Leverages in Salary Negotiation


Salary negotiation is the single most important stage in the interview process that many overlook. In 2018, only 39% of workers tried to negotiate during their last job offer.

For those who are unfamiliar with the US employment system, there is a culture of salary negotiation which typically happens when the candidate passes the onsite. Depending on timing and situation, different types of leverage may indicate how far a candidate can push for a higher salary figure. The key to a successful salary negotiation is to understand how many bags of tricks you have and what you can do with them. 

In this post, I have broken down different types of scenario for negotiation and given my analysis for each.

Unemployed, single offer

celebrate with fireworks

You are currently unemployed, but you finally got that first offer! Unfortunately, there is not much room to negotiate since you are at a situation without any leverage. Employers often times are well aware of this and would be reluctant to move the salary number around. But don’t let this discourage you from asking whether if there is still room for negotiation. You might very well be getting some extra few thousands just by simply speaking up.

If you’re down to try an alternative approach, start your job hunt by getting your first offers from companies from the bottom to mid rank in your list of companies you want to work for. This will put you at a higher advantage and more room for negotiation, which takes us to #2.

Unemployed, multiple offers

person signing contracts

If you managed to line up multiple offers while unemployed, congratulations! You are proven valuable by multiple companies. And sure enough, almost every recruiter knows this and this is by far one of the most asked questions in every recruiter call. You now have the credibility to negotiate your salary, albeit the increment may not be much, primarily due to the fact that the unemployment status is still lurking around. 

Employed, single offer

Who wouldn’t like a sleepy kitty?

If you are fortunate enough to take time off your current work and managed to land an offer, massive props to you. Preparing and going to interviews while working is not an easy task, it takes a tremendous amount of persistence and patience to do so. 

Important thing to note is that having an “actively employed” status automatically unlocks another level of leverage. By default, you now have a baseline to start your negotiation such as salary, compensation, benefits, etc. If anything that is less than satisfactory in your newfound offer, there is always the option to say no and stay at your current job. 

While using your current compensation can give a strong argument for salary increase, one offer might still not hit the ceiling of your true worth. As the saying goes, the more the merrier. Having more than one offer at hand can potentially take us all the way to the top of the pay bracket for the job position. Which takes us to our last point.

Employed, multiple offers

dog sold
Sold! To the highest bidder!

This is the end of the line folks! If you are able to reach this point, go no further. Sit back, and relax while participants fight for your talent. You have just started a bidding war with an ask price of your current salary compensation. Your only job now is to keep the bidders happy while informing each participant your current highest bid price, and have them bid away.

If you manage to celebrate harder than the puppy on the left, then I have officially done my job here 😉.

Wrapping It Up

Have you ran into any of the scenarios before? How did your negotiation go? Let me know in the comments below or contact me directly here.

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