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Salary Negotiation: 10 Tips to Earn More

How to Ask For a Higher Salary

In the realm of recruitment, the salary is one of the most fundamental elements that eventually decides the outcome of the hiring process. For the employer, it determines whether a candidate will be hired or not and for the prospective employee, it plays a vital role in whether the job offer will be accepted or turned down.

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Interestingly, salary negotiation is usually considered a part of the interview process.

First, let us take a closer look at the term ‘salary negotiation’ and what it means for both the hiring company and the potential employee.

Salary negotiation is the process whereby an employer and potential employee discuss and reach an agreement on how much will be paid for the services, knowledge, experience and skills the potential employee will be bringing to the company.

This process often begins with an offer from the employer, which is usually met by either a request to review or acceptance from the potential employee.

In some situations, the offer from the employer comes with a deadline for consideration of the offer. In cases like this, the salary negotiation happens over a specified period of time; at the end of which the offer from the hiring company is either accepted or turned down.

The salary negotiation, when successful; that is, if the potential employee accepts the offer, is followed by an employment offer from the employer.

Meanwhile, you should bear in mind that besides the salary itself, every item within the salary structure is negotiable and these include hours of work tied to the salary, designation, severance pay, the benefits package, policy on public holidays and much more.

Salary negotiations are very important for both the employer and the potential employee because if not well anchored, the aftermath plays out in the form of disgruntled employees or an overpaid employee who doesn’t deserve what he earns in the estimation of the employer. Such an employee would, therefore, be considered ineligible for any form of increase in compensation over a given period of time.

 

Below are 10 tips that put you in a stronger position to negotiate for a higher salary.

 

  • Anticipate hard questions
  • Understand the difference between Gross Salary and Net Salary
  • Make a request for offer review
  • Strengthen your negotiation with research
  • Don’t constitute a nuisance
  • Re-emphasize your availability and interest
  • Approach it as a business deal
  • Practice as much as you can
  • Who are you negotiating with?
  • Bring something impressive to the table

 

Anticipate hard questions

Tough questions should be expected during a salary negotiation. Inasmuch as the organisation might value your experience, skills and qualification, your potential employer will strive to offer you a salary lower than you deserve. This is exactly why it is called a negotiation.

Hard questions have been known to knock candidates off balance but not anymore. Anticipating them is like getting some roofing experts in walnut creek when a flood is coming. . Such questions might include:

  • Why should we hire you?
  • What if we offered you a salary lower than your previous salary, would you accept the offer?
  • Do you currently have another offer you’re considering?
  • If we offered you a job tomorrow, would you accept?

Whatever happens, try not to give a nervous response or tell a lie. Both tend to have the same effect; they might turn around to haunt you.

When asked hard questions, you must answer them directly without attempting to be evasive. For instance, when answering the first question, you are to illustrate why you are the most qualified candidate for the job.

For the second question, a good answer would be:

The position you are offering me is quite different from the one I filled at my last job. How about we discuss what my responsibilities would be here and then reach a decision on what a salary for this job would be.”

The idea here is that it is difficult to argue on the subject of ‘fairness’ and ‘responsibilities.’ This way, you have a strong chance of earning your interviewer’s respect.

Another thing that might happen when asked a hard question you never anticipated is that you might find yourself suddenly trying to say something nice and pleasing to the ears of your prospective employer and risk losing values in the eyes of the individual on the other side of the table. Worse still, it is largely unattractive.

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Understand the Difference Between Gross Salary and Net Salary

Your gross salary refers to the total package you are entitled to prior to tax and other statutory deductions. Your net salary on the other hand, is the specific amount of money you take home after deductions from your gross salary.

To put things in proper perspective, your net salary will always be lower than your gross salary. For example, your gross salary might be N300,000 while your net salary would be N240,000.

Therefore, when asked for your salary from your previous employer, ensure you clarify. If asked, you could say, “My net salary was N320,000 from XYZ company…” By saying this, your potential employer knows that your gross salary would be much higher, which puts you in a better position to negotiate

 

Request for Offer Review

During salary negotiation, the request for offer review is used by the prospective employee to aim for the highest possible salary. You should therefore, make it a priority to have a counter offer ready prior to salary negotiation.

However, be warned that just as the counter offer works in your favour, it also works for the employer who will most likely use it to keep your salary within the current market range.

So, here’s how it works; during negotiation, the employer has a tendency to drop a figure on your table with a line like: “We’re offering you N80,000 for the role…” and might quickly chip in some other benefits you would enjoy in addition to this. This is the point to unveil your counter offer to this first job offer from your potential employer.

Bear in mind that your counter offer will not be expressly approved by most employers. Rather, your potential employer will come up with their a revised offer to counter yours.

In some cases, the employer will simply accept your counter offer and proceed to present you with an employment offer or give you the popular line: “We will get back to you in the shortest possible time. It was a pleasure discussing with you.”

Like we mentioned earlier, salary negotiation is not just about the salary. While presenting your counter offer, use the opportunity to negotiate for other things such as benefit packages, number of working hours, pension plan and severance packages amongst others.

 

Strengthen Your Negotiation with Research

You have to prepare adequately for a salary negotiation. It gives you the needed edge to negotiate strongly. You don’t want to appear weak during a negotiation. It leaves you prone to losing out on an opportunity to earn more.

In simple terms, do not neglect or underplay the importance of research. Negotiation without facts is bound to be unsuccessful. You don’t want that, do you? Prior to negotiation, you should arm yourself with what others with such roles in other organisations earn. This gives you a peek into how you should react to any offer from your potential employer. It helps you decide on what to consider an offer ‘reasonable,’ ‘way below industry standard’ or ‘really impressive’ from your prospective employer. Remember that your facts must be compelling.

To get facts, you should consider reaching out to your mentors or senior colleagues in establishments you have worked in the past.

You should also try to find out what the establishment typically pays employees for the role in question. This is where research comes in. Do your research on what the salary range is. Armed with this, you find yourself in a more formidable position to negotiate.

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Don’t Constitute a Nuisance

During a salary negotiation, it is best to avoid utterances, expressions and body language that makes you less likable because in truth, the less likable you are perceived to be by your employer, the lower your chances of getting what you’re negotiating for.

What we are talking about here stretches beyond being polite. Rather, it dwells on staying calm enough to request for more without sounding greedy. You will achieve this by shedding some light on deficiencies in the employer’s offer without sounding petty. One way to achieve this is to practice (getting interviewed) with a friend until you master this.

If your potential employer likes the way you negotiate or the level of confidence you show, it puts you in a better position to receive an improved offer.

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Re-emphasize Your Availability and Interest

The moment your potential employer suspects you are not available to be hired, the organisation will naturally soft pedal in their quest to hire you. Why is this so? It is because you have shown to them that they cannot get you regardless of whether the offer is improved or not. No one enjoys chasing shadows and that’s exactly what your prospective employer would sense if you do not make it clear that you can be hired.

For a moment, put yourself in the position of an employer; if a candidate shows glaring signs that he/she is not really interested in the offer regardless of how much you’re offering, would you still proceed with salary negotiation?

Therefore, if you are serious about getting hired by the company, make it obvious and convey the message using a few words about how much you are aligned with the company’s goals and would be willing to join them given the right offer. If you have an offer from another company, now would be a good time to let the cat out of the bag and make it clear that if you had to pick, you would pick them (prospective employer) over other offers you currently have.

Hit the nail on the head by reiterating the fact that you are ready to forgo all other offers and spell out the specific conditions under which you would gladly accept their offer.

 

Approach it as a Business Deal

A salary negotiation is not a moment to take things for granted because it determines how much you will earn for your effort as an employee with the company.

Therefore, you would want to have a plan as you would have for a business transaction. You don’t want to accept whatever is handed to you especially when you know your worth. Sell yourself to your potential employer now that you have a chance to do so because the moment you accept the job, objecting to the offer would throw up cards of concern in the minds of your employer as to your decision-making capacity.

Also, be reminded that employers would set their initial offer much lower than what they expect you to accept during salary negotiation and this is deliberate so throw in your experience and skills to sell yourself.

The only exception to this would be government jobs where salaries are clearly specified for various levels.

 

Practice as Much as You Can

Not everyone enjoys confrontations and it’s worse for those on the shy side. For some, the thought of even attending the interview and sitting opposite a potential employer make them uncomfortable.

If this describes you, the way out is to practice. Yes! Stand in front of a mirror and ask yourself questions around salary negotiation. To make it even better, get a friend to play the role of the potential employer and ask you questions. Also, practice reactions to different scenarios including rejection. The scenarios should include those where the prospective employer agrees to increase your salary as well as those where there is an outright rejection of your counter offer.

With time, you will overcome this fear. Ensure you practice with different trusted friends.

 

Who Are you Negotiating With?

During salary negotiation with your potential employer, it’s important to know precisely who it is you have in front of you. Are you being interviewed by the CEO of the organisation or an HR representative? It’s important to establish this for the certain reasons. One of such reasons is that while you can afford to hurl a flurry of questions about the offer at a HR representative, your boss is not someone you would want to risk annoying with such at this point of the hiring process. Salary negotiations are not done by organisations. Rather, they are conducted by people. To be able to influence the decision of whoever you are negotiating with, there must be some level of understanding of who this person is.

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Bring Something Impressive to the Table

Before you get to the point of actual negotiation, let your potential employer know what you can do and cite examples of this with what you have done. To understand this point better, let’s look at the story of Oliver Twist (who was reprimanded for asking for more…). The point here is not that fact that he asked for more ‘food.’ What we are focusing on is how he asked. What if Oliver had said: “I’ll do all your laundry for one week and clear the weed behind the house tomorrow if you add an extra spoon of food for me. You’ve seen me clean before and I believe you know I’m good at it. Please be kind enough to give a little more food.” See how different this is from just saying: “Can I have some more?”

 

Conclusion

The tips discussed above put into perception the value of negotiating for a salary offer from your potential employer. Be reminded that the more you put some of these tips into practice, the better for you and your career.

 

WRITTEN BY
Nathan Jeffery
Notification Bell