Most of us look for new jobs in order to get a pay raise.

Yet even if that’s not the main reason we’re leaving one position for another – we’re leaving because were bored or we dislike our current boss or co-workers – we still often expect to receive a raise in our salary. But too many of us freeze when “told” the pay rate. We just accept it.

This needn’t be the case for you. In fact, even if your soon-to-be new manager offers you the same amount as you’re now receiving, that doesn’t mean you need to accept it.

Steps to take when you’re about to accept a job
  1. Research.

You’ll need to know how much your skills and background are worth for the job you’re accepting. You also may need to know this in relation to where you live/work, because salaries for the same position differ depending on your location. (Although that may not be the case if you work remotely, particularly if live a good distance from the company.)

Use online resources such as, and to get an idea or salaries for positions that require the particular skills you’ll need to do the job and/or the position’s title.

  1. Be prepared to walk away.

This can work very well if you’re currently employed; it may be harder to do if you’re unemployed. (Although your definition of “hard” could be different if you have another source of income.)

One of the most important things when to keep in mind during any type of negotiation is that you always should be willing to walk away. This can be incredibly powerful when it comes to salary negotiation: you’re probably not talking salary until you’ve been offered the position. The hiring manager wants you. That fact gives you leeway. You shouldn’t act rude or aggressive as you negotiate, but if should mean that you’ll walk away if the salary isn’t what you’ll accept.

  1. Confidence wins.

When negotiating your pay rate, the more confident you are in a) your skills and abilities and b) that you definitely bring true worth and value to the company, then the more you’re hiring manager will believe that the higher salary you want is fair – and a good investment.

  1. Be prepared to compromise…a bit.

You always should ask for a salary that you’re “a bit afraid” to ask for. It should make you a bit nervous. Yet you also must realize that chances are you won’t receive that “this is high to me” number. Instead, be ready to compromise and negotiate in good faith.

  1. Never give an exact number.

Instead, provide a range.

  1. Put the salary you truly know you can get – that’s higher than you’re receiving now – in the middle of your range.
  2. Put the number you know you won’t get at the top.
  3. Provide a number that’s a bit higher than you’re receiving now at the bottom of your range.

For example: let’s say you’re now making $55,000. You’ve done some research and discovered that the range for the position tends to be $47,000-$70,000 across the country. You’re “it would be wonderful to get number, but I know I probably won’t” is $75,000.

Your range should be something along the lines of $60,000-$75,000. If the hiring manager says yes to the $75K, terrific. But if you end up at $65-$70K, that’s also terrific. Your chance of getting $60K, while not the best, also isn’t bad, since it’s almost 10 percent higher than you’re making now.

  1. Benefits can help a bit if you don’t get the higher number.

Benefits can be a great thing to negotiate if the company refuses to provide you even the bottom of your salary range. If your hiring manager refuses to budge, ask for more PTO as a trade, or for continuing education funds, etc. At the least say something along the lines that you truly feel you’re worth the higher salary and that you intend to prove it in your first three to six months. You therefore can negotiate that the hiring manager will provide you a raise of X percent (or $X) within three to six months when you reach certain Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you both agree upon.

Two specific things you can say when negotiating salary
  • “Thank you for the offer. I’m very excited about the opportunity, but I was hoping for a salary of [name the range we discussed, above]. Based on my research, this is the market rate for someone with my experience and skills.”
  • “I can be flexible on salary, but I’m looking for a package that includes [benefits you’re interested in, such as vacation time, health insurance, or retirement savings].

Negotiating a salary can be daunting, but it’s not terrifying and it can be done well, helping you receive the compensation your skills and background truly deserve.

Debbie’s Staffing can help you find a new position that better reflects your career goals and, of course, salary needs.

Check out some of our current openings and apply to those in which you’re interested.

We also recommend you send us your resume even if you don’t see anything that appeals to you. Why? Because we often fill open positions before we ever place the job on our job board.