How To Negotiate Salary After A Job Offer
Salary negotiations can be intimidating, so here are some valuable tips and strategies to help you out.
26 Jul 2023
Salary negotiations can be tricky, which is why we’re here to talk you through the process. But, before we jump into the detail of how to negotiate salary, there are two things to keep in mind:
1) Salary range
Firstly, your prospective employer will have predefined a salary range for the job, and this will have been set long before they even met you. If your offer is below the maximum salary, it means the employer sees incredible potential in you – but you don’t tick every single one of their boxes just yet. This can feel like a kick in the teeth, but it’s honestly not a bad thing. After all – they want to offer you the job, so they believe in your potential! But they’ll have given you this offer based on how your skills and experience measure up against the other people they’ll have interviewed.
2) Is the job offer fair?
With the above in mind, it’s still totally possible that their offer doesn’t fully reflect your true worth. The offer is based on their estimation of your competitive strength in the job market – but they’ve only met you a handful of times. So, they might have underestimated your value. In which case, there might be some room for negotiation. But, before you do any negotiations, you need to work out just how unfair their offer is.
How to tell if the job offer is fair?
To determine how fair (or unfair) your offer actually is, you need to:
Consider your experience and qualifications
Take a closer look at how your qualifications, education, and professional experience align with their requirements. Do you tick every single box? Your prospective employer will be reserving the maximum salary for someone who perfectly matches all of their ideal skills and experience.
Research industry standards and salary data
Research the typical salary ranges for similar positions in your industry and location. It’s worth noting that some sectors (like professional services, financial services, and tech) will always offer higher starting salaries than others. Compare the job title, responsibilities, and experience level too, to make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. Because there’s no point in comparing a job in Leeds to one in London. Online salary databases (like Indeed salary checker), job boards, and industry-specific reports are all great places to start.
Consider the current job market
This is really important, especially in today’s tricky job market. You need to evaluate the current market conditions and demand for your skills. If the job market is saturated with candidates with similar qualifications, you might need to be more flexible in your expectations.
Evaluate the benefits and perks
You need to assess the additional benefits and perks, beyond the salary. Have they offered you health insurance, professional development opportunities, or perhaps some work-life balance benefits? A great benefits package can add so much value to your offer, so don’t overlook this.
Assess the growth potential
Consider the growth opportunities on offer. A slightly lower salary at a company with significant potential for career advancement and skill development might be better for you in the long run vs. a higher salary in a company with no growth opportunities.
Get some advice
If you’re working with a recruiter, speak to them straight away because they’ll be well informed about what salary you should be able to achieve for your level of experience and skill set. Remember that it’s in their best interests to get you the highest salary possible! So, they will never fob you off with an unfair salary. Or run the offer past trusted colleagues or friends in the industry to get their outside perspective.
Factor in the company’s size and type
The size and type of the company can also influence the salary you’ve been offered. Larger, more established companies often have higher salary bands, while smaller startups or non-profit organisations might have more modest salary structures.
Are you prepared to walk away?
If you’ve got this far, we’ll assume that you’ve taken the above steps to evaluate your offer and have decided the salary still falls short of your expectations. So, next you need to decide what you’ll do if salary negotiations don’t go your way. Despite your best efforts, you might not achieve what you want. But, are you prepared to walk away from this job opportunity? This is a really personal decision, so we can’t help you with this one unfortunately.
How to negotiate salary
Now that we’ve covered off the essential prep work, it’s time to talk about the actual salary negotiation. Your approach to salary negotiation will vary depending on whether you’ve applied for the job directly or are working with a recruitment consultant, so we’ll talk you through both scenarios.
How to negotiate salary when working with a recruiter
Salary negotiation is a bit different when you’re working with a recruiter. A skilled recruiter will most likely have the inside scoop on the calibre of your competition, plus they’ll have valuable market knowledge and the expertise to secure you the best possible salary. So, it’s best to let them handle the negotiation on your behalf. But, make sure you collaborate closely with them and keep them in the loop about your salary expectations and career goals.
How to negotiate salary when you’ve applied directly
When you’ve applied to the job directly, you’ll need to take the reins yourself. Follow these tips to help you secure the best possible offer:
You need to arm yourself with information on industry standards and salary ranges for similar positions in your location. Luckily, you’ll have already done your research on this when you were evaluating the offer.
Define your minimum acceptable salary
Once you’ve got a better idea of your market value, you need to establish the minimum salary you’d accept. But, pitch yourself too high and you’ll put the employer off. In fact, asking for an unreasonable amount could cost you the job, so keep it fair.
Timing is crucial
Save any salary negotiation discussions until after you’ve received the formal job offer.
Stay positive and collaborative
Approach the negotiation as a collaborative conversation rather than a confrontation. Make sure you express your gratitude for the offer and let the employer know you’re excited about the opportunity. Remember to keep a positive tone throughout the discussion.
Be flexible and open to compromise
No matter how hard your try, the employer might not budge. So, be open to other possibilities like performance-based bonuses or a salary review after a probationary period.
Practise your pitch
Confidence is key during your salary negotiations. Prepare a well-rehearsed pitch that highlights your accomplishments, relevant experience, and the value you bring to the company.
Tell the truth
This should go without saying, but we’ll say it anyway – always tell the truth. Whatever you do, don’t invent a second fictitious job offer with a higher salary to use as ‘leverage’. Because this will backfire.
Our final thoughts
These tips will help you to navigate the salary negotiation process. But remember to focus on the bigger picture here – finding a job that aligns with your career goals and supports your overall well-being. If you’re in the midst of the hiring process, you might also want to check out our guide on how to handle a counter offer when resigning.
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