16 Tips on Negotiating Your Salary: Everything You Need to Know

  1. Know exactly what outcome you want from the meeting. Is it more money, share options, additional holidays, a better schedule, less workload, interesting projects or benefits-in-kind?
  2. Find out about them and what their needs/wants are in advance. What are their pain points and what are the key problems in the company? Can you help solve them?
  3. Make them look good. How can you make them or the organisation look as good as possible? Make them into an ally, not an adversary. 
  4. Start out with a high anchor. If they push you for a number, it can be hard to put the onus back on them. In that case, start with a higher figure than you want. This figure will be set as a mental anchor, even if it's completely wild. Consider the difference between saying "I'm not looking for an extra €20,000, I'm only looking for €10,000 more", compared to "€5000 isn't enough, I'm looking for €10,000". The same number is requested in each, but which one sounds more reasonable? The first one that is halved or the second one, which is doubled?
  5. Prepare what you're going to say well in advance. Get friends to help you with this.
  6. Bring a typed strategic plan to the meeting and use it to demonstrate how you will hit business goals.
  7. Highlight the best points from your career and your work at the company so far. Become comfortable verbalising this if you're not already.
  8. Have another job offer on the table where possible. This is the strongest card you have and will allow you to walk away from the table if you're dissatisfied with the outcome. But don't lie about this! That can backfire badly.
  9. Negotiate for more than money. If the company can't spare extra cash because of cash-flow constraints (e.g. a startup), you can still ask for more holidays, a better schedule, less workload, to work on interesting projects or other benefits-in-kind.
  10. Avoid being adversarial, you'll just get their back up. Be cooperative and pleasant if you want to come to an agreeable outcome and maintain a good working relationship afterwards.
  11. Record your practice attempts. It's useful to watch these back with and without video, and then with and without sound. This will give you different perspectives on your approach. 
  12. If you don't get a resolution, plan to negotiate further down the line. That way you leave the door open for further opportunities.
  13. Get anything important put in writing so you can refer back to it at a later stage. People forget important things they said all the time. Remember to get a signature on the page too.
  14. Smile during the meeting. It's more amenable than being serious and will put them at ease.
  15. Practice negotiating in the real world (e.g. shops or restaurants) and then with friends - be serious about it if you want to improve.
  16. Make sure you have a plan for responding to common rebuttals. Don't get stumped on a simple refusal - have a backup plan ready.