Salary and compensation in the form of bonuses, gym passes, or yoga mats aren’t the only things you should focus on. Some of you should already know this, but might forget in the heat of salary negotiation.

Sometimes, it is much more profitable and fulfilling in the long run to take a pay cut for the first 2 years or so to get learning experience that is invaluable to moving towards your dream job and full potential. Keep that in mind.

You want to start with salary, but after that, you can talk about other requests in your negotiation if you want. Don’t push it too far though. Ask for a smaller request first like an extra week of vacation, and then a larger request.

How Long After The Negotiation Do You Have To Accept or Decline the Job Offer?

While you can definitely take time to decide on the job offer, you might have to accept or decline the job offer on the spot right once the negotiation has been settled, especially if it went well and they went out of their way to offer a lot of extra things for you. It is impolite to keep them waiting sometimes.

Sometimes, you can still get away with having some time to think about it. This would be ideal because you could be spurred to make the wrong choice based on the emotions and pressure of the moment.

Especially if you have multiple offers and you really want to decide right, it would be ideal to take time and write them down on paper to compare them properly and without bias.

Practice Unearths Unnoticed Responses and Body Language

If you can, you want to practice mock negotiations with friends. You may be able to identify emotional reactions, like anger, or bad body language that was unnoticed before.


  • Delay salary talk until the offer. Get them to offer first when you do negotiate.
  • Get multiple offers at the same time. Leverage these in negotiations.
  • Practice negotiations with friends to get better and unearth unnoticed mistakes.
  • Don’t be affected by emotional tactics or reasons like “the budget, the economy, or company standard.”
  • Prepare ahead of time and show your value clearly with metrics and evidence. Do you research on the real market salary range with websites and people who work in that role.
  • Remember salary is not everything. Learning experience is also important.
  • In some situations, you can concede a bit or meet halfway.
  • Precise numerical offers work better than round numbers in negotiations.
  • Small businesses can sometimes pay just as much if not more than large businesses so don’t always let that reasoning deter you.

What’s the #1 thing you learned from this that you can implement immediately? I want you to practice 3 different responses to salary offers (one that is in the expected range, one that is slightly below, and one that is way below) in a mirror today.

Here’s my challenge to you: I want you to practice 3 different responses to salary offers (one that is in the expected range, one that is slightly below, and one that is way below) in a mirror today.


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By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.

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