Negotiating your salary? Here's what you need to know

Topic:
Job Search
About the author:
George Mazzella Headshot
George C. Mazzella
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, The Suite
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Updated on:
7/29/2021

Negotiating pay is one of the most important things you will do in your career and something that can accelerate or drastically slow down your career growth. We know it's awkward and it requires you to sometimes act in a way that is not always natural; however, when you successfully execute a salary negotiation it can catapult your earning potential and quality of life to levels higher than you previously imagined.


How to approach your current employer:

The best way to approach your employer to negotiate a pay rise or gain additional benefits is to do your research and establish a benchmark of where you are today and where you believe you should be. Simply saying "I want more just because" will not get you the results you desire. First, you need to build a list of comparable businesses and levels of pay across similar roles to your own (if you need help with this, join The Suite and our Compass tool can help you). Once this is finished, you can approach your manager to discuss and be armed with the information you need to properly make your case. There's no silver bullet to kicking off this conversation, it'll feel awkward no matter how you start it, so just do it. Embrace the discomfort and go for it if you want to shatter that glass ceiling above you!


What to do if a potential new employer asks about salary history:

In many states, this is no longer a legal practice and we would first advise you to check your state's local employment laws. If you live in a state where this is allowed and you don't wish to answer, simply tell them that you are uncomfortable sharing that info at this time, but are open to hearing what their budget for the role is and can let them know if it's in the ballpark. The best way to build confidence here is to do your research and have an idea of what this role should be paying. Don't be afraid to threaten the walk away if they push too hard or make you uncomfortable. How an employer acts during the interview process tells you what it'll be like to work for them. We can tell you right now, it only gets worse once they start signing your paychecks.


What to do if they say no to your ask: Both current & potential employers

Sometimes there just isn't room to push the salary up higher and that's ok. All is not lost however, it just takes a little bit of flexibility and creativity for you to get there. For example: that last 10% on your base salary that you are holding out for can easily be added in as a sign-on bonus (if it's a new employer) to help with cash-flow and make you whole. There are a number of things that can be done here so we recommend posing it as a question to them: "What else can you do (make it about them) to make me whole?" So long as you're being reasonable in your request, there is always a way to get what you want. If you have almost everything you asked for and you still find yourself holding your ground over that extra $10,000, even though it's the "job of your dreams"... you may want to ask yourself if you really want the job after all.

If you find yourself back at the drawing board, check out our job search guide to build a winning strategy.


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Negotiating your salary? Here's what you need to know

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George Mazzella Headshot
George C. Mazzella
Chief Executive Officer & Co-Founder, The Suite

George is the CEO & Co-Founder of The Suite. He founded The Suite in order to fundamentally change the way executives manage their careers.  Prior to founding The Suite in 2019, George spent several years in the executive recruiting space where he was fortunate enough to advise some of the world's leading VC & PE backed businesses on talent.

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