Negotiating Salary: How to Know How Much Money You Should Ask for

Your time, your network, your experience, and your creativity or any skills, knowledge, or natural trades that you possess influence how much value you provide to your employer. So when discussing salary during a job interview, think about what you know you can provide, how much you value that, and how is your added value going to help the company.

If you are employed you are not just exchanging your time for money. I understand why it could seem that way. In a job interview, you are asked about your hourly rate or monthly or annual salary expectation. In reality, the employer pays you for:

  • Your time
  • Your network
  • Your experience
  • Your creativity
  • Your ambition
  • Your charisma

Now if this sounds like a good idea, but you don’t know how it applies to your exact situation, let’s look at some examples of measuring your added value.

A pretty counterintuitive example could be if you are applying for a role in sales. Once you will become aware of how the network you have built in your industry or maybe the skills in the communication you have acquired help you make more sales, you might now be more comfortable asking for a better percentage cut from the sales you make.

What about positions in which you can’t actively make more money for the company as sales do? Think about where your work makes the company or the team faster, more efficient, and more productive. This can be applied to any role. A great example is a secretary, assistant, or office manager. This person can make or break a company and everyone who has ever searched for one knows it. In such a role, this person is holding schedules, organizing events, making sure the office is always ready, the supplies are always ordered, etc. Imagine if the CEO or the salesperson were supposed to deal with these tasks themselves. They would never find time for their actual work, which is the one that brings money to the company. Think of it as any position that the employer wants to hire for, they are hiring because they know having this person aboard is going to bring them value.


How to Define Your Value

Still not sure how to define the value you bring to your employer? Take a few minutes to answer these questions to help you identify what you bring to the table.

  • What am I naturally good at? (If you are naturally good at something, you usually do that with more ease, joy, and generally less effort.)
  • How can I use these skills in this position?
  • How will my skills be useful for others around me? How can they benefit from me being there?
  • What are some skills or knowledge of mine, that turned out to be a benefit in my past work experience?

As you are answering these questions, make sure to put down the real-life examples, as those are going to help you on the job interview at the time of the actual salary negotiation.

How much salary to ask for then? Follow these steps:

1) How much value you have identified you bring with your work.

2) What is the minimum amount you would be happy to receive for this value.

3) What is the desired amount you would like to receive?


Photo: Red Vector/Shutterstock


You might also like:

How to Prepare for Common Interview Questions


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