5 Key Questions You Need to Ask When Negotiating Your Salary

Congratulations! You just received a job offer. It is usually exciting to receive a job offer especially after spending time to go through the rigorous process of updating your resume, creating an impressive cover letter, perfecting your online profile, and sending out loads of applications.

At last you’ve been offered a job and you are so excited and ready to take it. Hold on a minute! Before you jump at the new offer, you need to take out time to weigh it carefully. Since satisfaction is key, then you should take out time to determine if the offer is right for you.

You don’t need to be afraid to negotiate an offer. It is important for you to know that salary negotiation is part of the employment process. Instead of being afraid of negotiating an offer, you should rather be afraid of not negotiating at all (and having a low offer). You should be prepared to eliminate any form of fear when negotiating your salary to get the outcome you want.

You would want to ask key questions during your salary negotiation. This list will help with 5 key questions you need to ask when negotiating your salary:

   1.   What are My Financial Needs?

When there is a new offer, the number one question that comes to anyone’s mind is salary. We all have financial needs and goals, and when these needs are not met, then it becomes a problem. To an extent, money is one great source of motivation to almost everyone, so getting an offer below your expectation could be really demotivating.

So one big question you need to ask yourself is how can this offer match with my current financial needs? Before you accept any offer, you should examine your financial need and know the lowest salary you can accept. You may want to accept an offer that is less than that of your current job.

You would need to ask yourself these questions to see how well the offer can meet your financial needs:

  • Will I be satisfied with this salary doing this particular job?
  • What are my financial goals?
  • Can this offer cater for my financial needs?
  • How well can I save and plan for the future with this salary?

If you cannot answer these question positively with the new offer, then you should think twice about accepting the offer.

   2.   Can I Negotiate the Offer?

First of all, before you go on to negotiate any offer, you should know if the offer can be negotiated in the first place. Some organizations give offers that are not negotiable at all, while some are partially negotiable or totally negotiable.

You should find out from the employer if the offer is negotiable and what parts are. When you are asking this question, you should make sure you are very polite about it, unless you can be sending the wrong signal to the employer.

Knowing if the offer is negotiable will allow you know if there will be a need to negotiate at all. If some aspects of the offer is negotiable, then you should know the aspects so you can know how and where to channel your negotiation. You should be able to know the salary range you would be comfortable with if the offer is negotiable.

Before you start negotiating your salary, be sure to know the market value for that position and the average salary range also. When you ask your employer this question, remember to;

  • Be very polite when you ask the question, so you are not perceived to rude and money-driven.
  • Be confident; when you ask the question with confidence, the employer will understand that you have reasons for your question that you are ready to bend.
  • Listen carefully to understand the employer’s reasons for some decisions.

   3.   Beside the Pay, Are There Other Benefits?

This question goes a long way to determine if you are going to accept the offer. You should not always look at the salary as one off and the only defining thing that can make you accept or reject an offer.

Sometimes you may be offered a salary that is quite below your expectation, but other benefits may even be almost half or more than the salary. So you should know if there are other benefits aside the salary that you may consider before taking the offer.

Gone are the days where people just look forward to earning well. Millennials these days are after jobs that would offer them benefits that will aid or promote a great work/life balance and an opportunity to grow and advance their career rather than just working to earn a particular sum of money. Some people will prefer to take a job that offers a salary that is lower than that of their current job if there are other benefits that will help them work with ease.

We are in the age where people look forward to creating multiple income streams. So accepting an offer that can give you the time to focus on other things will be a great idea for such a person. You should take note of the benefits you consider most important before you consider accepting the offer.

   4.   What is Included in the Entire Offer?

When we get an offer letter, we quickly think about the salary. It is important for you to know that the salary is not the only aspect of the offer. A proper offer should come as package that includes many other things. So when you are presented with an offer, you should take out time to review what is included in the full package.

Below are some elements that should be included in a job offer:

  • Job title
  • Job description
  • Employment classification
  • Salary/ pay structure
  • Benefits (benefits like health insurance, child care, feeding, transportation etc.)
  • Work schedule
  • Work location
  • Hiring condition
  • Guaranteed bonuses

If you are presented an offer that doesn’t include some of the element that you require or consider really important, then you should try to see if you can negotiate it into your current offer. Every good employer will love to show you and make sure you understand the break-down of the job offer. If there are rooms for any of the elements above, then maybe you should consider moving on.

It is very important for you to ask your potential employer about the other elements that make up the job offer, so you can know your point of agreement and point of disagreement with the terms of employment. This will enable you confirm that the offer is in alignment with your career, and personal life style and to also know if the offer is right for you or not.

   5.   Are there Future Possibilities for Salary Raise or Promotions?

Every employee looks forward to working in a place that would facilitate his/her growth or development be it a financial or career growth. It doesn’t really matter if you are offered a higher salary that what you used to have before, if there is no possibility of getting a salary raise or promotion, then your income will be remain static for the time you are going to spend there.

It is important for you to know if there are possibilities for salary raise or promotions whether or not the offer is negotiable or not. You can find out how promotions and advancements are made and how often they are made. You can find out how evaluations that lead to salary raise or promotions are made.

Asking this question will help you know if there are potentials for salary raise and promotion, and if there are, how you can best position yourself to be eligible for it.

You can also ask about the metrics for employee evaluation. This is one of the most important question you need to ask during a salary negotiation. Often times, companies promote and raise employees salary on a basis of recorded successes. So asking this question will help you know what the prospective employer see as success. This information will also help you if you decide to work there.


Can I Get the Offer in Writing?

When you have finally asked your questions and have successfully negotiated your salary to terms that best suits you, then the next thing for you to do is to put it in writing. A written offer and acceptance or decline will make the contract. Putting the offer in writing will stand as an evidence. A written offer will state in clear terms the terms of the offer which verbal communication may not capture.

Even when the written offer is presented to you, it is good for you to ask for a day or two to review it and make sure you understand, and that all the details concerning benefits and salary that you have agreed upon with your potential employer is clearly stated in the document. Make sure you review the document properly and make sure you are comfortable with everything contained in the agreement.

Successfully completing a salary negotiation is great, but it doesn’t really mean anything when there is no document to back it up. Make sure you understand the terms of the offer before signing it.


It could be really tempting for you to jump at any offer especially when you been searching for a long time. You should always consider your happiness on the later part if you decide to take the job. The key to being successful during your salary negotiation is to be prepared.

Now the big question is how do you get prepared? Knowing the market value for your position, your financial goals and value will help you negotiate your salary better.

Rita Uche

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