Negotiating your salary

Negotiating and discussing your salary requirements is the most difficult part of the interview process for many job seekers. The fear is that they:

  • Price themselves too high and risk losing the job
  • Undervalue themselves

So how do you get around it?

  1. Have a ‘base’ rate:  this is the lowest rate you would be happy with, and can afford to accept. Think about your financial commitments – mortgage, bills and commuting expenses, amongst other things.
  2. Have an ‘ideal’ rate: this is the rate you think you are worth. When coming to this figure its worth doing a salary research to ensure you are pricing yourself correctly for the skills and experience you bring.

Lastly, present the range between your ‘walk away’ and ‘ideal’ and explain the variation

When it comes to the point when you are discussing salary expectations share the base rate and ideal rate. Then you can provide them with a reasoning for the variation between the two ie “The reason I have given you a salary range is because it depends upon the role, the responsibilities involved and how well that matches my own experience and skill set will determine where within this range I best fit for any given position. However, money is not my core motivation, I am also keen to grow and develop. So I am willing to be flexible on my salary, depending upon the decision.”

What to do if they opt for the ‘base’ rate salary

Its quite a common for companies to offer you your base rate but you don’t have to take it. You can ask for more money unless your prospective employer states that the salary is non-negotiable.

How to negotiate

“Thank you for choosing me for this role, I am very excited about joining your team. However, I do feel I need to speak to you about the offered salary. Whilst I really want to accept the job at this rate, it is on the low side of my income needs which would make life very challenging for me. I was hoping to get ‘____’. This salary would ensure that I could give you 100% without the worry of how I will cover my expenses. If you would be willing to agree to this salary then I would make sure you felt you were getting good value for money. Would this be possible?”

Obviously, this is just a basic argument. Make sure you tailor your negotiations from this starting point dependant on the position you are applying for and the company.

It is very easy to feel intimidated whilst having salary conversations with a prospective employer. But you are essentially a one person business and as such need to value your skills and experience. Being skilled and confident at negotiation is a vital component of long term professional success, so its good practice to start now.


Take a look at our other interview tips here