My son recently went on his first job interview at a nearby pizza shop. He came home beaming because he was offered the job. I asked him what his compensation would be and he told me his hourly rate. Then I asked, “Is that the rate you negotiated?” He looked puzzled because he never considered negotiating his pay.

Now given the fact that he is inexperienced, I doubt there was much room for negotiation. However, the more you understand your value, the more power you have to negotiate.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share part two of our week-long employment series. Today, we’re sharing key strategies for salary negotiation from Patrick McHargue, director of talent for PromoPlacement, a staffing services agency for the promotional products industry.

Whether making a new hire or landing a new job, you’re going to be involved in salary negotiations throughout your career. Most professionals dread salary negotiations and end up missing out on gains by rushing through the process as quickly as possible. Follow these best practices and you’ll be able to negotiate from a position as power and get the compensation that you deserve.

Set Your Limits. Much like setting a gambling limit when entering a casino, set your salary limit prior to entering a negotiation. Decide early in the job interview process what is the bottom-line figure you are willing to accept for the job. The reason for deciding on a bottom-line figure early on is that once you’re in the negotiation process your emotions will take control. Stick to the figure you laid out and don’t settle for less.

Don’t Share Everything. Information is one of the most valuable assets in any negotiation. Don’t share details on the following types of questions unless you absolutely have to. Why are you looking to leave your current firm? Are you interviewing with any other companies? Interviewers will ask these and other questions to help the hiring company understand what other options you have. The fewer options you have, the lower the offer you will receive.

In any salary negotiation, the person who gives a number first loses. Ok, this is a bit of an exaggeration, but putting a number out there first does put the other party in a position of power. Wait until the other party is ready to start talking figures. Once they do, make a strong counter-offer. Never accept a first offer.

Sell/Provide Value. You are your only advocate in a salary negotiation with an employer. If you’ve reached the negotiation phase in the hiring process, the company has invested time and thought. They want you on their team, but they want you on the team at their price. You need to sell yourself and the value that you can provide to the employer on Day One if you’re going to get an increased offer. Now is the time to brag and “toot your own horn”. If you don’t do it, no one will.

Don’t Take It Personally. During the interview process everyone is best friends. Both parties are polite, accommodating and very respectful. Then the offer time comes and the mood shifts. Everyone still likes each other, but now we are talking money, budgets and expectations. Don’t be shocked when the tone of the conversation changes. It’s nothing personal, it’s just business. If you get a low offer, don’t be shocked. They like you and want you on their team. Stick to business and make a counter-offer.

Successful salary negotiation is all about getting into the proper mindset. Recognize that the job interview process has entered a new phase—a phase in which money is the only thing keeping you and your new employer apart. Set your limit prior to negotiating, know what to share and what to keep private, sell your value, don’t take things personally and you’ll do great.

Source: Patrick McHargue is the director of talent at PromoPlacement, an industry search and placement firm. He grew up in the promotional product industry, earned an MBA in international business, and managed a $35 million sales territory before focusing on the development of tools and services to benefit the promotional product industry.