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How to negotiate the right salary for you

Written by: Charlotte Rogers
Published on: 16 Mar 2020

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For some reason, the idea of negotiating your own salary or even talking about money in an interview, has earned itself a bad name. However, the time will come for every professional to talk about salary in an interview and it really shouldn’t be as awkward as some people perceive it to be. Interviews are not only about what you can offer the employer, but what they can offer you. You are going to be giving them your time and you deserve something in return for your hard work. Understanding the importance of salary negotiation is the first step, the second is knowing your worth and taking the plunge. We have some tips for you to help in your next interview and understand why it is best to talk about money now, before you accept the job.

Do your research

Before any interview, you need to do your research. However, salary research may be a little different to what you are used to. When you are trying to figure out how much your time is going to be worth, you need to find out some answers to the questions below:

  1. What is the average pay for this position?
  2. What are the salaries like in this location?
  3. Is the salary going to be inclusive of other costs, such as London Weighting?

These are generic questions and they should let you know how much you are likely to get paid and to understand whether your asking salary is either too low or too high. You need to be able to get a balance; you don’t want to be working for less than your worth but pushing the boundaries with a salary that the company won’t pay can result in you missing out on an opportunity.

You should also evaluate your skills and know what these are worth to the business. Take into consideration your current salary, you don’t really want to go below that, unless there is some other advantage to the new role. The job spec is also a key resource here, analyse how much work you are really going to be doing and ask yourself honestly if the salary is worth the time and effort you will be putting in. Taking the time to research and understand the salary brackets in your current career position can really help you feel more comfortable when negotiating a salary. Being prepared is going to really work in your favour.

Sell yourself

The main part of an interview is to sell yourself and show the employer what you are worth. You need to make it clear from the beginning that you would be an asset to the business, just like you would in any interview. A job is not all about the money so you need to take time in the interview to not only pitch yourself but ask the interviewer questions and find out if you would be happy in the role. Focus on answering questions well, which we recommend that you prepare for. We have plenty of preparation articles on How to answer the harder interview questions. If you know before hand what your employment will be worth to the employer, then it can become easier to sell yourself and share your achievements.

When do you mention money?

The majority of the time spent in an interview is going to be focused on you and discussing the job role. However, employers tend to leave money talk until the end of an interview. So, take the time in-between to talk about your achievements. You should use examples and context when talking about your skills and accomplishments, so it is more than just a skill written on paper. Giving examples allows the interviewer to see that you have real skills that you can put into work when you start the job.

Use the interviewer as a guide, if they start the salary talk then go with it. You are prepared, so you shouldn’t feel guilty or anxious talking about this. However, if the interviewer doesn’t suggest salary, take the time at the end where they should ask if you have any questions. If an employer is unwilling to talk about salary, then you should take this as a red flag. Most companies that don’t want to share salary information before you accept a role, probably don’t understand your worth.

It’s not always about the money

Sometimes, an employer just may not be willing to pay you the salary you are asking for. You need to ask yourself if this is now going to be worth it. Think about what you earn now, the experience you might gain from this role or if they have any other company benefits that can substitute for the salary you want. It may be that the company will offer a salary lower than what you are asking for but offer extras like a subsidised staff restaurant, a wellbeing scheme or other add-ons that may persuade you to take the job. These added benefits may all sound good to you on the surface, but make sure you ask about how these will help you as an individual. Ask questions about them and really find out whether they will help you and be worth the salary decrease.

Asking about salary in an interview can make some people feel uncomfortable. But you’re going to have to discuss it at some point, and it is obviously much better to do it before you are at the point when you are close to accepting an offer. You need to know what you are agreeing too before you go for it. As a professional, you should know your worth and should not settle for less than you want. In some cases, you may be asking for a bit too much. It’s always best to listen to the employers reasoning and come to a conclusion that suits you. Salary negotiation is a very important step in job hunting, so don’t keep putting it off and you are more likely to avoid disappointment.