How to negotiate a new job’s salary with an employer, according to a recruiter

Salary negotiation is the Everest of workplace challenges. You may be the supreme negotiator of deals and contracts and even the defender of others, but when it comes to defending ourselves, very few of us do it well.

“There is an unspoken cultural code that discussing money, in any respect, is taboo,” says the EST10 recruitment specialist and author of Employable – 7 attributes to secure your professional future, Roxanne Calder.

“It’s not that we lack practice, it’s that in fact the majority of us don’t practice at all. Deep down, however, what we get paid can have a big impact on our value within the company and even our social status. Is it any wonder we keep this vulnerability a secret? »

The good news is, however, that our current employment landscape means you have more power than you might think when negotiating, says Calder. The unemployment rate, at 3.9%, is at its lowest in 48 years, and if you thought Everest was high, our job postings are skyrocketing month by month. In February 2022, Jobs were 86% higher than February 2020.

“You’ve got almost lying leverage and misery,” Calder says. “But, there’s always the right way to do it.”

Ahead, she shares her advice on the best way to go about it.

Remember that your employer will expect this

Just as the interview is part of the job search process, so is the negotiation, says Calder. In reality, 75% of managers expect to negotiate when making a job offer, and you should too. “You are also expected to do your own promotion. Another cultural taboo, it seems! It’s not bragging and when done the right way, it can be humble and professional.

Do your research

“Knowing the standard salaries in your industry gives you bargaining power and confidence,” says Calder. “This will allow you to speak for sure, a deal maker in the negotiations. Before making assumptions, try to compare like-for-like, education, years and levels of experience, breadth and depth. Use recruitment agencies, job postings and industry salary guides. »

Pick the right time

Typically, the first interview is not the place to discuss salary. Instead, Calder says it’s far better to assess whether the job is right for you — cultural fit; job satisfaction; abilities and future goals – before letting your enthusiasm and buy-in guide your communication. “You might be surprised how your ardor magically masters words, body language and tone. A winning formula!

Be aware of your words

Negotiation is a process. It requires constant forward movement.

“Words like ‘no’ can quickly interrupt conversations,” says Calder. “Passive communication is just as debilitating. It indicates that you lack conviction and can be influenced, even reluctantly. Or worse, it leaves both parties languishing. Instead, phrases like “I’d be more comfortable with” keep the momentum going, hold on, and move the negotiation forward. »

Convenient and practical

The better you say, “I think my salary is worth XXX,” the more relaxed, open, and confident you will be. Practice helps your conviction, and without it we might be prone to retreat in times of pressure like this.

“Nervously, we quickly reduce the salary figure we had in mind, regardless of research and justification,” says Calder. “The result: a job offer with your disappointed acceptance, accompanied by a hint of resentment further down the track. Maintaining this feeling is unhealthy for you and your employer. Practice reduces tilt and impulse.

Decide in advance what you are comfortable with

“Have a realistic salary range in mind and pitch it based on the job requirements,” says Calder. “A high tone at a lower level position because ‘luck’ could erode your credibility and integrity, so be careful. After stating the salary, do not justify it with a meandering conversation to nowhere. The justification has already taken place during the interview. You’ve already proven your worth, that’s why you’re at this stage and negotiating.

Don’t accept the offer right away

If you’re not entirely comfortable, schedule some time to reflect, says Calder. It buys you time if you feel under pressure and therefore an opportunity to formulate an appropriate response.

That said, what if your salary can’t be met? Where do you go from there?

“Understanding and knowing that you have a choice is key,” says Calder. “At the offer stage, we often think that there is no going back. It’s understandable, since you’ve invested so much, but be comfortable leaving. Say “no” politely, professionally and with the door open. You never know what may come from our current market conditions; you might just be called back.

“If you’re extremely nervous about discussing a salary and think it’s easier to do so with a stranger in an interview, on that point, you might be right. But what if you could get the pay raise at your current workplace?Companies despair of talent and the high prospect of staff resignations.

“Your boss will probably appreciate the opportunity for a chat,” says Calder. “Furthermore, conversations of this nature have the dual benefit of establishing important boundaries and trust, both essential for successful careers.”

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