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How to negotiate your salary with a potential employer

By Jana Angeles

If you’re currently undertaking your job search and not too sure how to go about salary negotiations, it’s time to take action and start thinking about what your ideal number is to help you live your current lifestyle. 

Financially, your salary is the gateway to being able to save up for that holiday to Japan or purchase that dream car you’ve always wanted. However, it takes practice to be able to get good at negotiating and it can often be an awkward topic of discussion when going for job interviews.

There may be initial fears about suggesting the ballpark salary range you’re after. You may ask yourself the following questions:
  • Is my ideal salary going to impact my chances of getting this job?
  • What if they hire me and don’t see the salary value in my skills and expertise?
  • Is the salary that I’m pitching too high for my current position?
It’s normal to have initial fears and doubts, and it’s not unheard of that salary is still a sensitive topic of discussion for others. While it’s worthwhile thinking about your ideal figure, you want to avoid underselling yourself when it comes to your skills and experience

Even if you’re in the initial stages of the interview process, having discussions about your proposed income can help indicate whether or not you’ll have wiggle room to negotiate. 

Either way, it’s best to discuss salary projections early on to avoid confusion on what you feel are entitled to. Below are some of the tips you can follow that can help you approach salary negotiations effectively.

5 tips on negotiating your salary with a potential employer

  1. Research your market value first.
  2. Be silent during the negotiation process.
  3. Be persistent, even when you receive pushback.
  4. Have patience.
  5. Make room for flexibility and consider other perks.

1. Research your market value first.

A good tip before you embark on your job search is to look at the salary trends that are available for your current role. With resources like Seek, Indeed or Payscale, this can give you a great indication on your salary expectations, and see for yourself the average salaries dependent on where you live and years of experience. 

LinkedIn is also another great tool you can use, and it gives you average estimates according to your role and the region you live in. For example, you may be earning less because you’re not living in a metropolitan city like Sydney or Melbourne, so your “average” may be below the median salary of your role. 

By knowing this information, you’ll have the opportunity to see what your potential employer has offered and discover whether the figure you’re given is less or more than the average. It’s recommended to already have an ideal salary in mind because not only does it help set expectations to the employer but you may also have more bargaining power in the instance you’re considered for the role.

2. Be silent during the negotiation process.

woman sitting with hands clasped interview process

Jack Chapman is the author of the book, Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute, and one of his top negotiation tips is to use the “flinch” method. He explains in a video that if you or the employer are talking about salaries and they mention a salary range in mind, it’s best to repeat the number and take a moment to pause and stop talking

The moment of silence is meant to add weight to what you’re thinking during the salary negotiations, and the employer may be more inclined to increase your offer of remuneration simply because of this. It’s such a simple yet powerful move, and one that can work well when making face-to-face negotiations

3. Be persistent, even when you receive pushback.

If your potential employer says a salary number that is less than ideal, it’s worth being persistent in the negotiations and meet at a number that you can both agree with. By doing research on salary trends in your industry and your specific role, it’s worth putting a price on your skillset, especially if you know you can earn more. Besides, people who tend to change jobs usually want to increase their income. 

This is why doing your research is vital before you even speak about salary figures. By knowing what your potential salary is can make all the difference. It also helps to have confidence in your skills and be able to reason why your potential employer should give you the salary you want.

4. Have patience.

patience concept

Salary discussions normally take place during an interview (either via the phone or face-to-face), so it’s worthwhile being patient when it comes to the outcome of your money expectations. 

You may have been interviewed by the hiring manager but they may need to report back to the finance team and the director to see if it’s possible to give you the salary you’ve requested. While the process may take a while, just trust that the employer will come back with a final offer at a reasonable time. 

It’s important to keep in mind that disclosing your current salary may not work in your favour, so it’s best to hold off any salary conversations unless the employer brings it up, or have it as a point of discussion towards the end of the interview. 

5. Make room for flexibility and consider other perks.

It helps to think of a Plan B when the employer won’t budge with their salary offer. They may be part of a startup company with stringent budgets and only have capacity to offer other attractive benefits. Other perks that could come with the job package may include:
  • Professional training opportunities: this is a great way to keep your skills and expertise fresh. The employer may offer you a chance to study a qualification that can help boost your credentials. Not only that, but it may even help you improve your performance in your new role.
  • Flexible working schedule: you may be a new parent raising a family and want more flexibility in your life. So, negotiating a flexible work arrangement may work in your favour, rather than an increased salary. You could also perhaps have a four-day schedule instead, working longer days but having every Wednesday or Friday off, giving you a greater work-life balance.
  • Food, gym or other monetary benefits: having free weekly lunches, an annual gym membership or health insurance are great financial incentives that can help boost employee morale and promote a positive company culture.

Want a better salary in your career?

If you’re after a salary that best meets your lifestyle needs, consider studying a qualification with Upskilled. Not only can a qualification help you attract potential employers, but it can show your enthusiasm for ongoing learning and offer an opportunity to develop your current skillset.

Courses are online and most are designed to be completed within 12 months, helping you work towards a qualification that can make you a sought-after candidate when undertaking your job search. 

Get in touch with Upskilled and enquire about a course today. 
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