Tutorial: negotiate your salary

Johanna Kerber
9. October 2018

In this tutorial we tell you how to prepare for you next salary negotiation and what to pay attention to during that conversation.

1.  Preparation is the key

  1. Ask yourself first: what motivates me to this step of salary negotiation? This is an essential preparation. Did I take over a new job? Did I achieve even more of my career goals recently? These arguments will reinforce any salary claims during your conversation with your employers.
  2. Having concrete salary expectations prepared is as important as to know which salaries you will not put up with. Find out what the customary guide values are, as they might also depend on age and experiences.
  3. Prepare yourself for counterarguments of your interlocutor and think about how to weaken these possible arguments before the conversation even begins.

2. Exude confidence

  1. Remember to tell yourself: I don’t go into this conversation to beg for alms but to receive the equivalent value for my work performance.
  2. Pay attention to your breathing and your posture, this gives a calm and confident impression.
  3. Take over the active part and offer proposals to your conversation partner, instead of waiting for offers. Speak confidently – avoid using subjunctives, as they appear insecure and not precise enough.

3. Listen actively

Your conversation partner feels listened to, when you actively ask questions regarding matters that were discussed earlier in the conversation. Queries will further help to rebut empty phrases, as these phrases will have to be explained further.

Don’t forget: If you don’t ask, you can’t lead.

4. It’s the last offer that counts, not the first

It’s a decision at one’s own discretion if you bring your salary expectations first thing into the conversation or if you wait for an offer made by your conversation partner. Generally speaking, the first offer often acts as an anchor throughout your negotiations but after all: it is the last offer always counts, not the first one. Don’t let it trouble you, who makes the first offer.

5. Stay flexible

If the negotiations come to a halt, it demonstrates a spirit of compromise to get yourself engaged in alternative incentives. In some cases both parties can agree upon a course or training which is paid for by the employer to lower the aforementioned salary expectations.

6. Remain in a confident and commanding manner

At the conclusions of the negotiations more pressure builds up. In some cases, negotiators tend to take on offers that they are not really satisfied with, as they feel like they forfeit their perseverance. To avoid buyer’s remorse after the discussion is over, it makes more sense to clock your negotiations and to resume the discussion at a later time.

Steel yourself with these tips and nothing can go wrong at your next salary negotiations! We wish you every success!


Johanna Kerber

After studying sociology and cultural and social anthropology in Vienna and Paris, Co-Founder Johanna worked as a trainer in the labour market context. At DreiKreis she is responsible for management, sales and finance. In addition to her work, Johanna's family, nature and sports are very important to her.

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