Tips and strategies for successful salary negotiations

Earn what you’re worth through clever pay negotiations!

Although many companies communicate to their employees that salaries are based on the performance level of the individual and are individually adjusted, it is rare for HR managers to approach their employees about a salary increase. The motto for a salary negotiation is therefore “Show initiative”. However, good preparation regarding strategy and argumentation is essential for a salary negotiation.

How graduates and employees can prepare for salary negotiations.

Salary negotiations have the best chances of success through thorough and plausible preparation and presentation of the reasons why you should earn more for your work.

A salary analysis about the usual salaries in your industry and for certain job offers and a precise assessment of your own performance and skills sets the course for a successful negotiation of your salary. It is important not to ask too much, otherwise your wish for a higher income will be rejected as illusory. On the other hand, of course, you should not be satisfied with too little. If you present your salary expectations to your negotiating partner in a convincing way, the increase in salary is within reach.

Your negotiation strategy – the foundation of your successful salary negotiation

Thorough planning and implementation of your salary negotiation strategy will be necessary, as demands for more salary are rarely accepted immediately. Remember that your education, experience or previous income does NOT determine your ability to negotiate a salary. The argumentation is always based on your own performance and above all on your responsibility.

debt, maintenance payments or the financing of a high standard of living are not arguments here. Instead, the following questions can help:

  • What is my current level of responsibility?
  • I have responsibility for personnel?
  • I have contributed my services / my ideas to the increase in sales?
  • Is there a special goal to be reached in the near future?

The more convinced you are of your arguments, the more they will influence your salary negotiations.

When is the right time to negotiate a salary?

Achieving a salary increase depends heavily on the timing of the negotiations. If the company is in economic distress, negotiations should be postponed to a better time. If your supervisor is in intensive negotiations with a major client, the attention for your salary could suffer. In general, it can be said that days with fewer appointments are a good time to talk about a salary negotiation. Mondays and Fridays should be avoided, while Tuesdays and Wednesdays are generally better times.

How do I best approach the boss with my request?

For a direct appointment with the boss, formulations such as “I would like a feedback discussion” or “I would like to talk to you about my future development in the company” are the most subtle. Ideally, you can start by reporting on positive events (contract conclusion, milestone reached in a project, etc.) in your work. First try to persuade your negotiating partner to evaluate your performance. Signal motivation and willingness to develop yourself further. You should use the strongest argument for a higher salary at the end and name a concrete salary wish.

No way should you provoke or threaten your counterpart with dismissal. Aggressive action will cause aggressive counter-reactions. But don’t just let yourself be dismissed. Go confidently and with conviction into the negotiations, but also show willingness to compromise.

For graduates, do not discuss your salary until you know that you have a job offer and are sure you will accept it. Many vacancies require you to state your desired salary. You should avoid this question most urgently, as you are giving away all your bargaining power with one statement. Instead you can use the following sentence: “We would be happy to discuss this topic at a later date. Right now I just want to see if we’re compatible.”

As an alternative to a salary increase, non-monetary benefits can often be negotiated in salary negotiations, such as membership of a gym, a mobile phone for private use, more days off or other benefits in kind.

Tips and strategies for successful salary negotiations


To address the salary issue yourself can seem greedy and reduce your bargaining power. However, as soon as the personnel manager addresses the salary issue, you should have a plausible answer and concrete ideas about your income. First references give data bases and salary comparisons in the Internet. Perhaps you can even ask employees or old fellow students about this? A clever time to address a salary increase are times with company success and/or few dates. If the resources for a salary increase are too scarce, benefits in kind can also be negotiated. Only courage, who does not want he has already 🙂

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