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If you’re in a job search, naturally you want to end up with a great job at a great salary. How can you make sure that you get a good offer? What happens if the offer is less than you hoped for? You have lots of options to ensure you get a good job offer or negotiate a better salary if it isn’t as much as you wanted. Here are 5 salary boosting tips for you.

Excel in the Interview

What I’ve seen with my coaching and recruiting clients is that the very best way to negotiate the best salary is to excel in the interview process. This means that you must go above and beyond what others do and what you’ve probably ever done before to show your value to a potential employer.

You absolutely must over-prepare for the interview:

  • Be tight with all of your answers (even if it means practicing with an interview coach)
  • Research to know more about the company than others know
  • Provide evidence of your success with a brag book that shows how well you’ve done in the past
  • Prepare a 30-60-90-day plan that shows them what you’ll do in the first 90 days in that role
  • Provide very tight references who can speak to how amazing you are

Don’t Bring Up Money in the Interview

Don’t mention money in the interview at all. Focus on what they need...what problems they have and how you can fix it. You don’t have anything to talk about in terms of money or benefits until they want to hire you. That is not a conversation for when they’re still trying to decide if you’re the one they want.

Sell, sell, sell yourself all the way to the end. When they make you an offer, then you can ask all the questions you want to about salary, perks, benefits, and more. Until then, your job is to make them want you.

Set a Bias

Another great way to respond to questions about money is to set a bias.

Say, “I have to tell you that I wouldn’t accept a salary less than I’m making now, and it would have to be significant enough to make it worth the change in my personal and professional life. I have a really good job now and I’m valued within my organization. So in order to take your position, it would have to be a solid opportunity with growth potential.”

This response lets them know that you expect a good offer and know that you’re worth it. It sets a bias that tells them they’re going to have to start at a decent offer and not lowball you.

Do Your Salary Research

Before you set foot in the interview, look at what appropriate salaries are at your level, with your experience, in your region of the country, in your local area. Cost of living affects salary.

Where should you look? Check out Glassdoor.com and Payscale.com to start. Indeed.com may have some salary ranges included in a few job listings. This Forbes article has a good list of salary research websites.

Ask for a Better Salary

Finally, you can always ask for a better salary once you receive an offer. You may not always get it, but if you don’t ask you definitely won’t.

The way I negotiate is always from a positive point of view. So if I get an offer that I would accept, but I’d like to see if I can get a little more money, I would say something like, “You know, this job is so exciting for me. It’s perfect and I’m super excited about the role. I would like to ask for X dollars more.”

Alternatively, instead of more money, you could ask for an earlier performance review, or consideration for an early merit raise, or for additional responsibilities (that you'd be paid more for). You could negotiate for longer vacation time, a bigger bonus, parking perks, or other benefits. One guy asked for a $10,000 Rolex if he hit a certain target within 6 months—and he got it.

Always keep this in mind: The job is not all about the money. There are other factors that should be considered, such as vacation time, perks, benefits, 401Ks, work environment, or flex time. Many other things can bring a lot to your finances and even your quality of life. Don’t make job decisions based solely on money.

You may not get everything you ask for, but if you don’t ask, you definitely won’t. If you come at your ask from a positive place, they won’t be offended or rescind your offer. Employers typically expect at least a little pushback on offers. Make sure that your ask is reasonable.

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salary negotiationIf you follow all these tips, you will set yourself up to receive a good offer in the first place. If it isn’t everything you hoped for, there’s always room to negotiate. For a master course on salary negotiation, check out the webinar I did with negotiating guru Jack Chapman, author of How to Make $1000 a Minute.