Ten tips for salary negotiation for a job offer and on the job

Posted by | August 11, 2020 | For your career, Salary negotitation

Ten tips for salary negotiation blog header

A lot of us feel uncomfortable when it comes to talking about money – both when applying for roles and even once we are in them.  As a result, so many people settle for less than they are worth or go to work resentful they are not being paid enough.

With a bit of planning, research and a “let’s give it a go” attitude you might be surprised by what you get!  Here are some tips to help you get paid what you are worth and remove the fear of talking about money.


At the interview

#1. Do your research beforehand

Ask other people in the industry what the going rate is for your level of skills and experience. Look online for guides (and see Julia’s previous blog “What am I worth” for more resources). You can also ask about pay before the interview, either as a phone call when you see the job description (i.e. “what is a rough guide to pay) or a guide may be given in the job description.

#2. Don’t talk money in the first interview

Focus on selling your skills, personality, experience and how you can help during the first interview. Be patient. It will come up but likely not until the second interview or negotiation phase. Be ready for the question: what are your salary expectations?

#3. Give a range based on research and then return to what you can bring.

Say things such as “I understand the band for this position is based on the job description. Based on my level of experience I would be hope to be paid a fair and reasonable rate. I believe I can bring this to the role and am super passionate about this.”


When you get a job offer

#4. Remember the first offer is the first offer

When negotiating salary the first offer is often not the highest and it is in the best interests of the employer to have some wiggle room. That is the whole point of negotiation. Don’t be afraid of going back with a reasonable counter offer with a good rationale 

#5. Back up your request with evidence

Knowledge is money so have some examples of why you are asking for the level of salary you are pitching. It may be based on knowledge of the industry, previously salary or what you have achieved in the past. Sell your case and back it up. 

#6. Don’t forget things other than just money

There are so many aspects you can negotiate on other than money. Flexibility, education, vehicle allowance, even clothing. Think of some of the other things you might like and you can also put in a review period.


When asking for a pay rise

#7. Be proactive

Sometimes employers get too busy and forget about salary reviews. Take responsibility. It shows you take your job seriously and are keeping an eye on the industry. I haven’t heard of anyone being fired for a respectful, well thought out conversation around salary. 

#8. Set it up properly

Don’t spring a salary negotiation conversation with your boss, mention you would like to discuss it and ask for a good time. Set up a meeting, prepare (see backing up your request with evidence above). Have a clear idea of what you would like to ask for but be open to conversation and being asked questions.

#9. Sell yourself (and your examples)

Keep track of your successes through the year. When pitching for a pay rise add the most significant, relevant ones that have benefited the organisation the most. We get paid in direct proportion to the problems we help solve for our employer, so pick the ones that have had the greatest impact.

#10. Have a plan b, c and d

I got told everything is propositional (i.e. can be asked for) but not everything is negotiable (i.e. you may get a no or there is no room for flexibility). In some cases your boss may not have the final authority. Be prepared to have your initial request but also a plan b in mind if your first one gets rejected.

So let’s get comfortable talking about money. It is ok to feel nervous but with a little preparation you can do it. If you do get that job at the salary you want – it’s your shout for coffee!

Want to discuss how to negotiating like a pro? Request a free copy of the Sparked Career Roadmap and see where confident negotiation fits in the process.

Career adviser Grant Verhoeven is a director of Sparked Careers (sparked.co.nz), a Wellington-based career coaching and consultancy firm, and a professional member of the Career Development Association of New Zealand.


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