LinedIn Pinterest Twitter Facebook

Contact US

Career Center

Career Center
phone: 208-885-6121
fax: 208-885-2816
Idaho Commons, Room 334
875 Perimeter Dr. MS 2534
Moscow, ID 83844-2534


Career Center Summer Hours

7:30 am-12 pm and 1 - 4:30 pm
Drop-ins welcomed, but appointment suggested

Man climbing a tower of coins

Salary and Benefit Negotiations

Successfully negotiating a desired salary or benefits package is a useful skill to have, and for a variety of reasons, is something most people struggle to do.  However, being able to effectively negotiate with an employer could mean an increase of thousands of dollars to you within a few minutes. 

There is an appropriate time and place for negotiating a salary; and it takes skill to know when you do it and when it may not be appropriate to do so. As a potential employee, you need to be prepared to fight for what you want, and also being willing to compromise.

  • Why negotiate?
    • Most companies and firms expect negotiations when they make the offer
    • Future raises are based on your starting salary
    • We tend to find employers have a more favorable impression of employees who negotiate (assuming their approach was professional)
    • Lifetime earnings are significantly higher for those who negotiate

  • Before negotiating
    • Before negotiating, you need to know…
    • Company ranges/equity issues
    • The lowest offer you will accept
    • Detailed description of your responsibilities
    • Other information such as benefits, who will evaluate you, what training opportunities are available, and what promotion opportunities are like
    • The value you will add – what makes you worth more money?
    • How to anticipate their objections (e.g., not enough experience, internal equity issues, budget issues)

    • Have the right attitude and perspective 
    • Remember, they are interested in you
    • Be confident in your abilities
    • Be determined…don’t give up too easily
    • Stay relaxed, go slowly
    • Try not to show fear or nervousness when negotiating 

  • When is the right time?
    • If I really want the job, I should bring up the subject of salary during the interview.  

    False.  (Always wait until there is an offer or they bring it up first)

    • If the employer brings up the subject of salary during the interview or asks me to address the issue in my cover letter, it’s okay to not answer directly.  
    True.  (The Career Center suggests that you wait until there is a job offer and you know all the details of the salary; i.e., benefits, bonuses, vacation, sick leave)

    • If they ask during an interview what my last/current salary is, it is better not to give a specific figure. 
    True. (The Career Center suggests trying to stick with a range, normally within $5K - $10K)

  • Additional benefit items to negotiate
    • Paid time off (vacation / personal and sick leave)
    • Professional development / conferences
    • Flexible schedules / work from home
    • Review and raise / merit increase in 3-6 (or 12) months 
    • Relocation costs
    • Parking costs
    • Signing bonus
    • Graduate or professional school tuition reimbursement 

  • Benefit questions to ask
    • How much does the employee contribute to listed benefits (i.e., medical expenses, co-pays, deductibles, parking)?
    • Can benefit costs be deducted from my paycheck?
    • Is there a time delay before receiving benefits?
    • What medical providers are available and covered under medical, dental, vision and other plans?  
    • What medicines/medical services are not covered under medical plans?
    • For internships or co-ops, are any benefits provided?
    • What is the company’s/organization’s rate of hiring interns as part-time or full-time employees? 
    • Does the employer offer financial assistance with relocation expenses or annual cost of living increases? 
    • How does the employer assist and contribute to employee’s professional development opportunities? 

  • Salary and Benefit Resources - helps users understand the value of what they do and how they can develop their career to reach their potential. Also includes Salary Wizard™ which highlights national average salaries by location. Salary Search - searches salaries from over 50 million jobs in the past year Company Salaries - free company salaries, bonuses, and total pay for 250,000+ companies. All posted anonymously by employees.

    Occupational Outlook Handbook - profiles feature hundreds of occupations and describe what they do, work environment, how to become one, pay, and more.

    CareerOneStop - search salary information for more than 800 different occupations. To start, either search for an occupation by keyword, or select an occupation from the list below.

    National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) Guide to Compensation for Internships and Co-Ops
    sample the latest salary and benefits data for internships and cop-ops by major and industry. 

There are many resources out there to calculate a salary based on a specific industry, location and field of work. The Career Center has researched many sites, and below are some of our suggestions.

If you need additional information about how to calculate a salary, exploring your options, or how to effectively negotiate a salary, please contact a Career Advisor (hyperlink to new contact page).