Negotiating Salary
  • Accepting the first offer: Most hiring managers have an approved salary range for each position and generally avoid starting at the top. This leaves room for you to counteroffer the original salary proposal. Negotiation is expected. Don’t let your dislike or discomfort with the idea of negotiating to make you settle for the first offer.
  • Protracted negotiations: A few rounds of offer and counteroffer are all it takes to find the middle ground. Long negotiations are exhausting and difficult, leaving a bad impression on your employer. If negotiations stagnate, it’s time to make a decision to accept or cut your losses and focus on finding a position with a better fit.
  • Fearing the offer will disappear: Finding a great candidate for a position is not easy or simple! If the hiring manager has determined that you’re the right person for the job, they’ll likely have “wiggle room” in the original salary offer. If not, they’ll let you know. Either way, the offer will not disappear because of a counteroffer.
  • Getting too personal: Center your salary negotiations on your skills, qualifications, experience and the value you bring. Including your personal situation and your needs is not wise. Pay for a position is determined by merit, not your personal life. Be professional.
  • Snap decisions: Always take time to consider an offer you have received. Read the fine print. Mull it over. Look at the benefits and expectations. You want to be sure you are aware of and okay with the full offer.
  • Underestimating your worth: Know the market value of your skillset. There is lots of salary information online and websites that help you estimate your worth. Factor in where you live, your experience and the salary for similar roles.
  • Weak statements: Be clear about what your skills, education and experience are worth. Take a self-assured stance. In order to be taken seriously, present your counteroffer with confidence, not an apology.
  • Revealing your bottom line: When asked about salary expectations, offer a range and state your willingness to negotiate. Make the lower end of your range a bit higher than your bottom line. This gives you a starting point for discussion.
  • Poor research and preparation: Conduct research on your prospective employer; their historical salary levels, negotiation policies, performance appraisals.
  • Threatening to walk away: Though negotiation is stressful and frustrating, threats come across as unprofessional and childish. You might actually walk away. However, politely stating your position works much better than a threat. Remind the hiring manager of the value you bring and state that you are uncomfortable with the offer.
  • Not getting the offer in writing: Asking for the offer in writing reduces confusion regarding the terms and pay. It ensures that everyone is on the same page. Make sure the offer letter contains the start date, salary, benefits, work schedule and the timeline for replying. There is no acceptable reason for an employer to refuse this request.
  • Negotiating only for money: Negotiate benefits (bonuses, sign-on bonuses, remote work options, flex time, paid parental leave, job training, etc.) as well as base salary.
  • Making your salary pitch too early: The best time for discussing salary is when you are the final candidate being considered, after receiving but before accepting an offer of employment. At this point, ask for more specifics about salary, bonuses, commissions, health insurance, and other perks. Asking earlier in the process can be perceived as being too focused on money.
  • Requesting too many changes: A counteroffer should request changes to one or two of the most important elements. Focus on modifying just a few aspects of the offer (vacation time, performance review, signing bonus, relocations expenses). Choose your battles carefully and write a short counterproposal.
  • Leveraging another offer: Don’t assume a company is willing to match another employer’s offer. Leveraging one job offer against another is seldom a successful approach. Weigh the pros and cons of each company and choose the organization that offers the employment situation that’s best for you.
  • Forgetting the level of take-home pay: Consider taxes, insurance, transit charges, parking fees and other elements that will affect your take-home pay. Use the cost of living calculations to give you a sense of what take-home pay will be before you accept a salary offer or make a counteroffer.


Few people have fine-tuned their negotiating skills and know-how to navigate the world of money and power. Still, you need to deal with salary negotiation. Remember that, while salary is an important part of a position, there is a bigger picture. Other incentives help make a position attractive. Pay attention to when and how you counteroffer. Research and prepare. Be confident in your negotiations and you’ll likely come close to the level of pay you desire.


Need advice on negotiating salary? Want help determining your value in the job market? Call the Calgary recruiting agency, Equation Staffing Solutions at 1-844-367-9618. We are a reliable, innovative, collaborative agency here to support you in your search for a position and/or personnel. Our experience will assist you! Contact us today.