5 IT Salary Negotiation Tips

Asking for more money doesn't have to be difficult. Here's how to make that stage of the interview process easier.

Kristin Burnham, Senior Editor, InformationWeek.com

August 12, 2013

3 Min Read

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LinkedIn: 10 Important Changes

Many job hunters loathe the salary negotiation process, and it's no wonder: According to a new Staffing and Recruiting Pulse survey from CareerBuilder, two-thirds of candidates are disappointed with employers' offers. That's up 6 percentage points from last year. But what makes the process so uncomfortable for job seekers? Nicole Williams, career expert for LinkedIn and founder of career consultancy firm Works, says it has to do with confidence.

"Many people think that the root of the process that makes salary negotiations uncomfortable is talking about money," she said. "But what helps is really having the confidence to ask for a fair salary and believing that you deserve it."

Being prepared before you enter that process will help with confidence, said Eric Larson, partner at executive recruiting firm Riviera Partners. "You need to know what you want and you need to know what you can expect to get," he said.

[ Don't forget to pay it forward: 5 Ways To Be A Stronger IT Mentor. ]

Here's a look at five tips for successfully maneuvering the salary negotiation process.

1. Know The Market.

When you've reached the salary negotiation stage of the interview process you need to know what others are being paid to determine whether an offer is fair, Larson said. If you're working with a recruiter, you can expect that they have access to this data and probably won't present you with an opportunity unless it matches your needs, Larson said.

But if you're job hunting on your own, knowing what to expect is crucial. Use your current salary as a benchmark and visit salary websites to determine a likely range. These sites include Salary.com, PayScale, GlassDoor and Vault.

2. Be Practical.

Once you have determined a likely salary range, reassess your salary requirements and focus on being practical, Williams said.

"Never over-ask. If the average range is $50k to $60k, don't ask for $100k. You'll seem greedy and you'll probably be turned down," she said.

3. Be Honest.

Honesty -- both with yourself and your potential employer -- is essential, Larson said.

"Candidates who are vague or coy can run into problems later down the line," he said. "They're afraid to talk about their salary requirements because they want to get as deep in the process as they can. But it's best to lay out all the variables. Know your salary range going in, communicate it honestly if you're asked and be realistic."

4. Prepare An Answer To "Why?"

Confidence is key to negotiating well, Williams said. If you're asking for a higher salary than what the employer is offering, know why you deserve it.

"The one question you should be prepared to answer is, 'Why are you worth it?'" Williams said. "You need to know what you're bringing into the company that makes the investment in you worth their while."

Be prepared to talk about your accomplishments, your ideas and what skills and attributes you know you can bring to the table better than anyone else.

5. Know When To Seek A Counter Offer.

Know where you stand with your current job and what it will take for you to move on. When you receive an offer, think hard about whether you want to ask for a counteroffer from your current employer, Williams said.

"If you like where you are working but received an offer you can't refuse, don't be afraid to go to your boss and talk numbers," she said. "Bring in your portfolio and begin to talk about the accomplishments you've set for the company."

About the Author(s)

Kristin Burnham

Senior Editor, InformationWeek.com

Kristin Burnham currently serves as InformationWeek.com's Senior Editor, covering social media, social business, IT leadership and IT careers. Prior to joining InformationWeek in July 2013, she served in a number of roles at CIO magazine and CIO.com, most recently as senior writer. Kristin's writing has earned an ASBPE Gold Award in 2010 for her Facebook coverage and a Min Editorial and Design Award in 2011 for "Single Online Article." She is a graduate of Syracuse University's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

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