How to negotiate salary? Summary & Learning from the book “What Color Is Your Parachute”

June 25, 2019

What Color is your Parachute, written by Richard N. Bolles is very popular among job seekers and career changers. With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, this book is one of the best-sellers in the self-help genre. It’s first print was published in 1970, but has been going through multiple revisions with up-to-date information and advice for today’s scenario.

The books covers multiple aspects of career change – start from resume creation, applying for jobs, attending interview, salary negotiation, and also about launching own business. Here in this post, I try to summarize the learning from just one part - How to negotiate salary.


(1) Never discuss salary until the end of the interview!. If you jump straightaway to talk about the salary in the beginning of the interview, there are good chances that you or interviewer may spoil the rest of the discussion. If you learnt that the salary figure in your mind is beyond employer's budget, you won't be interested in continuing the interview.

Sometimes even if you don't want to discuss the salary in the beginning, the employer would ask you about it in the beginning. You just have to figure out a way to postpone the question😊. For example, say as “I will gladly answer that but could you first help me to understand what this job involves” and try to take the control of the interview; start with convincing the employer that he needs you more than you need that job!. (2) The purpose of salary negotiation is to uncover the most that an employer is willing to pay to get you.

If you successfully prove that it’s the company that needs you, the employer may be willing to increase his budget, or at least try his best to cover-up with “other benefits”. Experienced HR’s always say “whoever (you or the employer) mentions a salary figure first, generally loses😊” . (3) So, never be the first one to mention a salary figure!.

What's the maximum that employer is willing to pay? how do you know that the figure the employer mentioned is the maximum or the minimum of the role? So, (4) before you even go to that interview do some homework search for the typical salaries in your field and for your circumstances (like location/city, years of experience, size of the company…etc).

Glassdoor, LinkedIn and many other internet portals are ready to give you all sort of salary comparisons. If you can't find sufficient information in the internet, don't hesitate to go and talk to the people who are/have worked there!. (5) It’s really important to do this research on the particultr employers salary range before you go to the interview.

Last, but not the least! (6)learn to bring the salary negotiation to a close; don't leave it "just hanging.". Even at the last stage of the interview, never tell a fixed amount as your expectation, but rather play with a “range”. For example, if all your research indicate that 50-60K is the range for the particular job you applied. You should indicate your salary expectation as 55K to 65K!. So, that the employer will start their negotiation from 55K (instead from the bottom limit of 50K).

You don’t need to close the negotiation right up there in the meeting room. Just tell your expectations and give them a hint as your open for other benefits to compensate. If you’ve successfully persuaded, the employer may be willing to increase the budget, or at least try their best to cover-up with “other benefits”.

After all, once you’ve joined a new company, your salary usually don’t increase that fast. So it’s important to successfully negotiate and settle with a better salary from the beginning.

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  1. very interesting topic! now during this era our salary scale is very less as we compare the work and time but money is the basic need of living that's why people said "something is better then nothing".

  2. very interesting topic! now during this era our salary scale is very less as we compare the work and time but money is the basic need of living that's why people said "something is better then nothing".

  3. Not something I would choose to read but glad you have introduced the book to me.

  4. Great review, thank you so much for sharing your awesome post.

  5. I’ve never heard of this one but I see how it could be useful

  6. Cool info - jump in there with both hands but I have to say - retirement is sweeeeeet!

  7. I work in career services so I love this post!

  8. With six adult children this would be a great book to give to each of them.