How to negotiate salary is a game well known by both candidates and employers – the former want to earn more, the latter want to pay less! Often, as a candidate, you do not feel in a position of strength in this discussion, yet with good preparation and a reasonable attitude, you can nibble a few percentage points. The answers to 7 questions you should ask yourself about salary negotiation during an interview.
Should it be discussed first?
No. It’s better to let your future boss raise the subject first. However, if he does not, you will have to do it. Wait until the end of the interview, when he asks if you have any questions. But don’t begin with that! Find out first about other points that have not been addressed during the interview, for example team composition or practical questions on office organization, and only then discuss salary.
Is it easy to know how much to ask for?
Yes. As a general rule the proposed salary, or at least a range, is posted in the advertisement you responded to. If you have a fixed number, you can try to ask for 5 to 10% more, and you will likely get between 2 and 6%. If it’s a range, then you can also propose a range, setting as the lowest figure the highest one from the employer. For example, if the advertisement shows between $38,000 and $42,000 per year, try to ask between $42,000 and $46,000. You will most likely end up agreeing on $40,000 or $42,000.
Are there other solutions?
Yes. If the salary is not specified in the advertisement, or if you are selected as a result of a spontaneous application, you have several options: consult the salary studies of schools, organizations or recruitment firms, look for job offers corresponding to the same position and profile, visit websites where employees reveal their salaries in certain companies, etc.
Can you always negotiate?
No. Especially in large corporations, there are wage schedules that the employer simply cannot avoid, otherwise he would have to raise everyone! In addition, certain professions are more conducive to negotiation than others. If you are seeking a sales position, for example, it would seem odd to the recruiter if you don’t try, and he would doubt your ability to negotiate with his customers.
How should you prepare?
Ideally, arm yourself with numbers. If you have enabled your former company to increase its sales turnover, if you have managed a growing team, if you have a plan to improve the results of this new company, don’t hesitate to say so – numbers talk, and the recruiter will be more inclined to increase the offer by 3% if you have helped your former employer earn 15% more!
Should the discussion be only about salary?
No. Remuneration consists of several components, whether it is a variable part or various benefits in kind, such as the possibility to use the company vehicle for personal travel, working remotely on certain days of the week, etc. Through partnerships, some employers can also offer reductions or participations in various fields (telephone, fitness centre, etc.). If the salary is non-negotiable, these elements may be, and you may even win the exchange!
Can you lie?
No. Some people decide to inflate the salary of their preceding position hoping to obtain more. It’s a tactic that can quickly backfire – all it takes is for your potential employer to make a phone call to your former boss to discover the truth. Then not only will you not have the salary you hoped for, but you risk having your application rejected. Because how could the recruiter trust you and be sure you did not lie to you on other points?