What You're Worth

Salary negotiations
What should you do to make sure that you get a salary appropriate to your experience, skills and credentials?

Once you have been made an offer for a job, you are in a strong bargaining position. The employer obviously thinks you are the right person for the job and presumably they need to fill the position quickly. It is also easier to negotiate a higher salary before you join a company as, once there, even if you are really good at what you do it is difficult to get the same increase.

Tips for Successful Negotiations

  • Reaction to Offer:
    Once the offer is made, don't accept it immediately, even if it is in line with your expectations. Hesitate and say you are thinking about it. When you do get back to them, ask if it's the best they can do. Don't worry – the fact that they want you means that you can take your time deciding (as long as there isn't a reserve candidate waiting in the sidelines). Try and avoid haggling – the natural reaction to an offer might be to respond with a salary on the high side. Just state exactly what you want and why!

  • Style:
    Be persuasive rather than aggressive. You will have to work with these people if you do accept the job, and you don't want to start off on the wrong foot.

  • Research:
    Research salary data early on. Look at salary scales for similar jobs and experience in similar companies in your area, and use this to back up your position in the negotiations.

  • Objectives:
    Be certain about your objectives before starting to negotiate your salary, and keep focused. Have a minimum salary in mind before starting, but don't reveal it to the company until you have to. Your current salary is often used by the company as an indicator of what you might accept, and this could undervalue you.

  • Other income:
    If you think additional salary will be difficult, then consider how to supplement your income with other types of compensation, eg profit share, stock options, additional annual leave, bonus, etc.

next section >>