Salary negotiation made simple

Not everyone is comfortable negotiating salary, whether it’s for a new job or within their current organisation, so here are 7 steps for salary negotiation made simple


Recently I was approached by a network contact looking for advice regarding salary negotiation with a potential new employer. Frequently there will be a third party in place (i.e. a head hunter) who handles these negotiations on your behalf. In this case, the individual had applied directly following an internal referral from a network contact.

Not everyone is comfortable negotiating salary, whether it’s for a new job or within their current organisation. But it’s something we all need to know how to do in a constructive way.


salary negotiation made simple


Salary negotiation made simple in 7 steps


1. Know your market value

It’s imperative that you know your market worth before starting to negotiate. You wouldn’t sell your house without knowing what price it would fetch. Don’t do that to yourself.  Research on Payscale and Glassdoor will give you a good framework or if you have a recruiter in your network you can ask them for guidelines.

2. Give a range

Give a range, but not too wide, (e.g. 75-80K), and say you will have a firmer idea when you have a better understanding of the role. Frequently employers will try and negotiate downwards. You will be expected to do this in the initial screening conversation  – it is a routine question and one to check to see if you are on the same page.  If your demand is outside the budget for the role, the organisation will tell you. You can decide if you are willing to be flexible and proceed.

Some strategists suggest giving a precise figure but Dorothy Dalton who has interviewed thousands of candidates says “a range is completely fine.”

Always know what your ideal figure is, what your fall back position is and what your “neh I’m outta here” number is.

Have the confidence to ask for what you need from a company?  If this is something you struggle with, try our Jugglers and Strugglers on Building your Confidence.

3. It’s a hygiene issue

There is a lot of chat on social media that the first person to cite a number loses. Salary is a hygiene issue in the recruitment process and negotiations will be centered around (although not fixed on) this first quoted number, so it’s best for you to be in control. If you are in the offer stage of the process, the tone of the conversation is important. It is not a battle to be won, but an agreement to be reached.

If after you have been through the process and you have a better idea of what is involved  – it’s OK to increase your demand. Simply say “after being through the process and getting a better understanding of  the responsibilities,  I see my expectation as being 85K.” 

4. Use your data

If there is some hesitation on the part of the organisation, this is when you hit the interviewer whether HR contact or hiring manager with your research and UVP (Unique Value Proposition) if you need to. There is no need to flood them before this point. If they suggest a lower figure, that is the time to bring our your market research.

Does your company struggle to attract top female talent? 3Plus can help you with our Executive Search and Diversity Recruitment sessions.

5. Be willing to walk

It’s important that you demonstrate that you will be willing to walk if necessary, without being threatening. Always have a fall back number in your head – what you will settle for  – usually the lower number in your range. Also, have a bottom-line number in mind that is your walk-away point.  Never be afraid to say ‘no’ if the offer doesn’t suit you.

6. Factor in total compensation

Factor in other elements of the compensation package and benefits such as continuous learning support, access to certain conferences, or car allowance. Negotiation isn’t always about money. Maybe a change in title could be useful.  Consider that these benefits will not count towards any final pension calculations or redundancy settlements.

7. Take your time

Don’t feel pressurised into making a rapid decision. Never sign anything on the spot and be wary when an employer or recruiter presents fast deadlines. Silence is a very powerful negotiating tool and if the situation is sensitive it may be that the employer will reconsider before you. What they want to avoid is having to repeat the process and keep the vacancy open longer which is very expensive and bad for business.


Do you need help negotiating your next career move? Contact 3Plus now!





Staff Writer: Career Contributor
3Plus welcomes any writers to join 3Plus as a Staff Writer. If you are an expert in Job Search, Career and Mentoring or just want to share your experiences, contact us! We would love to give you a voice!

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