For tech professionals, understanding how to effectively negotiate salary and evaluate compensation packages is crucial in today’s competitive job market. Getting the details right can have a major impact on your career trajectory and earnings potential. Here are some essential do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.  

Do know your market value

Prior to an initial interview,  research the average salary for your position and industry. Utilize resources like Glassdoor, Payscale,, and BridgeView’s Salary Guide, to gather necessary data to make an informed decision. 

Do ask for the salary range 

With pay transparency laws advancing rapidly, many companies must disclose the salary range in their job postings. Understanding this range from the start helps you effectively position your desired salary. Regions like California, Colorado, and New York have such requirements, with Maryland poised to join them. 

Do leverage recruiters 

Recruiters, especially from reputable agencies, generally have a strong grasp of salary landscapes in their specialized fields. Cultivating relationships with them can be beneficial as they provide insights into salary trends and guidance on contract work pay rates. Remember, my team at BridgeView is always available for a chat. 

Do know your walkaway number 

Be prepared to decline a job offer if the salary doesn’t meet the minimum pre-determined expectation. Don’t settle. While this is not easy to do, it’s better to pass than accept a salary that won’t cover your basic financial needs comfortably. 

Don’t be overly aggressive  

While it’s crucial to know and communicate your desired salary, overly aggressive demands can price you out of consideration. Aim for a salary at or slightly above the top end of the range if appropriate. If the salary your are seeking is well above the stated salary range, the role might not be suitable for you. 

Don’t over negotiate 

While there is a lot of advice about how to negotiate your salary, or why you should never accept the first job offer, the reality is this doesn’t often occur. Over-negotiating can be a turn-off for employers. If you’re clear and upfront about your salary needs from the beginning, you’re likely to receive an offer that matches your expectations without further negotiation.  If the offer is lower than discussed, then it’s advisable to politely ask for the amount you originally requested.  

Don’t disclose current/past salaries if not required 

You are no longer required to disclose your current or past salary in many places due to salary history bans. Keeping this information private is your right, with 17 states and various localities enforcing such bans. 

Don’t focus just on the base salary  

Make sure you consider the entire compensation package including healthcare, retirement plans, vacation time, PTO, stock options, and profit sharing. If you’re considering a position with your dream company, flexibility on the base salary might be worth it, especially if other benefits are attractive. Always ask about salary review policies to understand potential future earnings adjustments. 

 Negotiating salary can be a delicate process, but one where being an informed and savvy tech professional pays off. Do your homework, know your value, understand the entire compensation picture, and approach conversations with reasonable expectations. Following these strategies will ensure you land not just any offer, but the right opportunity at the right pay. 

Written: May 2024