Salary Negotiation: 3 Things to Prepare Before a Final Salary Negotiation

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
You are about to get an offer or maybe you’re going back for a final interview and you know they are going to ask you about the salary you are looking for. Here are three things to prepare for those conversations.

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They’ve told you you’re about to get the offer. Yay. Or maybe you’re going to a final interview and you know, they’re going to ask you about what you’re looking for. There are some things you need to do to prepare, that will help you tremendously going into these conversations.

Now, the first one is really very simple and that’s to figure out what you’re really looking for, so that we’re not wasting anyone’s time, yours in particular, going into these negotiations. What’s the number you’d really like to get? That’s really important. Conversely, and this is the second item, you need to be prepared to know what’s the number that’s going to cause you to walk away. By that I mean, you know, ‘I won’t take any job below this salary.’

Now, remember, there’s always the possibility of negotiating a sign on bonus. Maybe the cost of benefits is significantly lower than what you’re paying now. There’s lots of variations. Maybe there’s stock options, or restricted stock units, that you’re able to negotiate with a firm. No matter. Just be prepared to know what’s going to make you walk away, what you’re really looking for, and the variations in the middle that might cause you to change that bottom number.

So let’s say you were looking for 325. And they offered you a three which is below that, right? But they’re willing to give you a $50,000 sign on. And what’s your raise going to be like after the first year? You need to know these kinds of numbers in order to figure out whether you’d want to say yes. Maybe you’re going to get more in the way of vacation time. That has a value, too. So understand, there’s some secondary variations that will help you in terms of saying yes to an offer, or knowing to walk away.

Now, here’s the third one, which is really incredibly important. And that’s managing your emotions. So often, people get so worked up, they get so indignant about whether . . . “they’re not going to give me what I’m looking for. I know they want to give me this sign on that’s gonna give me . . . but I want the salary.” In the example that I gave, you’re gonna wind up $25,000 ahead. There’s a $50,000 sign on.

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Be smart about things. Don’t let your emotions rule. Don’t let other people’s emotions rule. Also, you may have a wife, husband, partner, friends who are telling you, ‘you must get this.’ Why? Because they think you should get it or because you’re actually worth it. And I’m not saying that you’re not. But you have to make decisions walking into the meeting, based upon your needs, and your requirements, not someone else’s, and their fantasy life about what you should be paid. And if they’re wrong, they’re not getting hurt. You are.

So just be aware, your emotions have to be in control. And sometimes you have to manage other people, their opinions and their emotions, too.

I hope you found this helpful. I’m Jeff Altman. Visit my website, There’s a lot in the blog that will help you. Plus, if you like  help negotiating, you can schedule time for a session with me. I’d be very happy to help you go through the final negotiations with the firm.

I also want to mention I’ve got courses there on interviewing that are terrific. And, and I’m gonna remind you about scheduling time. Let me restate that. I’m gonna remind you about connecting with me on Linkedin at

Have a terrific day and most importantly, be great!

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with over 2400 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? People hire me to provide No BS career advice whether that is about a job search, hiring better, leadership, management or support with a workplace issue. Schedule a discovery call at my website, 

My courses are available on my The courses include ones about Informational InterviewsInterviewing, final interview preparation, salary negotiation mistakes to avoidthe top 10 questions to prepare for on any job interview, and starting a new job.

I do a livestream on LinkedIn, YouTube (on the account) and on Facebook (on the Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter page) Tuesdays and Fridays at 1 PM Eastern. You can send your questions about job search, hiring better, management, leadership or to get advice about a workplace issue to me via messaging on LinkedIn or in chat during the approximately 30 minute show.

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