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  3. Learn how to negotiate a salary over the phone. With 9 tips!
Learn how to negotiate a salary over the phone. With 9 tips!

Learn how to negotiate a salary over the phone. With 9 tips!

Artwork by: Aleksander Kostenko

  • 9 Great tips for negotiating a salary over the phone
  • 1. Be prepared - Do your homework
  • 2. Don't talk numbers until you know all the details of the deal
  • 3. Be polite, positive, and respectful
  • 4. Know your value
  • 5. Keep emotions out of the discussion
  • 6. Ask questions and be ready to answer their questions
  • 7. Don’t feel forced to decide on the call
  • 8. Get it in writing
  • 9. Be prepared to turn down their offer
  • A script for negotiating salary over the phone
  • Key takeaways 

Negotiating a salary over the phone isn’t an easy thing to do. We’ll help you navigate this challenge with some great tips and guidance on how to get the best deal.

Even in today’s internet-driven world, talking to someone on the phone is still one of the top ways to communicate. This goes for negotiating salaries too. Don’t be put off if your potential new employer wants to discuss your salary over the phone. Look at it as an opportunity. The rest of this article will tell you why negotiating over the phone is a good thing and how you can take advantage of it.

We’ll cover the following topics:

  • 9 tips for negotiating salary over the phone

  • An example script for negotiating over the phone

9 Great tips for negotiating a salary over the phone

First off, you should always negotiate your compensation before accepting a new job. This is standard practice and employers expect it. It shows you are self-confident and willing to advocate for your position. It also gives you a chance to demonstrate your negotiation skills, which can reinforce your value and puts you in a better position to get more. 

Not sure how to go about negotiating? Check out our tips!

1. Be prepared - Do your homework

If you’ve reached this point, you’ve probably already studied the company and the job you’re negotiating for. But don’t forget to investigate salary ranges in the overall market and at the target company to thoroughly understand the economics of the industry. This not only includes salaries and monetary compensation but also non-monetary compensation like vacation time, healthcare, daycare, training, etc. You should take into consideration the geography and the cost of living. This has become more important with remote work because most companies base their pay ranges on where the company or worker is located. 

Also, try to find out as much as you can about who you’re negotiating with. It’s important to know their position, so you’ll understand whether they have the authority to negotiate on certain things. Knowing about the negotiator may allow you to find topics to connect with them on. This will help you come across as more personable and likable, which never hurts. Consider things from their perspective and be prepared to adjust your approach. It’s not brown-nosing, it’s being smart.

2. Don't talk numbers until you know all the details of the deal

Never jump right into talking about money until you understand all the other compensation and benefits. Ask for details about insurance, bonuses, remote work, perks, and any other things they may have to offer. Once you know the full scope of what you’ll be getting, then you’re ready to talk about salary or the base monetary compensation. Also keep in mind that you can negotiate anything, not just the salary. All compensation and benefits are on the table.

3. Be polite, positive, and respectful

Always be professional and show respect to anyone you’re dealing with. It’s okay to express gratitude for the opportunity and their willingness to negotiate. Maintain a cheerful and positive attitude throughout the negotiations. Being gloomy or cynical won’t help at all. Let them know you're completely open to the discussion and would like to make a deal.

4. Know your value

Be prepared to explain to them why you're worth what you’re asking for. Have concrete examples from your resume and beyond. Don’t just regurgitate your resume, have more detailed examples. Being able to coherently and concisely lay out why you’re worth the additional compensation will go over much better than just saying, “That’s what I want because I’m worth it.” 

5. Keep emotions out of the discussion

The last thing you want to do in a negotiation is get emotional. Emotions can lead to bad decisions or inappropriate reactions. Neither positive nor negative emotions will make your negotiations go well. Keep your emotions in check. This is another benefit of negotiating on the phone because they can’t see your face if you unintentionally react. 

6. Ask questions and be ready to answer their questions

This goes back to the preparation step. If you’ve done your research, then you should have a set of pre-prepared questions ready, but you should also be able to react to their comments and ask clarifying questions. Similar to an interview, asking good questions shows that you’re paying attention and fully understand the topic.

7. Don’t feel forced to decide on the call

When you seem to be concluding the negotiations, don’t just jump at their final offer. Take some time to consider it carefully. Any reasonable employer is going to allow you some time to consider their offer. But don’t wait too long, and give them a date that you’ll respond by. Give yourself at least a day, but a few business days, at most, is typical.

8. Get it in writing

Once your negotiation discussion is completed, make sure you get their offer in writing. Don’t verbally agree to anything until you do. This should be acceptable and expected by the employer. No smart business agrees to anything until they have a written contract.

9. Be prepared to turn down their offer

As with any negotiation, you must be ready to walk away. This gets back to knowing the market and what you’re worth. Have a minimum offer in mind and if they don’t meet it, then you reject the offer, thank them for the opportunity, and move on. This is not the best outcome, but if you’re not ready to turn them down, then they’ll take advantage of you, and you’ll end up in a deal you’re not happy with.

There’s no such thing as a win-win in negotiation. Negotiation is a back-and-forth with each side making concessions. In the end, you either get a good deal or you don’t. Make sure you’re ready to negotiate, have confidence, and be smart about it. Then you’ll come out with a good deal!

A script for negotiating salary over the phone

Want to see how this could play out in an actual phone call after you receive a job offer? Check out our example. Remember to use active listening along with a positive, collaborative tone to ensure your negotiation is successful!


Negotiating a salary offer over the phone

Applicant: Hello, I’m excited about this offer and would like to thank you for taking the time to speak with me today. I’m looking forward to learning more about this role at [Company Name]. In particular, I’m fascinated by your current project on [description of project related to role]. I’ve reviewed the job offer, and I was wondering if you could clarify a few details for me.

Hiring Manager: I appreciate your enthusiasm. What can I tell you more about?

Applicant: I’ve reviewed your benefits package and that’s comprehensive and straightforward, no questions there. But could you tell me about your leave policy?

Hiring Manager: Yes, we offer 21 days of PTO, which increases each year you’re with the company. This is in addition to 12 sick days annually and 12 paid holidays. 

Applicant: Good to hear, that’s pretty generous. I see there’s also an annual bonus. Can you tell me how that works?

Hiring Manager: Of course! If our company exceeds our annual financial goals, we offer a year-end bonus payment of 10% of your annual salary. We also have a performance-based incentive plan. If your team delivers at least 85% of projects on time and within budget, you’ll receive an additional 10% of your annual base salary.

Applicant: Great, thank you! I really like that there’s a performance-based bonus on top of the company-wide bonus. As for the base salary, can you let me know how that was determined?

Hiring Manager: We’ve conducted some market research, and HR has determined the salary range we can offer. Then, we customize our offer depending on your skills and experience.

Applicant: That’s helpful. I’ve looked into this, and I’ve found someone like me with a Master’s degree and PMP certification usually makes a little more. Also, you can see that I’m already well-versed in this type of role, as I’ve [specific achievement(s)] at my former company. Based on this, I was hoping we could discuss the possibility of a higher base salary. 

Hiring Manager: That is definitely a possibility. What did you have in mind?

Applicant: I think a base salary of [$$] better aligns with my experience. Would you be able to meet me around there?

Hiring Manager: I think we could work with that. Let me consult with our team and HR and get back to you. 

Applicant: Thanks for looking into this! If you could follow up with an email, I’d appreciate it and will respond within two business days. 

Not sure how much you should be negotiating for? Check out our Salary Analyzer to figure out how much your skills are worth on the current market. 

Key takeaways 

  1. Negotiating over the phone is common in this virtual world, and you can use it to your advantage. 

  2. Do your research. Carefully review your job offer and any paperwork, investigate current market conditions, and see what you can find out about who is interviewing you. 

  3. Be positive, but advocate for your value.

  4. Don’t accept anything until you have it in writing

  5. Remember that you’re worth it and be confident.

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