What you ask for during a salary negotiation doesn’t just influence
how much you earn -- it also tells your future employer whether you’re
good at negotiating, which is a skill you can put to work for the
employer once you’re hired.
Perfect Phrases explains how to negotiate salary, but DeLuca’s tips
also apply to contract and project-based pay negotiations. In both
cases, the people on the other side of the salary negotiations are
trying to get you for the most cost-effective price.
To win your best salary, continue talking until you get everything
you want, whether that’s a higher base, an early salary review or
company-paid childcare, DeLuca says.
“There’s always a risk involved with any questions you raise when
the offer is made, but it’s better to ask questions then, because if
[the company is] uncompromising, that’s not a healthy situation,” he
says. “If they have no tolerance for questions, you need to know that up
Think of a salary negotiation as your chance to shine. “The person
on the other side of the desk is evaluating you,” DeLuca says. “This is
going to show you’re astute in dealing with the outside world. When you
get the offer, don’t let your guard down -- you’re still on the firing
line. Feel confident, because they’ve come to you with an offer.”
To make sure you get all you deserve, DeLuca recommends asking these 10 questions:
1. “Thanks -- is this a firm job offer?”
Demonstrate that you’re professional, polished and polite by saying
thank you, and immediately follow to make sure that you really have
just been offered a job.
2. “Is this negotiable?”
Once the salary offer is revealed, it never hurts to ask if they’ll
put more money on the table. If they say no, you can move on to
negotiate other items.
3. “Is this base only?”
Asking if the figure you’re offered is total compensation or base
compensation lets the interviewer know you’re interested in the details
of bonuses and stock options, and it opens up other questions about
4. “When would you like an answer?”
Never accept a job offer on the spot. In our society, you’re
perceived as more effective if you’re thoughtful. Plus, stalling gives
you time to consider your negotiation strategy. You can say, “This is a
great job, and I really want it, but in my experience, I’m better off
thinking about it and coming back to you.” Never say you need to discuss
it with your spouse -- you want to appear confident and capable of
making a decision on your own.
5. “Will I get the offer in writing?”
Don’t accept an offer that isn’t in writing. Not everyone is
honest. If you quit a job based on the verbal promise of a new job that
then falls through, you’ll have no job and no recourse.
6. “Will there be a relocation bonus (in case you need to do so)?”
If they say no, your response is, “OK, I’m just asking.” Just
because the pay isn’t negotiable doesn’t mean other aspects of the job
aren’t. Ask for flextime, telecommuting or anything else that’s
important to you.
7. “What is the start date?”
This is a way to reaffirm that the offer is serious. Most people
want you to start immediately but will be disappointed if you agree to
do so. If you leave your current employer in the lurch, the concern is
that you might do the same to this company someday. If you’re switching
jobs rather than coming off unemployment, build in time to close out
your existing job and take a vacation.
8. “May I please have a job description?”
This question verifies the job you’re being hired to do is the job
described during the interview process -- and is a job you’re capable of
9. “How and when will I be evaluated, and will there be an increase on the basis of that evaluation?”
These questions separate out when you’ll be evaluated and when
you’ll be eligible for a raise. Those two events are often, but not
10. “Regarding benefits, please provide the details -- when do they start?”
As you ask these 10 questions, keep in mind that in addition to
gathering necessary information, you’re showing your new boss that
you’re a good negotiator. You want them to know they’re smart to offer
you the job, but you’re not going to come cheap.