How to Negotiate a Better Salary

  | James Innes

Salary Negotiation

Salary negotiations are often entered into when you are applying for a new job, and can be one of the most difficult stages of the interview process. However, if you make sure that you are fully prepared to deal with the salary question, you should be able to ensure that the negotiations are successfully concluded.

Market Research

The first step is to research the kind of salary usually paid for the type of position that you are applying for. This ensures that your salary expectations are realistic and that the offer that you eventually accept is in line with current market levels. However, you must also bear in mind how much you need to earn in order to support yourself and your family.

Negotiating for a new job

As a general rule, the interviewer should be the one to broach the subject of salary and, although they should dictate when the question is asked, you should make sure that you have a full understanding of what the job entails before reaching an agreement. Indeed, it is often advisable to avoid salary negotiations altogether until a formal job offer has been received. Make sure that the interviewer is fully aware of your particular skills and experiences and that you detail exactly how you intend to add value to the role.

Once the interviewer has made their offer, find out what else is included in the package. Bonus payments, share options, staff discounts and training opportunities can make a relatively low basic salary seem much more attractive.

It will make the salary negotiations proceed much more smoothly if the atmosphere is a friendly one. Try not to let the discussions become at all heated, and demonstrate to the interviewer that you are willing to work with them to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.

Considering the offer

Make sure that you give a salary offer due consideration before accepting or declining it. If you believe that the salary offer is too low, let the interviewer know that this is the reason why you want to take some time to think about it. They will often give you an indication as to whether or not there is any degree of flexibility in their offer. If you do decide to accept the offer, make sure that the full details are confirmed in writing. If, however, you choose to reject an offer, try to do this in a professional and friendly manner. Just because this particular offer was not acceptable, this does not necessarily mean that you may not consider employment with them in the future.

Negotiating within your current job

Sometimes, you may feel that your current job should command a higher salary and that the time is right for you to negotiate a pay rise. If so, similar basic rules apply as in the previously discussed interview scenario, including researching the market to get a realistic idea of the salary you should expect and also ensuring once again that your employer realises the value you are bringing to the role.

When you decide to bring up the issue of a salary increase, schedule an official appointment rather than just casually slipping it into the conversation. In the meeting, concentrate on why you think your performance warrants a pay increase, instead of simply comparing your salary with the salary of your colleagues.

It is also a good idea to consider an offer of additional perks and benefits rather than an actual salary rise and of course be careful not to react badly if your request is refused for the time being. Make sure you continue to perform well and perhaps even ask for advice as to how you might secure a pay rise at the next salary review.

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