how to negotiate salary over the phone

This interview illustrates how to negotiate salary over the phone. She was able to get a $10k salary increase following a simple negotiating script over the phone.

To successfully negotiate salary over the phone, have a relationship established from the interview, state your target salary clearly, politely resist push-back, and ideally come from a position of strength by having an alternative to a negotiated agreement. This could mean having a second offer in-hand or you are comfortable with their original salary offer.


Salary negotiation tips for over the phone


In the interview below, an engineer in financial services came prepared to negotiate a higher starting salary. Negotiating over the phone turned out to be the only way per the situation. She was confident and prepared to ask for more.

One phone call ended up increasing her starting salary $10k. Read on for salary negotiation tips by phone.


Title: Engineer, Financial Services

Location: New York, NY

Original Fee: $80k

Negotiated Fee: $90k

My mom taught me from a young age that you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate for.

What was the situation when you decided to negotiate your salary?


I was finishing my senior year of college and studying computer science. I knew that I wanted to move to New York when I graduated, but I cast my job search net wide and focused on a few different cities so I’d have a backup. I focused my job search primarily through campus recruiting, as there were a lot of opportunities for engineers.

When I finished recruiting I had two job offers: one for a company in Virginia and one for a company in New York City. Surprisingly, the company in New York was offering $80k while the company in Virginia was offering $88k. I knew that the cost of living between these two places was significant and that if I was going to move to New York, I should be making more.

I also had the benefit of having a close friend a year older than me who had graduated with the same degree and gone to work in the same field (though at a larger company with a bigger budget). His initial offer was $120k and he was able to negotiate to $130k.

Having two offers and knowing that my friend negotiated his starting offer helped me to see that I could and should negotiate.


How did you end up negotiating over the phone?


I really wanted the job in NY but I needed to negotiate the offer. I emailed the recruiter and asked if she had time to discuss the offer.

She emailed me back almost immediately and asked if we could hop on the phone for a quick chat.

I had just a few minutes to pull together what I wanted to say and give myself a little pep talk.


What was your script for negotiating your salary over the phone?


When we got on the phone I reiterated my excitement in the job and the team I’d be working for. I’d spent quite a bit of time talking with the VP of the group and felt like we had a good rapport. I was excited to work for him and be a part of the upcoming projects.


Negotiating over the phone script

Then I moved on and said, “I have another offer that’s higher than what you’re currently offering. And while I’d love to work for you, I also want to make sure that I’m making what I should be. My other offer is for $88k. Would you be able to at least match this?”

Immediately she tried to reject my request. She replied that they don’t negotiate offers and that they made the best offer that they could make. In fact, she told me they had another new hire from MIT who would be starting with me who was also going to make $80k.

Clearly, she wanted me to back down, accept the offer, and move on. But having another offer to lean on made me feel really confident about taking my time. I replied that if that was the case and they really couldn’t budge on salary at all, I’d need a while to think about it.

After I said that and she realized that I wasn’t going to immediately take the offer, her tone changed. She conceded that she’d have to talk with the VP and take a look at the budget, but perhaps they’d be able to adjust the offer a bit. We left the call on that note.


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How did the negotiation phone call end up?


A few days later he called back and said they were revising my offer to $90k. Would I be willing to accept the position with that offer?

I eagerly accepted and was thrilled that I’d managed to negotiate my starting salary up by $10k.


What advice do you have for other women?


I learned a lot as a child from watching my Mom negotiate, whether it was negotiating a price in a market or other various situations. She doesn’t shy away from hearing ‘no’ and she never takes the first answer to be the final answer.

She taught me from a young age that you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate for.

Need to a little help with your negotiating prowess?


On The Worth Project, I love to interview career professionals on how they negotiated for what they wanted. I get inspired by their personal stories.

Did you know that negotiating your salary one time can add over a million dollars to your earnings over the course of your career?

That’s kind of a big deal. And so is the confidence you get from knowing that you can ask for and get what you want and need in your career.

When I learned that negotiating your salary one time can add so much money, but also control over your life, it was the push I needed to put the learnings from these interviews, my personal experience, and research into a course.

Not Your Father’s Negotiation Course gives you the practical information you need in order to persuasively make that ask. We’re not talking negotiation theory that works in a classroom but not in an office. This is a simple framework that gives you the confidence to use your own voice and get what you need: research. prep. ask.


Photo by Alexandru Zdrobău on Unsplash

Erica Gellerman, CPA

Erica Gellerman Bio The Worth Project

Erica Gellerman is a CPA, MBA, personal finance writer, and founder of The Worth Project: a weekly money newsletter you actually want to read. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Money, Business Insider, The Everygirl, The Everymom, and Lifehacker. When she’s not writing about personal finance you can find Erica exploring Europe from her temporary home base in London.

Don’t stumble

through another awkward conversation.

Negotiate for more money, flexibility, or different opportunities.


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job negotiation over the phone

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