Are You a Savvy Salary Negotiator?

How prepared are you to negotiate a salary that truly reflects your worth? What knowledge and skills do you need to become a savvy salary negotiator?

Let's start by evaluating your knowledge and skill level for becoming an effective salary negotiator. Respond to the following statements by circling "Yes" or "No." If you are uncertain about your answer, just leave the statement alone and move on to the next statement.

  1. I know what I'm worth in comparison to others in today's job market.

    Yes No

  2. I know what others make in my company.

    Yes No

  3. I can negotiate a salary 15 percent higher than my current salary.

    Yes No

  4. I can negotiate a salary 5-10 percent higher than what the employer is prepared to offer me.

    Yes No

  5. I know where I can quickly find salary information for my particular position.

    Yes No

  6. I usually feel comfortable talking about compensation issues with others, including my boss.

    Yes No

  7. I'm familiar with how various compensation options work with most employers, such as signing bonuses, performance bonuses, cafeteria plans, reimbursement accounts, disability insurance, 401k plans, SEPs, CODAs, stock options, flex-time, tuition reimbursements, and severance pay.

    Yes No

  8. I understand the different types of stock options and equity incentives offered by employers in my field.

    Yes No

  9. I know what my current compensation package is worth when translated into dollar equivalents.

    Yes No

  10. I'm prepared to negotiate more than seven different compensation options.

    Yes No

  11. I have a list of at least 50 accomplishments and a clear pattern of performance which I can communicate to prospective employers.

    Yes No

  12. I'm prepared to tell at least five different one- to three-minute stories about my proudest achievements.

    Yes No

  13. If asked to state my "salary requirements" in a cover letter or on an application, I know what to write.

    Yes No

  14. I know when I should and should not discuss salary during an interview.

    Yes No

  15. I know what to best say if the interviewer asks me, "What are your salary expectations?"

    Yes No

  16. I know what questions to ask during the interview in order to get information about salaries in the interviewer's company.

    Yes No

  17. I know when it's time to stop talking and start serious negotiations.

    Yes No

  18. I know how to use the "salary range" to create "common ground" and strengthen my negotiation position.

    Yes No

  19. I know how to use silence to strengthen my negotiation position.

    Yes No

  20. If offered a position, I know what to say and do next.

    Yes No

If you responded "No" to more than three of the above statements or "Yes" to fewer than 15 of the statements, you will benefit from learning more about salary negotiation techniques.

SOURCE: Adapted from Military Transition to Civilian Success (Impact Publications, 2006), pages 381-382. All rights reserved.