Hands up if you find it uncomfortable to talk about salary moreover negotiate for a higher amount during a job interview. You may worry that asking for more pay might affect your chances of getting the job but showing the interviewer that you know your value and that you are able to negotiate professionally is also a way to impress them. Salary negotiation is a normal part of the hiring process and avoiding it may put you at a disadvantage if you just accept an offer at face value.
We spoke to Tommy Ng, Founder and Chief Guru of HR Guru Pte Ltd which provides a wide range of HR services including career counselling. He shared eight tips that can help with negotiating salary for a new job.
Ask for the right amount
It is important to do your homework so that you know that you are asking for a fair and appropriate salary. Ask for too much and you might not be considered, ask for too little and you might sell yourself short. You can start by reviewing the scope of work, job responsibilities and level of accountability of the position. Next is to check and compare against industry peers, your circle of friends and do some market research to find out what is a competitive salary for that role in the industry. Be aware of the prevailing economic situation and keep the numbers realistic. If you still feel unsure, you can also seek the help of professional career advisors to run through your expectations with you.
Be upfront about your salary expectations
State your expected salary upfront on your resume. This prepares the interviewer and sets the expectations. “If the interviewer invites the candidate for the interview, it is likely that the salary expectation is within the range that the interviewer is prepared to pay,” Tommy says. This also helps you save time on pursuing job opportunities that ultimately may not be able to meet your financial needs.
Wait for the appropriate time
You should not be the first person to broach the topic of salary during the interview. Show the interviewers that you are genuinely interested in the position. Ask thoughtful questions about the prospective job position, company, office environment and culture. If the interviewer does not mention anything about salary, it could be likely that it is too premature to discuss the matter, or they are not interested in you.
Show them why you deserve more
“Should the interviewer bring up the topic of salary, focus on the value that you can bring to the job,” says Tommy. Demonstrate a strong understanding of the job requirements and responsibilities by highlighting your unique skills and experience that are relevant to the position. Be specific about how your capabilities can benefit the company. Justify a higher salary not by merely asking for it but by showing the interviewers that you are the best person for the job.
It is OK to say “no”
If you feel that the salary offered does not align with what you feel is appropriate, you can say “no” and counter-offer. If the company says “no” to your counter-offer, Tommy’s advice is to be confident with the value that you can add and reiterate that. As they are also negotiating with you, saying “no” does not mean that the company is no longer willing to work out something that is mutually beneficial to both parties. Knowing what an acceptable salary range for yourself is based on your research beforehand may help you come to a compromise faster.
Do not demand for it
Be assertive and show confidence in your value. However, be careful that you do not come across as being pushy and demanding. Do not think that the company should give you a higher salary because you are entitled to it.
Know when to walk away
If a compromise cannot be reached and you feel strongly that you are valued that much, graciously decline to pursue the job interview any further. You should still be thankful and show appreciation to the company for the opportunity.
Do not be disheartened
Tommy explained, “While you may feel that you should get a higher salary, there may be other candidates available who may be a better fit or who bring more experience to the table.” Accept it as part and parcel of the job-hunting process and do not let this discourage you. There will always be other opportunities.
Salary negotiation is an acquired skill and practice makes perfect. If you feel nervous or intimidated, you can try practising your negotiating skills with friends or a career coach to build up your confidence. The more comfortable you are with negotiation, the better you will get at it, and eventually you will find it easier to ask for what you want and deserve.