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Career Advice

How to Negotiate the Best Salary for a New Job

negociate salary

When you are applying for a new job, often you are holding your breath a little, trying to do everything right to get the position.  You know you are the right person and will do an excellent job in the role.  But the salary or the benefits aren’t quite what you need.  There’s a temptation to just take what’s on offer but this isn’t a good thing – instead you need to negotiate to get the best salary and here are some tips how to do this.

Why negotiate?

There is an argument from some that there’s no point in negotiating – the advert states the wage or the benefits and the employer isn’t going to change them just for you.  In fact, you can even talk yourself out of the job by looking greedy or money orientated.

This is an old-fashioned idea!  Yet only 37% of people negotiate their salary when starting a new job with women and first-time employees being the worst for it, according to a survey by Salary.com.  Yet people who do negotiate can end up increase their wage by some 7%.  Doesn’t sound a lot for all that stress and work, does it?  But look at it this way – the person who negotiated will reach a certain wealth point eight years before the person who didn’t because they are earning 7% more.

Prepare for the negotiations

You should always prepare for negotiations, even if you end up not needing the process.  That way, you have things clear in your mind and don’t have to make stuff up as you go, adding to your appearance as organised and professions.

Firstly, know your value.  All of us are priceless of course but in terms of our employment value, you should know facts such as the going rate for the role in your industry and geographic area – this will be more in London and less everywhere else, in all likelihood.  There are websites available to help with this and scanning adverts for these jobs will also help with facts and figures.

Have a figure in mind and make it an exact one – Columbia Business School researchers in the US showed that if you were to ask for a specific number, you were more likely to get the number you are actually after.  So, if you are aiming for £50,000, then start by asking for £52,150, for example.

Also, prepare arguments as to why you warrant the salary you are aiming for.  Don’t talk about what you need but instead talk about what you are providing for the company and the value this gives.  Prepare a single sheet ‘brag sheet’ that lists your accomplishments, your skills and even adds in co-worker testimonials or customer reviews.  All of this contributes to your case to why you are worth that particular salary.

Entering the negotiation

Business studies experts say that you should start a negotiation with a series of questions, known as diagnostic questions.  These can be things like the business’s priorities at the moment and going forward, what the needs of the business are.  All of these should be based around those reasons why you should have the salary because you are the solution to those problems – or at least, as much as your job role allows you to be.

Avoid talk about your current job and what you are paid there.  If you are currently underpaid, this can weaken your hand and if you are ahead of the average figure, this can put employers off some.  Also avoiding giving a range figure as this says you are willing to go below your figure – state a specific figure that is above what you want as a beginning point.


Don’t be afraid of the employer saying no as this is part of the negotiation.  They will likely say no to your first number and a few more after that.  This is part of the process and lets you judge how things are going.  Be ready with a counter offer along with a justification – focus on a particular skill you bring or a talent you have, even a qualification that makes you perfect for the role.

Once you have the offer

It is always up to you what you do with a salary offer.  You may have a figure in mind but be willing to compromise after negotiations because you really want the job.  Or you may walk away from the job because the employer insists on under valuing you.  If you do get the offer you want, ensure you get it in writing so there is no room for confusion down the line.

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