Top Tips on How to Negotiate Your Salary

During the job interview process, salary negotiations can feel daunting to bring up. According to a recent survey by Indeed, 58% of respondents have never or rarely negotiated on their salary. In another survey, 70% of managers are actually expecting candidates to mention this. It’s important to have this discussion as this can affect your earning potential throughout your career journey.

Salary negotiations can be done after you’ve received the offer from the company, but not during the earlier part of the interview process. You need to prove to the hiring manager first that you’re the best person for the job. You’ll use that as your leverage when the time comes for you to negotiate on the salary. Once you’ve agreed upon the negotiated offer, avoid going back to the employer to reconsider. This shows respect for their time and for the boundaries on what is acceptable for you.

When the subject of salary comes up during your job interview, here are some tips to help you prepare with your negotiations for your pay if you feel that you deserve better compensation.

1. Assess what you can offer to the company

Before you negotiate your salary, you should know first what value can you bring to the employer. Consider these factors that can impact your salary: cost of living in your location (including transportation cost and other job-related expenses), your years of work and leadership experience, your education level, your career level, your skills, qualifications and accreditations/licenses/certifications. These can guide you on how you can justify the salary that you want.

2. Know the market average of your salary

Research the salary range for the position that you’re applying for, considering the responsibilities that go with the job role. This will give you a good perspective on how much you can negotiate for your desired salary. Here are some guide questions when you do your research: What would be the national average salary for this position? What would be the average salary within or approximately near your location? How much are other companies paying for their employees with the same position?

3. Be ready with your talking points

Preparing your negotiation talking points will help you to discuss your intention with clarity and direction. This will also save time for you and the hiring manager during the interview process. Frame your conversation to answer the question, “Why do I deserve a higher salary than what is being offered?” Take into consideration the information you have about your experience and qualifications plus the research you’ve done about the salary ranges and benefits in your desired job role. Be specific with the most positive results that will show your value to justify your salary request.

4. Set a meeting to negotiate

If you’ve requested the hiring manager that you’ll get back to them on their offer, don’t forget to schedule a separate time for salary negotiations as soon as possible. Whilst it’s all right to discuss this via email, it’s highly recommended to talk about this over the phone or through an online or face-to-face meeting. Be respectful, clear, and express your gratitude for taking the time to discuss this matter. Remember, the hiring manager will bring up your salary request to the company’s decision-makers.

Top Tips on How to Negotiate Your Salary

5. Back it up with confidence

Negotiating for your salary means you should be confident enough to explain your reasons and justify them with your skills, accomplishments, and your research about the salary range. Practise your negotiation spiel with a friend or trusted colleague and ask for feedback. Discussing salaries can be nerve-wracking so practising will help you feel more comfortable when the time comes. Don’t overexplain or apologise. This shows a lack of confidence to support your own salary request which won’t work in your favour.

6. Ask for the highest number in your salary range

When negotiating for your salary, mention to the hiring manager a number that’s slightly higher than your target but still within the range of the industry rates that you researched on. If the employer decides to negotiate downwards, it’s still possible for you to attain the salary that is acceptable to you even if it’s at the lower end of the salary range that you desire.

7. Expect questions from the employer and ask them in return

Naturally, the hiring manager or recruiter will ask more details during the negotiation and your motivation behind your salary request so be prepared to answer them. “Will you accept the job immediately if we agree with your salary request?” “Are we your top choice in your applications?” “Are there offers from other companies as well?” These questions can be nerve-wracking but it’s important to stay level-headed and answer them honestly.

If they seem hesitant or if they don’t agree with your desired salary, you can still continue the negotiations by asking them questions such as, “What is the basis of the budget for this job role?” “Are there other options or benefits that we can negotiate on aside from salary?” “Is there any information required from me to arrive at a decision on this matter?

8. Adapt and adjust to other forms of compensation

If the employer can’t meet your desired salary, they might offer other options instead that are open for negotiation. Perhaps you can request for stock options, additional vacation leaves, or a more flexible work schedule to manage transportation costs. So it’s best to prepare yourself with other negotiable alternatives that you and the employer can work with.

9. If nothing works out, it’s OK to walk away

At this point, you have to weigh your options on whether it’s still worth pursuing the position. Are you willing to accept a lower salary if the job is not as stressful as your previous work or if it gives you more free time? But if this is not acceptable to you, then perhaps it’ll be more favourable for you to look for better opportunities elsewhere instead.

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