Career Tips

How to Negotiate For a Higher Salary

Date Posted: 10/7/2015

All salary negotiations center around what you are worth to the employer and what the employer is willing to pay for you.

As such, there is no standard industry practice in settling salary. Some companies are known to steamroller candidates into accepting the job before revealing any salary structure. This is not good for you as you cannot back out once the offer is accepted and you may not get the salary you expect. So it’s best to delay the aspect of salary fixing till later when everything about the job is better known. If the recruiter asks how much you expect when you do not know enough about what the job entails, it’s best to buy time. You should enquire about the employer’s budgeted range, always giving the feeling of having the final say in fitting you into an appropriate range as long it is reasonable and commensurate with the job responsibilities.

The most common errors about “desired salary” that job seekers who want to work abroad make are:

Not researching comparable salary in advance
Being overly keen to please the recruiter at your own loss
Lowering your self-worth by accepting what is offered too easily

Therefore, to negotiate the best salary, you should observe the following rules for greater success in  negotiating the best deal possible under prevailing circumstances:

Assess your true value. Evaluate your education, certifications, skills, experience and management exposure. Before starting a negotiation, mentally clarify what alternatives and trade-offs you might be willing to consider e.g. extra benefits like bonuses, longer annual leave or other allowances. Only then will you feel stronger and able to drive away fear of the negotiation process.

Evaluate the company. Take into consideration the industry segment, status and size of the organization, its management culture and financial reputation. Think about the job content on offer. Consider if you will enjoy the job and whether you will be able to use your strengths to the full. Examine if the job can stimulate and challenge your skills and intellect to make you grow. Verify if the designation and rank match your expectations. Consider all growth opportunity that you will have. Take into account the practicalities of the location of the job.

Research your competition.  Before you start negotiating for a higher salary, it would definitely help if you can find out how many candidates you are competing with for that particular position.

Be sure you qualify. Your negotiating position will either be strong or weak depending on the extent of how well you fit the role. Nevertheless, you need to believe that you qualify for the position to be able to convince the recruiters that you are indeed the right candidate.

Prompt for their offer before you state your price. Remember that every buyer in any market has a budget and they would certainly have a pre-determined salary range. So don’t undercut yourself. Always try to get the employer to make the first offer before you reveal your own expectations. If this is not possible, state that you expect a fair pay package for your skills based on the job’s market worth.

Previous salary. Many employers base their salary offer on your present/last earnings. Since you are going to be working abroad, this comparison is not fair.  If you don’t want to reveal this information and you cannot refuse a direct question or make a false statement, you can divert the question by asking what their budget is.

Wait for the right opportunity to negotiate. First salary offers from employers are sometimes provisional and negotiable within a range and not a last offer unless they already have a candidate. Choose the ideal moment to counter their offer depending on the mood of the interview, for instance, when they make their offer and pause for you to accept. If they don’t pause, you may take a cue to bring it up yourself and ask whether there is any room for negotiations.

Have a logical counter-offer. Never show desperation in grabbing the job by accepting a lower salary than your expectation. Many employers expect any self respecting professional to make a counter offer. Remember to go beyond basic pay, bonuses and work schedule. Always be prepared with a step-down itemized figure so you can negotiate on each item separately, if and when necessary.

Avoid a face-to-face negotiation.  Try as much as possible to put off a face-to-face negotiation as you will be in a much better position to negotiate for a higher salary over the phone or via email.

Highlight what they get from you, not the opposite. Always negotiate by pointing out what benefits you are offering the company and not what the employer can provide you to advance your career.

Don’t make it personal. Remember this is about business and nothing personal. So don’t feel offended by any rudeness and detach your emotions from all negotiations to sell yourself as a deserving professional.  Keep your manner absolutely professional.  Even if you have to disagree or argue at any point, always maintain a professional manner.  Give a firm look into the eyes of the recruiter which helps when negotiating a deal.

Don’t turn negative yet. It’s a mistake to reject a job offer with a good organization because of a much lower salary than expected is offered. Just hold it. Take time to consider the offer and request them likewise to review their offer. Convert all benefits to cash to get to the real salary. Consider all possible scenarios, long and short term, including a promotion to a better future job, if the employer’s brand reputation is high.

©2015 Ikon Solutions Asia, Inc.

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