Negotiating a salary can be a daunting prospect, especially in a post-pandemic world filled with economic uncertainty. However, if you have the skillset and experience desired for the role, there’s no reason not to be in a confident position as businesses still face competition for good candidates. It always pays to prepare your case for a salary negotiation as most employers expect it and are willing to have an open conversation at the offer stage.

These tips will help navigate your salary negotiations and secure yourself a competitive package.


Research industry trends

It always pays to know the industry average for your role, level, and geographical area. That way you’ll be able to benchmark what you’re after against what’s realistic to ask for and have the evidence to back it up if challenged. It’s a natural part of the process to come up against resistance so if you’re prepared then you’ll be able to have a level-headed conversation with your new employer.

Understand your value

Is your skillset something that’s sought after in the market? Try and find out by speaking to contacts, recruiters and researching online. If so, you’ll have more negotiating power which you can use to spell out the direct benefits that you will bring to the role and where this may equate to efficiencies: balance the uptick in salary against this figure. It’s always better to have a range in mind, which allows for a more flexible conversation.

Practise having the conversation beforehand to pre-empt challenges

Practise your opening gambit in front of a mirror, or better still with a friend or family member beforehand. Not only will you see and hear how you’re coming across, but you can pre-empt questions or challenges from the hiring manager and make sure you have good responses prepared.

Think outside the box

It’s not always easy – or possible – for a hiring manager to get sign-off on more money if they’ve been given a set budget for the role, but if you come up against this kind of pushback have a think about whether there are more creative ways of increasing your level of compensation. Flexible working, stretch targets, additional days’ leave, insurance coverage, corporate discount on health clubs, etc can all make a difference to your bottom line each month.

Be reasonable in the negotiation process

Understand that if you go in with a certain number, say 10%, it will most likely be whittled down to something in the middle, such as 5%. If you want the job, you must be prepared to meet in the middle. Walking away from a job offer on the basis that the employer won’t hit your original figure is a risk and may not guarantee you a revised offer.

Enjoy the silence

Remembering to pause after the other person has spoken can be a powerful tool. Usually, the fact that it’s uncomfortable works in the favour of the employer but taking in what they have said and pausing for a few moments will tell you if they’re going in too low as this gives them the space to fill the silence with either a bunch of justifications (which can be challenged) or a higher figure.

Stay positive

You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with a new employer by stubbornly refusing to accept an increase that’s smaller than you’d hoped, or a package of benefits when you’d rather have the money. Remember that you’ll likely be reporting into this person and want to have them onside. No matter what the outcome, be gracious, appreciative, and thankful for the opportunity.

Allow yourself a period of time to think

It’s perfectly acceptable to ask for 24 – 48 hours to mull over a final offer and this may give you the headspace to come up with a creative counteroffer, showing the hiring manager that you’re still invested in the role.

Get it in writing

If you’ve verbally negotiated a compensation package, make sure you ask for it in writing so that you can leverage it in your performance reviews, especially if there were stretch goals or conditions within the terms.

Know when to quit!

Finally, know when to back down if you sense that the hiring manager is becoming frustrated, none of the above methods have worked but you still really want the job. You may choose to walk away or concede at the lower salary, but you should have a good feel within the first conversation whether you are likely to end up here and therefore can focus your energy on finding a role that does meet your needs.

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Dave Rose

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