Negotiating a job offer

What is the best way to negotiate a salary?

Before going to any interview, you should have a broad idea of what you would be looking for moneywise.  Research the market rate for similar roles as much as you can by checking what other organisations are advertising, talking to people you know or looking up online reviews.

If the discussion about pay comes up before you have been offered the role, try to find out more about the job first, and try very hard not to be the first to mention a figure.  Answer any question about your salary expectations with a question for them such as “what range did you have in mind?”  A range is always a good thing to work with since it leaves flexibility for the final amount.

Talk about your value and what you will bring to the organisation – you want the recruiter to believe that you will be worth the investment. If you can persuade them that you will solve their problems, for instance by plugging a skills gap, or improving their team’s performance, or lessening your new boss’s workload, or simply ending the time they’ve had to put into the recruitment process, better than other applicants, they’re going to be keen to see you accept the role.

You might want to play for time maybe asking if you can discuss the offer at home (even if it’s just with your yucca plant).

If you do want to challenge the amount they’ve given, try to keep the question open, eg “I’m really interested in the role – I’m wondering if you can do anything about the salary amount?” rather than “are you able to increase the amount?”

Think in terms of package as well as basic salary.  Benefits like share options, life cover, car, holidays might be easier for the organization to negotiate if they have constraints such as limited budget or fixed salary bands. You might also ask how soon there will be a salary review so you have a chance to prove your worth, but remember that you will always be in a stronger position to negotiate before you join the organisation if the employer has decided that they really want you. 

The job itself, the organisation culture and opportunities for progression may all be really attractive to you but you also need to feel you are being paid what you are worth. The key thing is do your research to make sure you know at least broadly what this amount is – so any new role should reflect that.  There’s nothing worse for your motivation than feeling you are undervalued!

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