The Five Question Salary Negotiation

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains how to negotiate your job offer with just five questions.

Read Full Transcript

Let's talk about negotiating salary. You've got the offer. Everything seems great but you want to do a bit more negotiating. Here is the 1st thing you do: if you feel comfortable about what is been proposed but you just want to increase a little bit, here's the idea.

You'll be asking a few questions but I don't want you doing it right away. I want you to say, "I'm thinking favorably. Can I come back to you in a day or so to have a couple of questions answered. I just want to make sure I do this 1 time so that were not going back and forth. He give me a day here to think about it and circle back to you?"

Think of it from the hiring manager's perspective. He or she thinks right away that you're going to be coming back about money. As a result, when you come back to them, the 1st question that you ask is NOT about money. It should be about anything BUT money.

Consider asking when you get into the 401(k). When you become eligible for benefits. Something softball that will cause them to relax a little bit and think for a 2nd, "Ah! This isn't going to be so tough!" Then, the next question is going to be about reporting relationships. Who are you going to report to? What are they like? If I'm reporting to you, who do you report to? Who do we service? Things along those lines.

The 3rd question is always a big one. You want to go to your most important question 3rd. I prefer you not deal with money here and keep that for a little bit later in the conversation. Here, you might ask about whatever your critical issue is. Maybe, is that you will be taking a trip and it is prescheduled and you want them to know about it in advance. Maybe it is about bonus eligibility... Whatever it is, covered 3rd.

Then, you circle back and asked him another softball question. Do I work on a Windows device or Mac? Isn't that a softball question?

Now, for the money question, you have been building up to this one, see would say something like, "You know, I've been really thinking favorably about this opportunity. Could you do a touch better on the offer?" Normally, they will do 1 of 2 things; they will either increase it by a few dollars. The 2nd thing they might say is, "This really is our top number." You'll be able to tell if it's true by the sincerity of their voice. Whether that is true or not. You'll be able to use your "acute BS detector" to determine if that is the case. The 3rd response is to say, "I will have to get back to you. Is that a deal breaker for you?"

You can say no or yes; that will be your choice. Ultimately, if this is a dealbreaker for you, he or she is going to work that much harder to get the number or or say, "Forget it." It is all over at that point.

Assuming that it is not a dealbreaker, tell them that at the point. You're interested in joining, other firms been talking about more money with you, you have another offer at that price point, could they do a touch better?

That's the theory behind what I call, "The Easiest Way to Negotiate a Higher Salary for Yourself." That's 1 of my YouTube videos. Watch it. It is about 10 minutes in length, and I think it is very helpful.

But I wanted to stage salary negotiation for you here. Kudos to my friend Ellis Chase. He did this in a Forbes article very well. If you go to Forbes and search for Ellis Chase, he lays out this formula nicely,


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 more than 2000 episodes.

Are you interested in 1:1 coaching, interview coaching, advice about networking more effectively, how to negotiate your offer or leadership coaching? Schedule a discovery call at my website,

Quick question? Get it answered with a 3–5 minute video at to do it live?

Learn to interview like a pro. “The Ultimate Job Interview Framework” Kindle and print versions are available on Amazon.

Classes On Skillshare

Become a freelancer or hire one on fiverr.com I use it and I may wind up hiring you! If you need to incorporate your freelance business or something else, and, try

Join Career Angles on Facebook and receive support, ideas, and advice in your current career and job.Job Search Radio logo

Connect with me on LinkedIn Mention you listen to the podcast or watch my YouTube channel.

Job Search Going Nowhere? “Diagnosing Your Job Search Problems” for Kindle on Amazon and receive free Kindle versions of “No BS Resume Advice” and “Interview Preparation.”

If you are starting your search, order, “Get Ready for the Job Jungle” on Amazon.

Watch my videos on YouTube at, the Job Search TV app for Roku, fireTV or a firestick or for Apple TV, and 90+ smart tv’s.

Thinking of making a career change and need some ideas that fit you. CareerFitter offers a free test and if you want more you can upgrade for the paid version.

We grant permission for this post and others to be used on your website as long as a backlink is included and notice is provided that it is provided by Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter as an author or creator.

About the author

Leave a Comment, Thought, Opinion. Speak like you're speaking with someone you love.

%d bloggers like this: