Is it really possible to negotiate for better pay in today’s job market?

If you’re apprehensive about talking dollars and cents, you’re not alone. A recent survey by LinkedIn showed that globally, a full 35 percent of people report feeling anxious or frightened about negotiating. Some professionals may worry that pursuing their request could cast them in a negative light or worse, damage the relationship irreparably with their
boss. Others second guess themselves by asking if they shouldn’t be grateful for what they have or whether they really deserve special treatment. These collective doubts can drive people to ask for too little or prevent them from getting to the negotiation table in the first place. But employers may be readier than ever for you to ask for more. PayScale.com
recently released its quarterly index on compensation trends and found that average salaries are increasing, not decreasing. What’s more, employee confidence may be improving when it comes to fattening pay checks.
Despite encouraging trends, many people continue to sidestep negotiating for better pay. Using the following seven negotiating techniques, however, you can learn to negotiate from a position of confidence and strength. Yes, it takes some focus and preparation to make requests persuasively and to get yes answers from others, but negotiating is very
much a learned skill. Below are some of my favourite tactics for stretching your skills and making a hard-to-refute case for your raise.

Keep an Inventory of Your Successes

There’s an old saying in the HR community that still rings true today: Managers have short memories. In order to effectively persuade any busy authority figure, you’ll need to take it upon yourself to first do your own self-evaluation. You can compile a list of accolades, duties you’ve assumed outside your role, and projects you’ve personally spearheaded,
including the extent to which others depend on you.

Be Creative in Gathering Research

When you ask for a raise, your boss will likely wonder how they know if they are underpaid. How are we paying them relative to the market? What are the potential upsides or downsides of granting this request? Squarely responding to such questions before they arise will show that you’ve done your homework and have a credible argument. Be creative in amassing facts: use PayScale’s Instant Salary Report for LinkedIn users to learn your true worth as compared to peers in the business. You can also consult industry insiders in your digital and in-person networks to learn the going rate for a professional of your pedigree. Beef up your argument with industry-specific forecasts and trend reports regarding salaries.

Time Your Ask Carefully

There are timing circumstances that can serve to advance your cause and others that will weigh it down and even torpedo your ask. Don’t wait until review time when raises have likely been decided. Instead, one of the very best moments to time your request is when you have the most leverage: for example, right after you’ve finished (and hopefully overdelivered on) a critical project. The same thing goes for repeat business you brought in, accolades you brought the company, or efficiencies you created to save money.

Set Your Sights High

Many professionals wonder just how ambitious they should be requesting a raise. If you recognize that most people suffer from low expectations when negotiating you are more likely to aim higher. Always start with an outcome that would delight and thrill you, not simply satisfy you. The amount of your raise request should be the highest you can possibly ask for, while being able to offer a grounded rationale. Come up with Alternatives to your Request You can prepare for the possibility of resistance by creating a list of multiple options that would satisfy you rather than just one. If for example, you want a 10 percent raise and have tried unsuccessfully every maneuver you know of to get it, you could go back to the list of alternatives you prepared. Yet another option may involve less money but more vacation time. These alternatives are particularly important because we often don’t know when there’s a surplus of money in one area as compared to another.

Be Careful Not to Cave

Purposely seeing your negotiating counterpart in an equal, peer-to-peer type of way can help to drive positive outcomes in a negotiation. While at the bargaining table, get comfortable drawing out the conversation if need be rather than nodding your head in agreement or surrendering with „Okay.” You can experiment with being silent for a few seconds to level the power and collect your thoughts, particularly after you make your request and right after you hear your answer. You can also ask questions that open up dialogue.


Take „No” as „Not Yet”

Nothing makes negotiators quite as uncomfortable as having their proposal rejected. Yet one major mistake many people make is to believe that when someone says „no,” the matter is closed for discussion. More often than not, the timing just wasn’t right the first time so a second ask will do the trick. The very best negotiators are tenacious and willing to ask again – in fact, if they find their request rejected, they insist on a second meeting to discuss the matter again in 2 to 3 months. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a member of the traditional workforce, if you never hear „no,” you’re probably not asking for enough.

Adapted from huffingtonpost.com


Exercise 1

Find the words or expressions in the text which mean the following:

1) worried or scared: __________
2) without the possibility to correct: __________
3) data that points to sth: __________
4) typical: __________
5) to avoid sth: __________
6) in a convincing way: __________
7) to disprove sth: __________
8) special honour: __________
9) a salary increase: ___________
10)to be paid not enough: __________
11)to collect a lot of something: __________
12)a person equal to you: __________


Exercise 2

Match the expressions from the two columns into logical collocations:

1) to pursue                      on a project
2) to second                     trends
3) compensation             a list
4) employee your            request
5) a learned                      argument
6) to compile                   specific
7) to assume                    guess sb
8) a credible                    skill
9) industry-                     a duty
10)to deliver                   confidence


Exercise 3

Provide English equivalents of these expressions:

1) samoocena
2) osoba z branży
3) sieć osobistych kontaktów
4) poprzeć swoją argumentację czymś
5) zrobić coś w odpowiednim czasie
6) okoliczności
7) stali klienci
8) niskie oczekiwania
9) uzasadnione powody
10) czas urlopu
11) odpowiednik
12) negocjowanie


Grammar corner…

Many professionals wonder just how ambitious they should be requesting a raise. Don’t you think there’s something missing in the section in bold font? Shouldn’t it be: Many professionals wonder just how ambitious they should be when they are requesting a raise? Actually both are correct, yet the former is more formal and it’s called the participle
clause. By removing a part of the sentence you make it more formal and concise. Compare this: John walked into the room and he was laughing very loud to this: John walked into the room laughing very loud. Prettier, isn’t it? You can also use adjectives, for instance: Because he was tired from his workout, he fell asleep immediately as opposed to: Tired from his workout, he fell asleep immediately.


Exercise 4

Rewrite the sentences below using Participle Clauses.

1) Because the company was bankrupt, it had to sell all its assets. =>
2) People who are looking for a new job should definitely make their CV stand out from the rest. =>
3) I wanted to invest some extra money I had inherited, so I consulted a stockbroker. =>
4) Because he spends all the money he makes, he barely has any savings. =>
5) When I was going through my accounts, I noticed some irregularities. =>
6) When we were trying to sell the house, we hired a realtor and he did everything for us. =>
7) Stocks which are traded directly between two businesses are called over-thecounter. =>


to take it upon yourself – obrać sobie coś za cel
pedigree – rasa, rodzaj
to maneuver – manewrować
to disprove sth – udowodnić nieprawdę
to spearhead sth (e.g. a project) – przewodniczyć czemuś
concise – zwięzły
to stand out – wyróżniać się
irregularities – niezgodności
a realtor – agent nieruchomości
to be apprehensive about sth – niepokoić się o coś
irreperably – nieodwracalnie
an index – wskaźnik (np. giełdowy)
average – średni
to sidestep – unikać
persuasively – przekonująco
to refute – obalić (np. czyjś argument)
an accolade – wyraz uznania
a raise – podwyżka
to be underpaid – zbyt mało zarabiać
to amass sth – gromadzić coś (np. majątek)
a peer – osoba na tym samym stanowisku
to pursue sth – dążyć do czegoś
to second quess sb – podważać czyjąś opinię, zdanie
confidence – pewność siebie
to compile a list – sporządzić listę
to assume a duty – przyjąć, przejąć obowiązek
credible – wiarygodny
to deliver on a project – pomyślnie zrealizować projekt
self-evaluation – samoocena
an insider – osoba orientująca się w temacie
to beef sth up – zwiększyć, polepszyć, poprawić
circumstances – okoliczności
repeat business – stały klient
a grounded rationale – uzasadniony powód
bargaining – negocjowanie


download lesson (pdf)


Ex. 1
1) apprehensive
2) irreparably
3) an index
4) average
5) to sidestep
6) persuasively
7) to refute
8) an accolade
9) a raise
10)to be underpaid
11)to amass sth
12)a peer
Ex. 2
1) to pursue your request
2) to second guess sb
3) compensation trends
4) employee confidence
5) a learned skill
6) to compile a list
7) to assume a duty
8) a credible argument
9) industry-specific
10)to deliver on a project
Centrum Języków Obcych Archibald poziom B1/B2
Ex. 3
1) self-evaluation
2) an industry insider
3) an in-person network
4) to beef up your argument
5) to time sth
6) circumstances
7) repeat business
8) low expectations
9) a grounded rationale
10)vacation time
11)a counterpart
Ex. 4
1) Bankrupt, the company had to sell all its assets.
2) People looking for a new job should definitely make their CV stand out from
the rest.
3) Wanting to invest some extra money I had inherited, I consulted a stockbroker.
4) Spending all the money he makes, he barely has any savings.
5) Going through my accounts, I noticed some irregularities.
6) Trying to sell the house, we hired a realtor and he did everything for us.
7) Stocks traded directly between two businesses are called over-the-counter.