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August 10, 2015 | 5 min read
The 5 Laws of Successful Salary Negotiations

In your quest to secure your next role, you can expect salary discussions to arise once the employer becomes serious about hiring you. While some professionals thrive in the arena of negotiating like they’re in the Shark Tank, others view salary negotiations as a very stressful experience. If you find yourself in the latter category, all you need is a little confidence to help you to reach an agreement you are happy with.

Therefore, the next time you find yourself negotiating for a role you’re serious about accepting, employ the following negotiation tips:

1.       Give yourself time

The interview process can be unpredictable at times, so it’s possible that an offer can come sooner than expected, without much warning. If you ever find yourself in this situation, don’t feel rushed to make an immediate decision. Instead, avoid making an impulsive decision by giving yourself time to think about the offer on your own. If the employer truly wants you to accept the offer, they will typically allow a day (sometimes more) for you to think it over. Take this time to think about whether or not the offer package addresses all of the areas that are most important to you.

2.       Do your research before your next meeting

Once you have bought yourself some time to consider the offer, use it to research all aspects of the package. For example, how much does the average person with your experience make in the type of role you’re interested in? The offer should be competitive with today’s market, so if you feel that the employer hasn’t quantified your value appropriately, being aware of what competitors are paying will put you in a better position to negotiate. Some helpful websites like and, provide you with up-to-date information on the salaries of professionals across a wide range of industries, locations, and education levels. As a result, once you have a better idea of how much your skills are truly worth, you will be able to accept or counter the offer with more confidence.

3.       Don’t show your hand too soon

There’s an old saying in the realm of negotiating that says, “The first person that says their number loses.” If you plan to have any leverage in a negotiation, wait until the employer presents you with a number first, and then use this as a benchmark.

What’s the benefit of waiting, you might ask? You never want to sell yourself short by giving away too much information so early in the negotiation stages. For instance, if you open a negotiation by saying you want $50,000, but the employer was prepared to pay you $60,000, you instantly give away your leverage to negotiate for a higher salary. Since you can never go back on your word during a negotiation, showing your hand too quickly may force you to have to settle for less, so wisely choose the  time to state your salary requirements.

4.       Consider the entire package, not just the base salary 

For many job seekers, compensation tends to be weighed heavily in accepting an offer. However, it’s important to remember that there are many other aspects of an offer package to negotiate outside of salary. Some areas you may want to negotiate include:  performance bonuses, stock options (when applicable), tuition reimbursement, medical benefits or training opportunities. If you’re trying to find a middle ground on compensation, think about ways to use these points to negotiate. While these areas might not seem like much initially, in the long run, some of these areas can amount to much more than a few thousand dollars.

5.       Be likable and maintain a positive disposition

Finally, if you intend on being successful in a salary negotiation, it’s important to maintain your likeability with the employer. While it can be easy to let emotions take over if the negotiation doesn’t go in your favor, a general rule of thumb is to stray away from emphasizing negative body language (i.e., facial expressions, posture, etc.), raising your tone of voice, or verbalizing feelings of entitlement. Not only will this negatively impact how you are perceived throughout the negotiation, it may also imply that you are difficult to work with. You never want the employer to get a bad feeling about hiring you, so try to find a balance between being passionate and firm in your requests, yet respectful of the company’s needs.


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