Should I negotiate my internship salary?

Salary Negotiation Tips: 15 Ingenious Tricks + Arguments

You come across salary negotiations again and again in your professional life: when changing jobs, in an interview, after the probationary period has expired or after years in the company. Demand more money, earn more salary - okay. But how much? How do you find your current market value and above all: How do you convince the boss to pay more money? We have collected the best salary interview tips and tricks that many have used to raise their salaries. In addition to proven arguments and negotiation tricks, you will also find 8 classic mistakes that you should avoid salary negotiations ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

Salary Negotiation: How Much More Can I Ask?

Those who negotiate skillfully can get a raise of between three and 10 percent. If you change jobs externally, you can even get up to 20 percent. Especially if you are poached. Rules of thumb (average values):

  • Salary negotiation a year ago: plus 3 to 5 percent
  • More responsibility and new tasks: plus 5 to 7 percent
  • In the case of a promotion: plus 10 to 15 percent

For successful salary negotiations, you should know (and be able to prove) exactly where you stand in the company, what contribution you are making and what (future) successes you are using as an argument. What counts are services and added value. Only then will you have a chance of a raise in the negotiation.

Tip: Invest in yourself. Additional qualifications and training are always good arguments. It is not only in companies that are bound by collective bargaining that you often end up in a higher salary group.

Tip: "salary adjustment" instead of "salary increase"!

When it comes to money, always take the initiative and actively address your desired salary. Talk about a "salary adjustment" instead of a "salary increase". Reason: "Salary increase" sounds like "pay more money", like an increase for no reason. “Salary adjustment”, on the other hand, sounds positive. The subtext here resonates with the fact that something was previously incorrect and needs to be "adjusted". There's a good reason for that. What this amounts to is the same. But it can - depending on what makes your boss tick - seem more charming.

Maximum salary in the early 50s

Do you want to earn a lot of money? Then hurry up! According to a Stepstone study (250,000 records), most people reach their maximum salary by the age of 52. Average of 58,539 euros. After that, dependent employees hardly earn any more. The salary is more likely to fall because those affected take less time to work or look for less responsible jobs and positions (keyword: downshifting). The largest salary increases are made between the ages of 30 and 40. From the mid-50s, most options are exhausted.

Salary negotiation gross or net: determine market value

In the salary negotiation, please always state the gross annual salary. Even with the starting salary. Employers are not interested in what comes out net. Its costs are always gross, not net.

Before the salary negotiation starts, you should determine your market value for it. Use our free paycheck to do this. Another trick: take your absolute minimum wage - and double it. Although the method only provides an approximate value, in practice it leads to surprisingly realistic and enforceable values.

In addition to profession and the industry, there are a few factors that have an influence on the salary. Employees in identical jobs and industries do not earn the same by a long way. The following influencing factors determine how much more employees can earn:

  • Position: Young professionals earn less than experienced specialists or managers. Income usually peaks between the ages of 40 and 50.
  • Qualification: The better educated, the more skilled and specialized you are, the more you will earn. Students who have studied receive an average of EUR 20,000 more per year than employees with "only" one training.
  • Company size: In large, international corporations, salaries are usually higher than in small and medium-sized companies.
  • Number of employees: From 500 employees, an additional salary of up to 50 percent can be achieved compared to the industry average.
  • Location: People pay more in cities and other metropolitan areas than in rural areas or structurally weak regions.
  • Federal state: There is a north-south divide in Germany: Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse have the highest salaries. The lowest in Saxony, Thuringia and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Our free salary tables (also TVöD) and salary comparisons provide additional information.

Salary negotiation Arguments: Create a performance portfolio!

The salary interview stands and falls with strong arguments. So previous and future achievements. They are the equivalent of your salary. You should therefore create a so-called service folder. On one to three A4 pages you write down everything that is convincing: projects, successes, savings, increased sales, overtime, above average. Additional qualifications and training also create added value. This is how the service portfolio is structured ...

  • Job description: Start with a job description. This makes it clear what is part of your job - and where you do more than you have to.
  • Description of services: Make a list with two columns. Links your achievements and completed and new projects.
  • Timesheet: In the right column are the hours that you have spent on it. Attention: You should document voluntary overtime. But if you list too many hours, you might look disorganized.
  • Recognition: Was there praise from the boss, colleagues or customers (in writing, by email) and internal awards? Then that also belongs in the service portfolio. All hard facts.

The performance folder is essential for your preparation. It not only documents performance. It helps against forgetting the boss and offers (almost) unbeatable arguments (see video).

Salary negotiation: 15 brilliant tips & arguments

1. Make the first move

Always make the first move and the opening bid. Those who start, end significantly more often with a negotiation result that corresponds to their goals. What has a psychological effect is the anchor effect: If we are unable to assess the value of a thing, the brain suffices with a figure that is completely out of thin air: the opening commandment. So never be shy when discussing your salary and state your price confidently.

2. Put your salary in relation

In any salary negotiation you will be tried to be negotiated down. That is why many of them add something beforehand in order to be negotiated down to the target salary. The danger of this strategy: you either overstimulate or end up lower. It is wiser to relate your own salary requirement to a higher number.

At the beginning of the salary negotiation, say that specialists in your position and industry are paid an average of 68,000 euros a year. Then state your desired salary: "In line with my professional qualifications, I think a salary of 64,720 euros is appropriate." Your 64,720 euros no longer sound as high thanks to the relation to the 68,000 euros. On the contrary: you have already made a compromise. So the boss is now having a hard time pushing you down to 60,000 euros.

3. Never accept the first offer

NEVER accept the first counter offer. It's never the best in salary negotiation. By making you an offer, the boss gives himself away and signals that there is willingness to negotiate and room for maneuver. You should take advantage of this by repeating its number, looking in shock and then being silent.

4. Negotiate by email for as long as possible

If you are negotiating for more money, start in writing - for example by stating your salary expectations in advance. The University of Austin psychologist Marlone Henderson found that the written distance increases the focus on factual arguments. Bosses are then less concerned with their own benefit. Examples:

  • “The new tasks and projects will make a major contribution to improving the company's results. My desired salary corresponds to the standard market salary in this industry and position. I ask you to respectfully examine my offer. I am convinced that we will come to a mutually beneficial agreement. "
  • “Thanks for the job offer. I look forward to working on your team. I would like to discuss my salary expectations beforehand. Based on my experience and qualifications, I consider an annual salary of ____ euros to be appropriate. I am confident that we will find a solution that will benefit both of us. "

5. Name a crooked number

When asked about your desired salary, give a precise number. For example, “39,540 euros a year” instead of “40,000 euros”. The social psychologist David Loschelder from Saarland University was able to prove: The crooked number seems more convinced and better prepared. It signals: "I know what I'm worth - exactly to the euro." That reduces the boss' psychological negotiating leeway.

6. Demand insane amounts

To earn more money? Then you play extremely high poker! If you believe the study by Todd Thorsteinson from the University of Idaho, even an absurdly high figure (200,000 euros) in salary negotiations has an enormous influence on the later salary. This number also “anchors” your counterpart. Such a high salary requirement only works at the beginning of the salary interview and must definitely be garnished with humor. Otherwise the demand could come across as arrogant or stupid.

7. Ask a favor

Not in the form of a raise, of course. Too flat. The psychological trick is this: after people have helped someone, it is easier for them to make further commitments. Behind this is the so-called Benjamin Franklin Effect. So you could ask for important information about a current project before the interview - or a glass of water. Anything that the boss is likely to say "yes" to. See next tip ...

8. Generate a "Yes"

Get your counterpart in a mood of approval. The best way to do this is to let the boss say “yes” a few times. Before you start the correct salary negotiation, ask harmless questions, such as: “Did you have a good rest on your vacation?” Or: “Isn't that crazy: Christmas will be again in 90 days ?!” The only important thing is, that the boss answers the questions with "yes". In NLP language one would say that you “prime” or “condition” your boss to say “yes” for the later salary negotiation.

9. Be confident

Many start the salary negotiations shyly and defensively: "I feel uncomfortable now, but I would like to have more money ..." Never do that! You don't ask for handouts, you negotiate! And for no less than the equivalent of your work. If you know your value, you can confidently claim it: "I think 57,650 euros is appropriate." Of course, you shouldn't be outrageous. But don't shrink into supplicant either. You cannot argue in the subjunctive. That is taboo in every negotiation.

10. Use rhetorical pauses

Many salary negotiators cannot stand pauses in conversation and chatter away the silence. You are talking about head and neck. Silence is an underrated negotiating tactic. State your desired salary during the salary negotiation. Say: “I want to earn 10 percent more in the coming year.” Then keep quiet - and thus underscore your determination. Of course, the boss will ask how you got your salary. But thanks to the performance portfolio, you have solid arguments.

11. Actively listen

By listening, reading between the lines and asking questions, you can find out what the other person really wants. Who asks leads. As long as you ask, you will force the other person on the defensive and in need of explanation. You determine the conversation and can steer it through systemic questions. Avoid using an aggressive undertone and repeat the boss's statements in your own words. That shows understanding - and often leads to confessions.

12. Use the mirror technique

If two people like each other, their body language harmonizes. The effect can be used in a targeted manner: By mirroring the behavior and choice of words of your boss in the salary negotiation (never aping!), You are subtly signaling that you are on the same wavelength. Effect: He gains trust and makes concessions more easily.

13. Refute counter arguments

Bosses like to iron out the desired salary with so-called killer phrases. You should be able to anticipate and counter these arguments (mentally). This will throw him off his feet and take the wind out of his sails. For example, say, “I know you are currently on a budget. But that's exactly what I'm going to change with Project XY: It generates more sales ... ”The boss could also say that he was not satisfied with your previous performance. A classic that should unsettle you. Check it out: “Which services were specifically below your expectations?” Those who negotiate confidently get more. Further examples:

  • "I'm sorry, our company situation does not currently allow that." - Answer: "I am aware of the situation. That's why I would like to negotiate additional services. "
  • “You are already getting more money than usual in this position!” - Answer: “That does not coincide with my research. The average salary is ... "
  • “Your desired salary is above my budget. That has to be decided by the management. ”- Answer:“ As my manager, you can best judge my performance. What increase do you think is appropriate? "
  • "If I pay you more, my colleagues will also want more." - Answer: "Of course, I assure you that I will treat our agreement discreetly."
  • “I can't pay you more than _____ euros at the moment.” - Answer: “Unfortunately, that doesn't meet my expectations. Based on my future performance, I imagine _____ euros. What do you make of it?"
  • “Unfortunately, you cannot earn any more salary in this position. That goes beyond our salary structure "- Answer:" I am also of the opinion that my performance speaks for a promotion. Let us talk about the next steps in your career ... "

14. Stay flexible

Those who stay tough in negotiations usually do better with them. If, for example, the supervisor remains stubborn and stoically rejects your monetary claims, you can offer alternatives: success bonuses, special leave, home office, staff discounts or petrol money. Such extras are often tax-free for employers. That makes them more attractive than a raise. And with the courtesy, you put the boss in a morally inferior position. He has to move now too if he is to feel fair.

What special salary benefits are possible?

15. Keep calm. Especially at the end

Negotiations like to get hot. Dangerous! Especially at the end of the salary negotiation, during the last three minutes, you should maintain a confident demeanor. Now it shows who has the stronger nerves. Stick to your salary claim. Your arguments are sound and documented in a performance folder. The strenght is to be found in serenity. This is how you eventually win the deal.

When is the best time to negotiate a salary?

Every salary adjustment is a confirmation of previous performance. Accordingly, there are the right times for a salary negotiation:

  • Salary negotiation, starting salary
    The classic. You hire a new company and go into contract negotiations. It is completely normal for you to start charging a higher salary than before.
  • After passing the probationary period
    At the end of the probationary period, you have proven that you can do the job and are up to the demands. So a small raise could be in there.
  • During the employee appraisal
    After a year, at the “annual interview”, employees and superiors take stock: performance, achievement of goals, future projects. Those who do well here have strong arguments for a raise.
  • With the promotion
    Anyone who progresses one step on the career ladder has usually shown the best performance and takes on more responsibility. That should be rewarded accordingly.
  • In the case of a transfer
    If employees are given new responsibilities internally or change departments, this is the right time to talk about a higher salary.
  • When the employment contract is extended
    You previously had a fixed-term employment contract. That will be converted into a permanent one. Mostly for positive reasons.They also speak in favor of a raise.
  • With a new fixed-term employment contract
    Anyone who subsequently receives a second, fixed-term employment contract should always renegotiate their salary and ask for more money.
  • Just before the end of a successful project
    According to studies, the best time. Then you are still needed to achieve the goal. But success is within reach. This “appreciation climax” signals the perfect time for a salary negotiation.

How can I ask for a salary interview?

If you want to earn more salaries, you have to take action. Hardly any boss puts on the donation pants on his own initiative. Choose a convenient time (see above) and ask for a one-to-one conversation. A positive salary negotiation takes time and calm.

Formulations: After one year in the company

  • “I've been working for this company for two years now - and I still have great friends and a lot of commitment. That is why I would like to talk to you about my professional and financial prospects. When would you have time for about 30 minutes? "
  • “With the _____ project, I am about to be successfully completed. It will save our company around __ percent. I would therefore like to talk to you about my achievements and future projects, as well as my salary. "

Formulation: shortly before the end of the trial period

  • “The week after next my trial period ends normally. You have already indicated to me that you are satisfied with my services and that you want to continue working together. That pleases me. I would therefore like to talk to you about my future tasks, my development - including the financial one - as well as new projects. "

The 8 Worst Mistakes in Salary Negotiation

There are many things you can do right in salary negotiation - but also some mistakes. These can cost money. To avoid tripping yourself up, avoid the following negotiation mistakes:

No arguments

Thorough preparation is the be-all and end-all for a successful salary negotiation. Those who naively start a conversation fail more often. Good arguments are what count when it comes to a salary adjustment:

Good arguments

(+) Sales increases
(+) Cost reductions
(+) Further development
(+) More responsibility
(+) More performance

Bad arguments

(-) Private costs
(-) Planned acquisitions
(-) Peer comparisons
(-) More stress
(-) threat of dismissal

Wrong timing

Please never ask for more money on the doorstep. A fixed appointment is mandatory! Timing is everything. If your boss is grumpy in the morning, make an appointment in the afternoon. Friday is also a convenient date. Most people are then in a better mood because the weekend is approaching.

Compare with colleagues

Thanks to the Pay Transparency Act, anyone who feels that they are being paid unjustly can inquire about what colleagues earn in the same position. Comparing colleagues with colleagues remains dangerous. Perhaps the colleague works more, more efficiently, more accurately, more successfully, ... Comparisons are never a trump card in salary poker. The best argument remains the positive added value that YOU provide.

Big emotions

Never react offended or out loud. Objectivity wins. Anyone who gets emotional or moral in the salary negotiation and gets wrong in tone has already lost. In fact, this means: “I ran out of arguments, now I can only drum or press the lacrimal gland.” It is better to train your body language beforehand and exude security and a high level of self-esteem. That demands at least respect from the boss.

Start blackmail attempt

A raise is a demand, not a coercion. Threatening is taboo. Especially not with the termination, motto: "If I don't get more salary, I'll go ..." Only beginners do that. No boss will accept it because it sends the wrong signal for future negotiations. The maximum you can say is that you are dissatisfied with your current salary and that this is not common in the market. This gives the salary increase the character of a “retention bonus”. According to studies by Anne Gielen from Tilburg University, the boss pays more money for two reasons: When it comes to an important employee who otherwise leaves. And when the idea occurred to him himself.

Lack of security

Negotiating is good, better fixing. No matter how harmoniously or positively the salary negotiation went: Write down a record. Some bosses may no longer remember verbal agreements. He could also change his mind. Therefore: Make a report of the results, which is signed by both.

To ask too much

Allowing for a buffer and room for negotiation is okay. However, if you overstimulate with full seriousness, you lose your chances of a salary adjustment. It no longer looks smart, it looks greedy. You should only ask for more than 20 percent if you can substantiate this in a comprehensible manner.

Selling below value

The opposite is also bad: if you're going for a raise, don't go for a measly one, please. Nobody takes the salary negotiation seriously if he or she senses that you are not realistically assessing yourself and your market value. If the desired salary is too low, the employer gets away cheaply. But you lose money AND respect. Even with future salary negotiations.

Also consider: Most salary increases are made in percentages. For example, 10 percent more salary than before. That makes the starting salary extremely important. The less you earn at a young age, the slower your lifetime income will develop (see graphic). Extrapolated to a working life of 40 years, even small differences in wages of 500 or 1,000 euros (thanks to the compound interest effect) can expand up to 400,000 euros. Some of them can buy a row house from them.

Salary negotiation job interview: 4 tips

It is unlikely that you will negotiate your future salary in the first interview. Salary negotiations are usually part of the second interview. Then you should be prepared for it and know your market value. Here, too, a few psychological and rhetorical tips and tricks help when negotiating salaries:

  • Don't talk about "money" right away in the interview. Enthusiasm for the job and the company must remain in the foreground. Otherwise there is a feeling of disturbance. Wait until the topic is brought up.
  • Enter a gross annual salary, for example: "My gross salary is EUR 46,530 per year." Requests for additional benefits such as vacation pay, travel allowances or capital-building benefits are not mentioned.
  • Answer the question about your previous salary honestly. Lies fly up at some point. If you think you have earned too little so far, say so openly and confidently: “I think my previous salary is not a good comparison value. It was my starting salary, and at the time I bargained badly and sold myself below value. In the meantime, I imagine a salary at standard market conditions - in the amount of ... "
  • If the offer is too low: keep calm! That can be a stress test. It is better to repeat the request again with a cool head and objective arguments. It is a salary NEGOTIATION, not a value judgment about you!

Those who do not negotiate regularly and well about their salary are actually giving away money. That takes revenge and you miss it later in old age and in retirement.

A study once found that many people - mathematically - lose more than half a million euros just because they do not negotiate salaries. Please don't make the mistake. We wish: good luck!

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