How to negotiate your salary

Salary negotiation is a skill that those hiring are usually much more adept at than those they hire, so it is important to work out exactly what you want before even going for interview. Your consultant should also be able to add value at this delicate stage.

Received wisdom

Established wisdom is that you should not tell them how much you want during the interviews. Instead, get them to be the first to talk about a figure and see if it matches what you want.
If they’re very insistent about your naming a figure throw it back in their court with a “I’ll consider any reasonable offers/package”.
Ideally, go through the interview process and let them decide they really want you before negotiating hard.
If the offer they eventually make is too low, then use the leverage of your research into industry salaries, your knowledge of your capabilities and your knowledge of your worth to the organisation to move it higher.

Consult your consultant

It is during such tricky negotiations that your recruitment consultant should be able to advise you on what’s possible given their knowledge of the company.

Package not salary

A common mistake that people make is purely to focus on the salary, rather than the overall package. Important extras often include:
  • Pension benefits
  • Private health care
  • Flexible working arrangements
  • Car allowance
  • Bonuses
  • Study days
If you’re close to agreement, ensure you get the full details on the overall package in writing before going back and finalising/negotiating further.
However, only give a definite ‘no’ if you really are prepared to go elsewhere. Otherwise, always leave room for further negotiation.
Whatever is offered should be in writing so that there is no room for misunderstanding further down the line.

Testing the water

The negotiating stance of your intended company could tell you a lot about the organisation and the person who will be managing you. Do they just state a figure, in a ‘take it or leave it’’fashion with no room for manoeuvre, or do they have a huge salary range and try to persuade you into taking a low figure. Perhaps they actually display some degree of integrity when dealing with these delicate matters.
Never forget that once you join the company, the negotiations are at an end and it now time to perform.
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