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Salary Negotiations: When to Talk Money, and How to Base the Initial Offer

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HR Soapbox“How much does this job pay?”

Some candidates come right out and ask. In other cases, employers will raise the issue first. What's typical ... and what's best?

A new CareerBuilder survey finds that only 11% of employers include wage or salary information in their job listings. About half (48%) discuss salary during initial conversations or during the first job interview. And 24% say they wait until extending a job offer to reveal what the position pays.

What happens next? About half of new hires (49%) accept the first offer given to them. However, they may be leaving money on the table because more than half (54%) of hiring managers and HR professionals say they are willing to negotiate salaries on initial job offers, says the CareerBuilder survey. 

Who is most likely to negotiate? Typically, more experienced workers are quicker to request better pay. And men
(54%) are more likely than women (49%) to negotiate first offers. Professional workers are most likely to negotiate salary, followed by IT, hospitality and sales staff.

“Many employers expect a salary negotiation and build that into their initial offer. So when job-seekers take the first number given to them, they are oftentimes undervaluing their market worth,” says Rosemary Haefner, VP of HR at CareerBuilder. 

How to base the first offer? About one-third of employers set their initial salary offer by tracking what competitors pay comparable employees via market average reports (34%) or job postings (33%). But many employers (35%) don’t factor in external data at all.

“Forty-nine percent of hiring managers surveyed said job candidates have refused offers due to salary,” says Haefner. “It’s critical that recruiters and hiring managers are armed with up-to-date compensation data. If you offer premium talent below market rates, it can be very difficult to fill vacant positions.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

David Larson October 21, 2013 at 4:10 am

This might be cheating… but the easiest way I know of to negotiate salary is to hire someone else to do it for you. As a professional salary negotiator, I have helped over 700 people negotiate higher salaries. One of the tricks I advocate is to always conduct your salary negotiation over email. Negotiating salary over email helps level the playing field because it takes away the opportunity for your employer to “read you” in person and potentially call your bluff. Over email you have a better opportunity to carefully choose every word. You can even hire a professional like me to help you get it right and your boss will never know you had outside help. If you want to learn more about how to negotiate salary the smart way over email you can visit my blog at http://www.NegotiatingSalary.com


Elizabeth October 20, 2013 at 10:28 am

Great article, Pat!


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