How To Not Undervalue Yourself During Salary Negotiations.

We easily undervalue ourselves during salary negotiations. For you, this could be because;

  1. You are new to the job market and have zero clue how to go about it.
  2. Fear of losing the job if you negotiate too high
  3. You are more excited about the job, that nothing else matters to you. AKA: you lower your requirements.

Or it could be all three, working together at the same time. The thing is, none of these reasons are good enough for earning a lower salary. Let’s tackle each of these reasons one at a time:

The first: there is information out there available to you. If you are overwhelmed by it, it is not straightforward, or the information does not seem practical enough, I hope you will find this article to be different.

For the second reason: if a company is making you are offer, you are of great value to them. It means you are their top candidate, and it will be a huge disservice to them to let you go. Also, with information number one at your fingertips, you will negotiate right. Not high. But right. If right is high, then it is what your work is worth.

For reason number three: Chill. Relax. Breathe. What you are earning now will often inform what you can earn later on, especially if you intend to stay in the same company for a while. So don’t compromise or and if you have to, do it wisely.

Situations for compromise could be; for a startup with a limited budget, or for a job you absolutely love, in a company you absolutely love with vast potential. I’ll tell you how to compromise wisely.

Do you know what you should earn?

Do you know your “actual expected salary,” or do you just call a random figure you think is reasonable?

Most often, it is the latter. A random figure we think is reasonable. All is forgiven however because now you have some actionable ways to figure out what your “actual expected salary” really is.

1. Research your prospective employer’s historical salary levels

The salary range is unavailable in the job description. You can search for the company on Angel List if it is a startup or Glassdoor. Try to find out if they have hired for such a role in the past and at what salary range.

Alternatively, you can reach out to people within the company to find out what the salary range is.

A third option is to find roles that have slightly equivalent responsibilities or job levels with yours, find out how much they hire for these positions, note the figure down, and do a quick comparison.

If that figure is higher than what you were earning in your previous role and is an amount you really like, that should be your starting figure. Not your actual amount but your starting salary range.

This is also likely what you will make sure not to negotiate below. No matter how excited you are about the job.

2. Research industry standards

You should try to find out the industry standard for your role. What do similar companies pay? Is it higher or lower than your starting figure?

If your starting amount is lower than the industry standard, then I’d bump my starting amount up. Remember, you don’t want to negotiate less than you are worth, so do not fear doing this.

This bumped-up figure would be my negotiation threshold or my expected salary. This is the figure you present to the company. This is an excellent way to find your expected salary.

Your skills + Experience + Industry-standard = a good defense for it.

💡 “Here is my expected salary; it is the industry standard for this role; however I have some wiggle room for negotiations if this is slightly over budget for you.”

There can be tricky situations that warrant negotiations; most commonly, the company is a startup; no actual revenue is coming in yet. As such, they would love to have the opportunity to bring negotiations forward.

3. Ask the interviewer what the budget is.

Come prepared with your expected salary figure; however, something you could also do is to ask the recruiter or interviewer what the salary range for the role is.

Suppose the recruiter is forthcoming with the salary information. In that case, you will be able to make a quick comparison and decide your expected salary based on all the information you now have.

It will be difficult for anyone to undervalue you when you have all the information at your fingertips. i.e the industry standard, how much the company has paid in the past, how much similar companies are paying etc.

Quick To-Knows on Salary Negotiations

  1. Have your ceiling (what you cannot go beyond): This is your starting figure, it is higher than your previous salary, and your prospective employer pays something close at similar job levels.
  2. If you are gonna compromise on money, negotiate other benefits:
    This is how you compromise wisely. Ask for other benefits. Some examples include stock options. A lot of startups offer this as they often have a lower budget. Also, people typically go for a lower salary in favor of higher stock options. Other benefits include; Free Internet and co-working space (for remote workers), Gym membership, learning and development budget, Health insurance, Technology setup (Laptop, screens), etc. You can do further research on the benefits you would like.

💡 “I can go a bit lower than this amount, can I know what company benefits you provide as an alternative? I’d appreciate having this or that. What are your thought about this?”

When next I have to negotiate my salary, I’d like to consider these points. If you are worried about negotiating below your value, I hope this article has been a great place to start. Share your experiences, thoughts, and suggestions below.

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