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7 things no one will tell you about salary negotiation

Written by Nuskha Semaun on 12 October 2020 for Professionals

Even though it might seem like you don’t need it right now, the time will come that you’ll be thankful that salary negotiation was a skill you focused on at one point. Whether you’re starting a new job, are up for a promotion at your current employer, or just don’t feel that the value of what you do is reflected in your current paycheck, being able to approach these things objectively and calmly will definitely impact your total compensation in the end.

Preparing for, let alone having a conversation on this topic might seem daunting but when you do, it’s good to keep these 7 things in mind.


#1. Find out what you’re worth

To get a feel for your desired salary, you’ll need to know your current market value. This will help you justify the amount you think you’re worth when negotiating with your hiring manager or boss.

If you are researching a new company or debating a job offer, reach out to peers, colleagues, or people in your professional network, and find out what they know. You can even talk to recruiters (they’re probably stalking you anyway, so why not?) and ask them what people with your experience and expertise are typically worth. Find out what they know. You may not get a specific figure, but you may get a salary range, which can be a helpful starting point.

Once you’ve defined your range, go online, and start doing some research. Glassdoor is an excellent resource as it lets you compare salaries with millions of other employees and see whether you are being paid fairly. You can get a free, personalized salary estimate and use it to compare your job offer or paycheck with the salaries of other people with similar roles and responsibilities.

If you are further on in your career and thinking about asking for a raise, you can start by looking at the company or organization itself; is there a salary ‘band’ or ‘grade’ for your position? The HR department will (or at least should) definitely be able to assist you.

#2. Don’t try to win all the time

If you recently aced a negotiation class, the temptation to prove your negotiation chops can seem irresistible. Our advice? Don’t haggle over the small stuff. Again; companies don’t negotiate, people do. There’s a time and place for everything, and fussing over tiny details isn’t the smartest strategy; it may even jeopardize your potential future working relationships.


For example, peppering your current or prospective boss with questions about the finer details of your job offer may see you burn through goodwill and cause your working relationship to sour. If certain things are important to you, absolutely discuss them. But consider directing them to an HR representative rather than your line manager.

The exceptions to this rule would be special requests that you think the hiring manager is stalling on for fear of breaking precedent. In this case, speaking to your boss may prove fruitful as they’ll benefit more directly from your work and may put in a good word on your behalf.

#3. Don’t forget about (extra-legal) benefits

It’s perfectly normal to focus on your perfect salary during negotiations, but don’t overlook all the other ways you can get value from a company. Even if your salary expectations aren’t quite met, you can often find ways to boost your overall package by exploring other avenues. Figure out what’s important for you – a (bigger) company car, extra days off, extra stocks or options – and put that on the table before you get to the offer stage.

One of the best benefits you can negotiate for is professional development opportunities. At Exellys, this is a given but this is definitely not the case everywhere else. Courses, training, and seminars aren’t cheap but can have a dramatic impact on your future value. If your employer is willing to cover the costs of professional certifications or professional, this can offset a less than ideal pay offer. The trick is doing your research beforehand so that you know what types of courses or training you want.

Curious about the other 4 steps? Here’s what you have to do:

About Exellys

Exellys is a Tech Talent Incubator. We match ambitious companies with the finest tech talent. Are you ready to drive the innovations of tomorrow? Ready to make an impact and become a future-fit digital leader?

Whether you are a graduate or (young) professional, Exellys will unlock your full potential by guiding you to a challenging work environment that perfectly matches your personality, expectations and ambitions.

On top of that, you are enrolled in one of our very own training and coaching programs (based on your personal and professional ambition and experience). This means that, while working as an Exellys consultant, we are helping you to bridge your ambition to excellence.

Through intensive training and coaching, you’ll gain the essential skills, competencies and knowledge necessary to become the highly effective professional you aim to be.

Become an Exellyst and get in touch with us today!