Salary Negotiation

Salary negotiation. Negotiating your compensation package against a role where the salary information is unavailable can be challenging, however, being a confident negotiator is usually an admired quality amongst applicants.


It’s been said that individuals who attempt to constructively negotiate their earnings are looked upon more positively than those that do not. This is largely due to the fact that they’re seen to demonstrate some of the key qualities and capabilities most organisations look for in a new hire; negotiation skills.


Salary negotiation without taking into account numerous important variables can spell disaster for any job seekers prospects. A recent study showed that about one-fifth of candidates had never negotiated their salary. It is for this reason that numerous job applicants tend to accept the very first offer, preferring to defer the talk of a wage increase till they well entrenched in the role, when at this point its often too late. The issue here is, when you do not negotiate because of fear, you create a precedent which could hamper your career moving forward.


This article aims to provide a detailed guide on how to learn the subtle art of salary negotiation and how to apply it during all facets of the job search process.

It’s important to understand your value.


For you to have the salary you believe you deserve, it’s pertinent that you have a thorough understanding of your industry’s average. You can utilise compensation websites which enable you to evaluate salary ranges and averages for similar roles in your chosen industry, sites like Glassdoor, or Indeed. You could also enlist the knowledge of recruiters, as they’re better placed to help you determine a genuine appraisal of the value you hold to a prospective employer. Quite often large recruitment organisations publish salary guides for that year, they’re usually quite easy to find with a quick Google search.

Once your interview has been scheduled, attempt to find out as much information about the organisation as possible. It is at this point you should begin researching salaries and comparing to industry averages.


Take the time to understand and carefully consider the benefits the organisation offers. Organisations usually bulk up their offering with what’s referred to as their ‘Employee Value Proposition’. Certain benefits when added to the salary can add up to a sizeable remuneration figure, however, it makes no sense to factor in things such as a parking space or gym/spa membership if you’re unlikely to use them, you should be willing to inform your interviewer of your inability to use certain benefits. This could help with the conversation when attempting to discuss slight increases on the basic salary.


The moment you have established your market value range, it can be tempting to select a figure that lies in the middle of that range, however, that would be erroneous.


Your prospective employer tends to begin negotiating with a much lower amount than they are willing to pay, so you must leave yourself a bit of room. Another important aspect to take into account, is precision. Be precise with how much you want. For example, if you desire $50,000, ask for $49,800. This precision lets an employer know that you have taken the time to research. It does not matter if the amount seems excessive, always be precise.


Avoid saying things like “I’m looking for around”, as this quickly highlights to the employer that you’re likely to accept lesser than the figure you’re about to mention.

How you walk into an interview room makes a powerful impression. This is why it is important to be confident. Ensure your head is held high, sustain eye contact, and of course, smile. When you believe in yourself, you inspire those around you to do the same and that always works in your favour.


This might seem contrary to the crux of this article, but there is a reason for that.


If you are completely focused on the money, you are bound to become distracted, and your interviewer will be able to pick up on it. Your salary shouldn’t be the first thing on your mind unless it is brought up by the interviewer. You should instead concentrate on the reasons why you believe you would be a great match and continually emphasise the skills you bring to the organisation, regardless of compensation.


Only when the interviewer has witnessed your charm and skills first-hand should you begin discussing remuneration. Typically, the interviewer asks “what would it take to bring you onboard?” this is when the salary negotiation process begins. Never be the first person to bring up salary.

This company wants to hire you, so it is only right you delve deeper into the company’s priorities and preferences. If you show that your interested in knowing how your skills can support them achieve their mission, you are more likely to receive a positive response to a higher starting salary suggestion.


Personal needs

You would actually be surprised as to how many applicants mention new developments in their personal situation, thinking that it will positively influence the salary offered; it wont. Be sure to keep it business professional.

Once you get the offer, have no reaction.


Whether the offer is beyond or below your expectations, you should resist the urge to quickly accept, or show too much excitement. What you should do instead, is to keep a poker face and let a few seconds pass while you consider the offer, typically its best to ask for a day or so to consider, before going back with a response.


Keeping quiet after getting an offer is difficult, however, that difficulty has an effect on how the organisation will respond to any requests further down the line. A few days can increase the success of your counter-offer.


You don’t need to make a decision right there

Taking a couple of days to mull the offer over has the same effect as taking some seconds. Ask your interviewer if you can get back to them with your answer.


This strategy improves the chance of you getting a higher offer, as its usually unsettling for prospective employers. By the time your initial offer is extended there would have been various conversations, comparisons and approvals. Remember that from all of the candidates they have seen, they now feel you are the best of them all. Be sure to remember that the ball is now firmly in your court, and they have committed their hand by offering you the role.


Have a minimum offer

Prior to the interview, you should pick the lowest amount you are comfortable with and be prepared to leave the negotiation if you don’t get that offer. When selecting this number, it is better to be realistic as accepting a role that comes with a discriminating offer can not only set you back in your career but also cause long-term resentment and potential underperformance.

Negotiating a salary can be seen as one of the most daunting aspects of the job interview. However, with the tips provided above, it should be much easier for you to understand your value and request it.


Key takeaways from this is that you have to research what your skills are worth, what the company tends to pay for your skills, and how to effectively project that you will be a worthy asset to the company.


If in doubt, never accept the first offer. If they come back saying that what they have offered you is the maximum they’re able to pay for the role, it’s at this point where you should be prepared to accept, or simply walk away.

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