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How to Negotiate Salary Over the Phone

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Compensation
Published
Jul 28, 2022
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Updated
Sep 15, 2022

How to Negotiate Salary Over the Phone

Monica Stockbridge

Negotiating your salary over the phone is likely to be more successful than negotiating over email. Get tips and example scripts to prepare for the conversation.

Whether you received a new job offer or are preparing for your annual review, negotiating salary is is a big step in your career journey. After all, you need to know you’re earning what you’re worth. It's part being successful in a job you love.

In a world increasingly dependent on remote work, negotiating your salary in person may not be possible. In which case, you may be wondering how to do it over the phone or email. This article will offer guidelines for how to approach a salary negotiation and includes conversation examples.

Why negotiate salary over the phone?

Negotiating salary over the phone is more likely to be successful than email because you get the chance to have a real-time conversation. Phone conversations allow for more back-and-forth, which is better than providing a list of demands over email.

The rise of remote work means that fewer work interactions happen in-person. Phone is the next best option.

Getting on the phone for a conversation like this can be intimidating, and emailing might be more comfortable. Yet the chance to talk can be a good opportunity to connect with your boss and engage in some friendly conversation before diving into the big ask. Plus, having a back-and-forth conversation over the phone leaves fewer chances to misinterpret tone of voice.

How to negotiate salary over the phone

Here are a few tips for making it the most comfortable, productive and successful experience possible — whether you’re applying for a new job or approaching your current boss as an existing employee. 

During the interview process

Start with a strong resume

While applying for jobs, the first step is to build a resume that speaks to the job you want. Make sure your resume is tailored to the job you are looking for and make your career history, job skills and select achievements stand out to hiring managers. You might also consider doing a LinkedIn review to appeal to online recruiters.

Know your target number.

If you’re living in a state with wage transparency laws, you might have a sense of the salary range for this position already. Otherwise, you can research the market salary for your position on a number of free websites. This can be valuable information to have while job searching so you know if the role is a good fit for you. When negotiating, it’s okay to go a bit above this number, as employers often negotiate down.

Wait for the offer, then follow up

The traditional way to negotiate a salary is to wait until you have an offer in writing. That way, you can assess the job requirements, salary offer, and benefits such as retirement contributions and paid time off. From there, consider what salary you’d actually like to ask for. 

Schedule your followup call by sending an email.

Here’s an example of an email to send to discuss the offer:

Hi [Hiring manager name],
Thank you for the offer of [position] at [company]. I’m excited about the opportunity! I’d like to schedule a phone call with you to go over a few additional questions. Do you have a few windows of time that would work for you this week?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Sincerely,
[Your name]

This message sets the stage with your excitement about the job while letting the hiring manager know there’s still more to be discussed. Then, you can schedule a phone call to have the actual conversation.

Here’s an example salary negotiation conversation to help you get started:

Job candidate: Thanks for taking my call today! I’m excited about this position and I wanted to ask a few questions. 
Hiring manager: Great! What can I help answer for you?
Job candidate: I noticed the benefits description include the potential for an annual bonus. Can we talk more about how the bonus structure works?
Hiring manager: Absolutely, your role includes an annual bonus up to 10% of your salary depending on company performance. 
Job candidate: Thanks for the information. In terms of the salary, I see I've been offered $75,000. After doing some market research for similar positions, I believe that a salary of $85,000 to $90,000 is more fitting for my experience and skill set. Would you be able to meet me in that range?
Hiring manager: Thanks for the information. I'll need to speak with HR and get back to you with more information.

You can see by this salary negotiation example that these conversations are often just that — negotiations. In the end, you’ll need to decide what works for you in terms of job responsibility, salary and other benefits.

When you’re already on the payroll

Prepare

You may think that since you’re already employed at the company, you can just wing it when it comes to salary negotiations. Think again.

Even if you’re remaining at your current position, it’s a good idea to prepare. Write down your recent achievements to share with your boss. It’s okay to celebrate your hard work.

Know your worth

It’s important to know your value, especially when approaching a salary negotiation. Do some research about your industry and market rates for someone of your experience level. Calculate your salary growth over the years, and narrow down your target salary. 

Give your boss a heads-up

Giving your supervisor advanced notice about what you’d like to talk about is always a polite gesture. Don’t call them out of the blue and ask for a raise.

Send a quick email asking for some time on the calendar to talk about your progress at the company. You can even let them know clearly, and respectfully, that you’d like to have a conversation about requesting a salary increase. 

Here’s an example salary negotiation email to send to your supervisor:

Hi [Supervisor],
It’s been a great [quarter/year], and I’m excited to continue working toward [department goal\overall company goal] at [company].
I’m writing because I’d like to request a meeting with you to discuss my compensation. As you know, over the past [number of] years, I have consistently met my goals and delivered excellent work. I’ve also taken on new responsibilities in the past year, including [responsibility] and [responsibility]. My work has also resulted in [tangible or monetary increase/improvement]. You may know that I also recently completed a certificate course in [skill/industry] and have heard some wonderful feedback from [clients/coworkers].
I would love to schedule a call to discuss this further. 
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Sincerely,
[Your name]

When there’s no room for negotiation

Sometimes, job candidates run into a situation where employers are unwilling to negotiate salaries. All is not lost.

Take the time to learn more about other benefits that might be available to you if you do accept a salary that’s lower than your goal. Other benefits with monetary value include:

  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Retirement plan contributions
  • Stock options and restricted stock units
  • Bonuses

All of these have merit when it comes to overall work benefits, even if the salary isn’t ideal.

Negotiating salary over the phone or email can feel daunting. These tips can help you organize your thoughts, prepare your talking points, and approach the conversation with confidence.

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Monica Stockbridge

Monica Parpal Stockbridge is a content marketing writer, freelance journalist and author. She writes about career growth, technology, outdoor recreation, higher education and more from her home in Colorado.

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