How To Negotiate A Better Salary For A New Job

Many successful candidates are nervous about asking for a higher starting salary even when they know the offered pay is below their worth. The reason for this is that they have no experience or knowledge of how to negotiate a better salary for a new job.

Of course, salary negotiation can be delicate as you don’t want to scupper your chances with a prospective employer. However, candidates are right to haggle before formally accepting an offer of employment because once they sign a contract, there may not be another opportunity.

If you attempt to negotiate a better salary for a new job directly with an employer, you will likely face three types of reactions:

  • The employer accepts your request
  • The employer declines
  • The employer is willing to negotiate

In this article, we’ll cover the last situation and help you discover the best approach to negotiate a better salary for a new job.

Knowing your worth is the starting point of every negotiation process. No candidate can evaluate a salary offer without understanding their value in the job market. The process of searching for jobs on job boards or applying via a recruiter will likely give you some idea of your market value. However, some employers prefer not to advertise salaries, particularly when candidates apply directly.

Ideally, it would help if you did your research to find out the most relevant market rates for similar positions in the same geographic area. Thankfully, candidates can access salary surveys online or compare the job offer against other published vacancies. The information collected acts as a benchmark for the salary offer. If you are in touch with a recruiting agent for the role, the agent can advise on a salary range for the specific position. The market research helps you figure out whether the salary offered by the prospective employer is fair.

Now, you should consider what you can bring to the company as a candidate. Your professional experience and expertise level play a significant role in job offer negotiation. Indeed, candidates with a high level of experience are more likely to unlock a generous salary for a new job, as their profile is more desirable to employers. It is worth mentioning that industry-specific skills in IT, digital and marketing are highly desirable at present. Therefore, employers are willing to consider a higher starting salary for candidates with such rare niche skills and experience.

Lady confidently negotiating a higher salary for a new job
Not many people have the confidence to negotiate a higher salary after being offered the job.

The second preparation step before starting the negotiation is to review the job offer. Salary is an integral part of the offer. However, it would be best if you also considered further criteria:

  • How much vacation time do you receive?
  • Is there a compensation package?
  • Does the offer mention future salary increases after training or a successful probation period?
  • What are other relevant perks and benefits of working for the company?

Working with a recruiter can also provide valuable insights into the latest trends in the job market or the specific job package with the company. The bottom line: There is more than just your salary in the offer.

Not everyone has strong negotiation skills. Candidates need to approach the negotiation table with confidence, self-assurance, and emotional intelligence. It is essential to maintain likability throughout the negotiation process. A hiring manager will fight for you if they like you. However, the more complex the negotiation process gets, the more your likability score drops. When your likability score drops, the hiring manager may worry that you may not be a good culture fit for the team.

Expert negotiators agree that the most important of all negotiation tips is to preserve likability. It means being persistent without becoming irritating, asking for more without appearing greedy, and discussing offer deficiencies without sounding arrogant. The better you understand the company and the person across the table, the more chance you have of getting what you want.

Many companies will compromise and offer a signing bonus instead of an uplift in salary. While a signing bonus might sound like a good deal, keep in mind that it is just an introductory offer to get you on board. It is, therefore, unlikely that you will continue to receive the same bonus every year unless it is in your contract.

Many candidates don’t negotiate the salary for a new job because they are concerned about appearing petty to a potential employer. With a good recruiter on your side, however, you can unlock new negotiation power. Experienced recruitment consultants have extensive experience when it comes to negotiating salaries, terms and conditions. After all,

How do we do it? A recruiter can fight for their candidate’s ground without making the candidate less likeable to the potential employer. For candidates, entrusting an expert to manage the negotiation on their behalf can make the process less daunting.

Lady expressing excitement after negotiating a higher salary for her new job
Getting the job you want on the salary you want is such a good feeling! Getting there can be a lot less stressful with a recruitment consultant on your side.

Unlike direct applicants, recruiters have a deep market understanding when it comes to salary ranges. We also know the market worth of industry-specific skills and expertise. This knowledge put us in a better position to review the fairness of a job offer. We also encourage our candidates to discuss their salary expectations from the outset openly. This way, we know whether a job is a good match for them before submitting their CV.

Additionally, recruiters are familiar with the company processes and budget. They use their knowledge to negotiate both the salary and the compensation package on behalf of the candidate.

There is no given rule about salary increases. However, recruiters will evaluate the following factors closely:

  • What the company budget is vs candidate’s worth
  • What valuable expertise and experience a candidate brings
  • What the market value is for a unique level of expertise vs a job title
  • How desirable a candidate’s experience is to the company
  • What the compensation package is when there’s no budget room for a higher starting salary

Recruiters and employers are more likely to engage openly and honestly during the negotiation stage. Unlike candidates, recruiters are familiar with the process and the market, making it easier to agree on a fair offer. Recruiters promote candidates’ sought-after knowledge and qualities and how these would benefit the company in the long term: saving costs on outsourced skills, competitive edge, insights into emerging trends and technology, etc.

Additionally, even when the company lacks the budget to meet salary expectations, recruiters can unlock compelling perks that can tip the balance. For example, work from home arrangements, company car, enhanced pension, gym membership, and the promise of future salary increases once the business/future employee reaches a pre-defined milestone.

Recruitment consultant negotiating salary on a candidate's behalf
Negotiating salary directly with an employer can be a challenging conversation, but if you apply for the job through a recruiter, they can handle it on your behalf.

The salaries and terms and conditions for entry-level positions, graduate placements, apprenticeships and internships are usually fixed. If you’re applying for a role at this level, it is wise not to attempt salary negotiations. To do so may result in a company rescinding its offer of employment.

You may feel that the years you have spent at college or university are worth more than the salary advertised for these roles. However, jobs at this level provide an opportunity to gain valuable industry experience and give you the chance to prove yourself. Therefore, these opportunities receive hundreds, sometimes thousands of applications per position. So if you are lucky enough to be offered one of these roles, don’t blow your chances by making unrealistic demands.

Salary negotiations can be tricky to tackle alone, and very few individuals feel confident enough to do so. However, if you think you’re worth more than the salary offer you receive, it’s worth addressing before signing the contract. Once a deal is done, there’s no going back, and renegotiating your salary in a future 1:1 performance review can be even more challenging.

Furthermore, accepting a job offer on a salary that’s less than you feel you are worth can lead to long term resentment. Ultimately, this can find you seeking a new employer after only a short period which doesn’t look great on your CV. Wouldn’t it be much easier for all if you had someone on your side to fight your corner from the start?

Recruitment consultants have an excellent understanding of their corner of the market. This expert knowledge puts them in an ideal position to state your case in an unbiased and unemotional way. However, a recruitment consultant can only be of use to you if you have applied for a job through them in the first place. Before starting your job search, this last point is worth considering because how you submit your application can seriously affect your future earning potential.

We hope you found this article useful and you now have a better idea of how to negotiate a better salary for a new job. If you found it beneficial, please share it on social media where others can benefit from it.

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