Salary Negotiation Tips for Introverts

The phone rings. You get a job offer. Now what?

Posted Jun 07, 2010

You’ve just searched for a job during one of the toughest job markets in memory. You probably navigated the financial and emotional challenges that are part of the territory. And now you’re starting to get offers. (If that hasn’t happened yet, keep soldiering on and never give up on your mission.)

The phone rings. A hiring manager makes you an offer. If the first number she puts on the table isn’t right for you, it’s time to engage in a give and take to get yourself closer to your financial goals—and that will advance your working relationship from Day One, building mutual respect and trust.

First, avoid agreeing to anything on the spot. You can always thank the hiring manager for the offer and ask if you can have a few days to think it over. Once you've had a chance to consider the offer and do some research—on the likes of and—to see how it compares to what other organizations are paying, then you can propose a phone or in-person meeting to come to an agreement.

Most people I’ve encountered aren’t comfortable with negotiating. Yet, like interviewing for a job and speaking in front of an audience, it’s just a skill and anyone can learn it. What do introverts, in particular, need to do to excel in all of these arenas which often require communicating in a high-stakes setting? It boils down to resting up, preparing, and practicing.

Negotiating can be taxing for you, particularly as an introvert if you’ve been in meetings or at other social events all day. So it’s important to get sufficient down time before you dive in to a negotiation. Once you’re refueled, you’ll be better positioned to represent yourself and your needs as well as pay close attention to the other party and his needs to find mutually acceptable common ground. Why prepare and practice? Because as an introvert you’re at your best when you get to think things through before you speak.

Consider the following tips to help you prepare to negotiate compensation; they're excerpted from my book, Self-Promotion for Introverts®. I elaborate on each of these tips in the book; I hope this list will get you started or provide you with important reminders.

  • Remember your strengths.
  • Be mindful of your negotiating style (competitive, accommodating, avoiding, compromising).
  • Research like crazy.
  • Prepare and rehearse for the toughest aspects.
  • Don’t rush to discuss pay on an interview.
  • Ask open-ended questions to find out more information.
  • Always have a clear alternative strategy in case negotiations reach an impasse.
  • Once you’re at the negotiating table, listen carefully for the other party’s needs.
  • Offer a vision of a mutually positive outcome for yourself, the hiring manager, and the organization.
  • Treat the negotiation as a collaboration rather than a competition.
  • Negotiate nonsalary items too.

For more information about getting a job, see my story, "How to Land a Job by Surrounding It," and Joann Lublin's story, "Greasing the Inside Track to a Job," in the Wall Street Journal, about the power of referrals; also see my story, "Uncovering the Hidden Job Market—Free Video." If you'd like to freshen your interview skills, see my story "Interview and Get the Job."

Tips adapted from: Nancy Ancowitz, Self-Promotion for Introverts®: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead, McGraw-Hill, 2009, pp. 208-215.