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Negotiating your salary after being offered a job can be tricky. On the one hand, you may feel hesitant to raise an issue with your prospective employer in case it affects your chances of landing the job. On the other hand, your salary expectations may not match the remuneration package you are being offered.
So how can you successfully negotiate your salary? When is the best time to do so? How do you make your case? If you are mind is being flooded with these questions, don’t worry; we are here to equip you with the necessary information and knowledge that will allow you to negotiate your income respectfully and effectively.
Why you should negotiate your salary
When a company makes a remuneration offer, job seekers tend to avoid contesting the proposition with a counter salary amount. You might be eager to get the job but knowing your worth as a professional and acknowledging a suboptimal pay from the start is essential.
Another important reason to negotiate your salary is that companies often expect their applicants to do so. You should not be afraid to ask for a salary that aligns with your average market value.
Moreover, it’s important that you feel catered to and comfortable in your new position. That can’t happen if you don’t feel like you’re being paid what you’re worth.
Remember, job offers are rarely withdrawn because a person tried to negotiate a higher salary. As long as the company is open to negotiation, you have got nothing to lose.
When to negotiate your salary
Some job seekers make the mistake of starting the salary negotiation during their interview and come off as impatient and hasty.
Rushing into negotiations can leave a bad first impression on the hiring managers. It could also indicate that you care more about the monetary compensation you will be receiving rather than working for the company and helping it reach its goals.
Timing is everything and knowing when to initiate this discussion is crucial. The best time to do this is after you have been chosen for the job and the employer has presented you with an offer. Before that time, all you can do is research the company and familiarise yourself with the average pay rate for your role and level of expertise.
How to negotiate your salary
The following are tips you should employ when negotiating your salary prospects.
1. Do your research
To start your negotiation on firm ground, it will be in your best interest to find out the salary range for workers in your desired occupation and environment. You can begin your search by visiting sites such as Glassdoor to research the typical salary range for your field.
You may also want to have an informed insight into the company’s salary structure by connecting with current staff and having brief discussions with them. That way, you have real-life data to work with when planning your negotiation.
2. Evaluate the offer
Before accepting a job offer, you must understand what the job entails and how it relates to your career goals.
A decent job offer should include a fair salary, good employee perks, and a guarantee for professional growth opportunities.
A few other factors include:
- Where you will be working at
- Having the option for remote working
- Being entitled to a good company pension scheme
- Being granted relocation assistance
- Opportunities for professional development and training.
The above considerations will help you evaluate the job offer and decide if it is a good fit or not.
Remember: a high salary isn’t everything – there are also other important aspects you should look for when evaluating a new job opportunity.
3. Show your worth
When negotiating a higher salary, you don’t want to come across as entitled. You have to prove your worth by stating your achievements in your past undertakings and what you can bring to this role.
Having certain qualifications and industry training could also mean you are eligible for the higher end of the salary spectrum in your industry.
You must highlight how you can be an asset to the company if you join their team.
4. Ask questions
During the negotiation process (and during your interview), it’s important to ask a few questions to help you support your case.
For example, enquire about the company’s priorities and ask about the major challenges it is trying to find a solution to. Moreover, you may also want to ask what the company’s budget for your position is.
The answers to these questions will allow you to show your worth when negotiating and align yourself with the company’s goals.
5. Ask for the top of your range
When you counter a salary offer, you should raise the bar a bit higher than your salary goal.
Just make sure to be realistic with the salary amount you ask for – even if you plan on bringing it down afterwards. For instance, if you are offered a $3,000 per month job, and you are aiming for $3,900, ask for $4,500. This will give you some wiggle room to negotiate the amount down to what you desire.
6. Be professional
The last thing you want to do is make a bad impression on your prospective employer. Even if the hiring manager is not ready to succumb and agree to your salary requirements, you must remain calm and professional throughout the conversation.
Reason with them in a polite manner and avoid making any negative or rude remarks. Even if you cannot reach an agreement and decide that you will not accept the offer, you should still maintain a professional front and thank them for the opportunity when turning them down.
7. Consider other options
Even if you are unable to negotiate a higher remuneration package, you should consider other valuable benefits that may be on offer with that company. While the salary may not be as high, the company perks and the career growth opportunities could offset the former.
You could also negotiate other aspects of the job like the number of workdays, flexible work hours, overtime payments, remote work options, and so on. As already mentioned, your salary isn’t the only thing that a company has to offer – so try to be flexible and consider these other aspects before turning the job down.
Prepare a start-to-finish plan on how you will approach this discussion. Having a few key points that you want to make and practising how to present them to the employer will help you have a more constructive conversation.
If you are nervous, you can get a friend to help you rehearse. He will offer you the salary and practise countering the offer. By doing this, you will know which parts need to be revised and improved.
9. Get it in writing
After the negotiations, be sure to get confirmation of the agreed-upon salary and any other additional benefits in writing. Don’t consider verbal confirmation as binding for the company.
So, to avoid any misunderstanding, request a newly written job offer that includes all your agreed terms with the employer. This way, you will ensure that all your rights and privileges are guaranteed.
10. Know when to walk away
If you’ve tried to reach a compromise with the hiring manager, but they are still not yielding, it may be time to back out.
While you should have realistic salary expectations, you must also recognise when a company is not valuing your skills and expertise.
If the company is unwilling to try and find a middle ground with you, either through a higher salary or other benefits, then this could indicate that the company is not a match to your career aims and professional goals.
Salary negotiation examples
When drafting your salary negotiation, it’s always good to follow a template – whether it’s for an email, phone or face to face conversation.
Here's an email template for your inspiration:
Thank you for offering me the Sales Representative position. I would like to reiterate how excited I am for the opportunity to work for ABC Inc.
Before accepting the offer, however, I would like to discuss the remuneration package for this role. As we discussed in the interviews, my years of experience and formal training surpass the requirements in the job description. I also demonstrated my capabilities in my previous position by increasing sales in my division by 25% and personally landing several multi-million-dollar sales. According to my research, the base salary should fall between $50,000-$60,000, based on the average annual salary range for this position. This is negotiable as I would like to find an amicable solution for both of us.
Thank you again for your offer. I look forward to hearing back from you.
Phone/ face to face conversation
Even though it might be intimidating and uncomfortable to negotiate over the phone, many hiring managers still call jobseekers to make a job offer.
If this happens to you, you could follow this conversation structure:
HM: Hello, is this Jay? We are thrilled to offer you this position at our company. Our team is excited about the possibility of working with you as well. Regarding your salary, your position is budgeted at $49,000.
You: Thank you for this opportunity to work for ABC Inc.! However, before I can accept the offer, I would appreciate it if we could discuss my salary. Based on my research, the average salary for this role is $60,000. While you are making a respectable offer, I would like to propose moving the salary closer to $57,000. I believe this amount reflects on my skills, training and experience within this field and the duties of this role. I would appreciate it if we could discuss this further so we can settle on an agreeable solution.
Even if it seems daunting, negotiating your salary is often expected by employers. If you do not, you could be missing out on a much higher remuneration deal as well as other great benefits.
But before you can start your negotiations, don’t forget to research, strategise, and be prepared with your key arguments.
Have you got any other tips you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments section below!
This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 25 September 2017.