What to Say When Negotiating Salary (Words and Phrases to Use)

You’ve done it; you’re being considered for the position of your dreams. So far, so good. But what about salary? For many people, the salary offered is accepted with gratitude. However, what if the salary offered is short of what is expected for your position. After all, companies usually state an initial salary that is on the lower end of the spectrum for your position.

If you decide to take it, congratulations, you’re off on your new career path. However, what if you do wish to request higher pay. If such is the case, it’s time to learn just what to say and not to say in the negotiation.

Before You Begin

Before we delve into just what words or phrases to use when speaking directly to an interviewer or human resources representative, it’s a good idea to start with just what an individual makes in your chosen field, in your city. One of the best places to start is to search the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Do a search for your career, and take a look at the details. There, you’ll be able to see specifics such as how much someone with your experience makes in your location.

Compile these numbers to get a feel of what you should be asking for. Also, remember to factor in your experience. This is a statement of your worth to the company, your market value. For instance, someone with your same years of experience and skills might not have taught a seminar, grabbed up some continuing education units, or performed volunteer work in your field. All of these variables increase your value to the company, and hence, can net you a larger salary.

Words and Phrases to Include When Negotiating a Salary

When it comes to negotiating your salary, you want to keep the entire conversation positive. Center on what you can offer the company, never on what the company should do for you. A good way to illustrate this to the interviewer when negotiating a salary is to show them that you are aware and understand the company’s mission statement.

Phrases to Include

  • I’m excited about the prospect of joining your accounting team.
  • Based on my research into the current salaries for junior accountants in Atlanta…
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the market value for someone with my years and skill set is…
  • Based on my 10 years of on-hands experience in the field, plus 3 years teaching along with keeping up with my skills via furthering my education…
  • I am comfortable with this offer, thank you
  • I’d like to discuss some details
  • Thank you for taking the time to discuss this
  • I’m very happy with the prospect of joining your team
  • After researching the position
  • I’d like to thank you for your interest
  • I would like to take this opportunity

Words to Include

Don’t forget to include certain “Buzz” words during your negotiation. Consider buzz words as part of the corporate culture vocabulary.

  • Market value
  • Value
  • Research
  • Respect
  • Opportunity
  • Skills or skill set
  • Goals
  • Flexible
  • Initiative
  • Success
  • Commitment
  • Excellence
  • Mission statement

Putting it all Together

Hello Mr. Stanton, it’s so good to see you again. First of all, I’d like to thank you for your interest in hiring me. I’m very excited about the prospect of joining your team. However, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss the initial salary amount offered. After researching the position using the data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for this position and location, as well as factoring in the current market value with my experience and skillsets, I believe that a salary of $58,000 would be more in tune for this position. In conclusion, ACME’s mission statement to encourage the career paths of our colleagues, creativity, clients, and our profession as a whole illustrates their commitment to excellence, the worker, industry and community, makes me proud to be considered for the position. Thank you for your consideration.

Words and Phrases to Avoid When Negotiating a Salary

While there are words and phrases to use in negotiating a salary, it’s only fair to include some you should not include. Below are some examples to help give you a better idea. After going over the list, you might realize that while it’s good to be confident, it’s an absolute turn-off to be full of yourself.

  • I’m a better employee than others in my pay grade
  • If you employ me, I’ll outshine everyone in the department
  • Once I’m hired, I’m yours. Whatever you want, I’ll do
  • I consider myself worth much more than that
  • Your offer does not live up to my expectations, I’m worth more than that
  • If you don’t hire me, you’ll regret it
  • I want…

Practice Makes Perfect

Once you know what the average person makes in your field and location, along with your value as an employee, it’s time to practice. Ideally, you would get together with a friend of family member who will play the part of the interviewer, allowing you to practice the phrases/words out loud. If you don’t have this option, then simply talk it out in front of a mirror. After all, you wish to appear confident and collected, not a bundle of nerves suffering from stage fright. If you’ve a voice recorder, use it. A voice recorder can give you immediate feedback of how you really sound, rather than how you think you sound.

Salary Negotiation Scripts

No article regarding salary negotiations would be complete without the mention of salary negotiation scripts. These are scripts that allow you to role play with another individual. What’s great about these scripts is that they come complete with just what you should say in certain situations. Glassdoor gives a fine example of a general script that they claim could work for any position here (https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/salary-negotiation-scripts-for-any-job/). To truly increase your chances, ask if you can have someone take a video of the script playing out. This way, you can check your posture, composure, and confidence. Thus, increasing your chances of success during the negotiation.


There you have it, an introduction to the basics of salary negotiation. While we’ve covered the fundamentals, don’t stop researching. There is much to the art of salary negotiation, so use this article as a springboard to help propel you. With a basic knowledge of how to do research, knowing your own value, knowing the market value, words, phrases, along with scripts, you should be well on your way to securing a better-paying offer in no time!