Small Firm Life: Salary Negotiation Tips

This weekend I did a presentation on the Wage Gap with the American Association of University Women (AAUW).  There are many factors that contribute to the Wage Gap between men and women, however, the purpose of our presentation was to assist women with the salary negotiation process.  Although everyone prepares for an interview, many people do not prepare when negotiating their salary.  

It is very exciting to receive a job offer, especially in this economy, however, it is important to remember that the hiring process can be equally time consuming and exhausting for the employer.  When you receive a job offer, even though it may seem like there is little or no room for negotiation, remember that you are the employer’s first choice for the job and it never hurts to ask.  The worst that can happen is that they say no.

To help you with future salary negotiations, I am including some of the tips from our presentation:


  • Research the corporate climate.
  • What are they looking for?
  • What does the company need?
  • Why do they need you?
  • Research the average salary for an entry level position for your area and around the country.
  • Know the background and history of the company.

Decide What You Want/Need

  • Decide on the lowest amount you will accept and then ask for more!
  • Ask yourself what you value most? More Money?,More vacation? Shorter hours/Flexible hours? Health Benefits? 401K Matching?  More support staff? Less travel? Community involvement? Shortened time period between performance reviews and raises (e.g. possible salary increase after 3 months instead of 6)?

Know your Worth

  • What is your base worth in the field?
  • Create talking points:  what do you bring to the company.
  • Will you bring a new skill set? Increased Diversity? Do you have important community connections?
  • You may be more valuable than you realize! Do not be afraid to ask for what you deserve.

Check your Appearance

  • Pay careful attention to the body language-yours and your potential employer’s 
  • If possible, indiscreetly mirror your potential employer’s body language and hand gestures.  People love to be copied!
  • When negotiations are over the phone:
  • Dress up, Stand up, look in the mirror, and smile.  It will help you project confidence


  • Practice in front of a mirror or with friends
  • Anticipate what the employer might say and prepare a response

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