Salary Negotiation: Tips On Negotiating Wisely

  | 7 min read
Salary negotiation

The interview session is going on well and you can bet the last coin in your bank account that you have this job in the bag. Then the question of salary expectation hits you and your steady train of well-thought-out answers comes to a halt! You try to remember the calculations you made while seated at the reception, nothing comes to mind so you blurt out, “I am ready to go with your existing pay scale.” The panel members cross their arms, exchange glances and set your pay at a value you aren’t happy with for months to come. Many of us have no experience with salary negotiation and would struggle to find a favourable answer; one that will not sound ridiculously high to the panel and at the same time, will not undervalue your skills and experience.

So how do you avoid putting yourself in a regrettable situation? The following pointers might come in handy.

Understand That You Must Negotiate

salary negotiation

This is not up for negotiation – pun intended. Salary negotiation is a must for your career. Understand that it is a business transaction where you are selling your experience and skills for the best price. The panel on the other side wants the best candidate for the most affordable price. They will always start the discussion at the lowest because they expect you to negotiate your way up. Do not take it personally when the panel places what you consider beneath your expectation on the table. They too have a budget and they want to stay within these limits as much as possible.

Understand Your Value

Personal value

Self-awareness is vital. Before the salary negotiation, you need to have a full understanding of your skills, capabilities, unique selling points, strengths and weaknesses. Conduct an honest SWOT analysis. For instance, if your qualifications match the requirements and you have the required experience it gives you more grounds for negotiation. If you lack experience, your unique selling point and individual strengths come in handy to assist you negotiate for your ideal salary. 

As an addition, demonstrate that you can contribute to the growth of the company and hence, your salary will be a worthy expenditure to the company. At the end of the day, the employer wants to hire someone who can contribute to the company’s bottom line and not just someone who will keep things as they are.

BrighterMonday has launched a remarkable tool that can estimate your market value in any industry based on your role and experience. Check it out. 

Be Objective

By staying neutral, you carefully weigh your experience and the value you bring on board against a fair amount that is in accordance with market rates. Objectivity will help you convince the interviewer that the amount you are asking for is reasonable and workable.

For example, if you quote an amount that is slightly higher than average, ensure that you back it up by demonstrating that you have the right experience and that your value will be of great help to the company.

Understand Your Potential Employer and the Industry

understand your employer

You must conduct research about the position you will be interviewing for. Ask your professional connections the estimated value of the position in question. Look through job websites and concentrate on adverts that openly give a range of expected salary. With such information coupled with your experience and strengths, you can then formulate your ideal least acceptable value. Also, note that a company’s pay scale will depend on its size, market share, annual revenue, among other factors. You most certainly don’t expect an SME to match a Big 5’s pay scale for a similar position.

The BrighterMonday Salary Insights Tool has pretty much every industry covered with salary estimates for different roles and levels of experience.

What Is Your Ideal Package?

Money is an important factor to consider when considering a job offer, but it is not the only factor. There are times where the potential employer will present a fixed offer. Do not let that put you down. Probe about additional benefits, working hours, perks and bonuses, transport and meals, and do your research about the work environment. You might find that what you consider to be missing in the salary area is abundant with other benefits. Decide what is important to you and let it help you make your decision. You might not have the power of negotiation about what goes to your bank account, but you definitely have the power to negotiate how you spend your time at work, your perks and bonuses, and your personal time. Learn to negotiate for the complete ideal package.

Settle On A Range As Opposed To A Fixed Figure

When negotiating for a salary, suggest a range but make sure that your ideal salary falls within this. It is important to have a reasonable range that the employer can work with. This way, you are likely to settle on an amount that is slightly above or below your ideal amount. It also benefits the employer because you have provided room for flexibility. The range should also be within market rates to ensure that you do not undervalue or overvalue yourself. Find accurate salary ranges based on research for different roles and industries here. 

Understand The Modalities

Salary negotiation

First, you must understand that the salary talk should be last. Your priority should be marketing your skills, experience and unique selling points. By the time the salary talk comes, your interviewers should have a clear picture of how lucky they will be to have you on their team.

You must fully understand the job at hand and your specific involvement. Write down the roles listed in the job advert for reference. During the entire interview listen to what the interviewers are saying and ask questions where necessary. Know who you will be reporting to as it will help you gauge the importance of the role in the company hierarchy. Ask about the company’s organogram. Such facts will help you in your negotiation.

Be Honest About Your Expectations

Stay focussed

Salary negotiation is a tricky process that involves bringing both sides to a reasonable agreement. However, do not undervalue yourself just so that you can meet the employer’s expectations. It is best if you settle on a fair amount that reflects on your value and that can comfortably accommodate your lifestyle as opposed to an amount that will please the employer but hurt you. This is a negotiation so do not limit yourself. Personal honesty is also what will help you to demonstrate to the employer that you will be a valuable addition to the team. Do you know your current market value? This tool gives you insights backed with research. 

Show Interest In The Position

In some cases, the employer cannot meet your salary expectation. As such, it is important to demonstrate that you are not just about the money. Show interest in what the job entails and its future prospect. If you demonstrate that you are very much interested in the job and its growth, the employer is much more likely to cave in and give you what you ask for or something close to what you want.

Be Flexible

It is a salary negotiation so make it so. Be flexible with what you want. Do not stick to your guns because that will kill your chances of being offered the job if the employer cannot afford what you are asking for. If you are flexible about what you can take home, you will have the ability to negotiate for other benefits as well.

Bonus tip

Always take time to think. Even when an offer is made, pause and reflect on it. Jumping too quickly into a deal makes you look desperate and no one wants to hire a desperate employee. Any panel will respect your request for time to think about the offer. DO NOT mention that you need to consult your spouse or parent (even if you have to). You should always come across as a level-headed, intelligent adult, with the ability to make their own decisions.

When all is said and done, you will get what you negotiate for. You know what you deserve, negotiate your way to it.

Discover your worth today with this simple and interactive tool. 

Salary negotiation


Doreen Mueke
Doreen is the Senior Content Marketer at Ringier One Africa Media.


  1. Thanks a lot for the insight i didn’t know about the fixed figure salary.
    kindly give more insight on managers job offers if one is called for an interview.

    • i get brighter monday job updates but i cant apply for any of those jobs there in.. i use the correct procedure but then i just dont know.. Many go. any lead?

      • Hi Syvia,

        Thank you for reporting this issue.
        Our customer service team will help you on this just send a screenshot of the error massage that you are receiving when applying and send it to our customer service email address and we will respond.


  2. diploma in public relations customer care service good communication to customers direct motivate over sight in depth knowlege of orgnization serving as a gate keeper screening calls , APPOINTMENT FOR THE BOSS DAILY Dasks agenda, recrds ,supporting management, smooth running to assist other employees serves between boss and org.

    • Hi Chumo,
      Thank you for reading.
      We need more clarity on you comment so that we know how best to assist you.


  3. indeed, i have gained alot, thank you so much, now what of if my gross pay is little but benefits are huge from my curent employer, yet after calculating what i am worth, he may ask for my current payslip, how should k go about this

  4. Hi i have been applying for the jobs in your site but i haven’t been invited for an interview.!!!! I am a supply chain professional from CIPS Level 5.

    • Hi Robert,
      Thank you for reading.
      We checked from our end and confirmed that you dont have an account with us. Kindly create one by clicking the sign up button and upload an updated CV. Subscribe to our job alerts and make sure your time of application is immediate. If you have questions free to write back to us.


    • Thanks Libby,
      We are glad you are enlightened.
      Keep it Brighter Monday for more timely articles.


  5. this article is well articulated. would you please give the tips on how one can negotiate for a higher salary after working in a particular company for for many years yet the salary he/she is getting is still low despite that you have all the qualifications and even have furthered your studies. thank you

    • Hi Ngugi,
      The best person to raise it with is your boss. Ask for a meeting and bring up the topic. Ensure that you have a list of your achievements within the department and instances of times you have gone out of your way to bring in results. This will help prove that you are worth a consideration.
      Feel free to write to us if you have more questions.


  6. I attended an interview which quoted good sum but the company says can only afford a third of my request and the rest is production based.How should I handle that?

    • Hi Okoth,
      Thank you for reading.
      It depends on their terms, if the third meant that you will be paid when you are still in probation but if its permanent then you can decide to seek for other options if the salary cant sustain you. Feel free to write back to us if you need further advice.


  7. hi I work in asupermarket but their pay is poor,promotion is based on godfather of your guarantor they don’t base on your delivery of accademic qualification,I worked for two years but no improvement,my mother has been against my resignation please advise me

    • Hi David,
      Thanks for reading our article and sorry for your situation.
      This is a tough position to be in. Before quitting, try and find out whether you can get a raise. Show what you have achieved and what value you add in your current position, which makes you deserve a better pay. If not possible, then you can start looking for another job while you are still in your current job, that way, you will have a soft landing position. You may also have a conversation with your mum so that you can understand her reasons and and also explain to her why you want to make the change.
      All the best.

  8. What is the minimum salary for credit controller and billing ,that is acceptable in the market ,to help one going for an interview?
    1.Credit controll.
    2.Billing clerk/Invoicing officer.

    • Hi Birech,
      Thank you for writting to us.
      With regards to your question, the salary could differ in terms of budget especially if its a start up, however the most determining factor is experience for instance someone with three to five years of experience in the field of credit control should earn between 50-80k and same would apply for invoicing officer or slightly lower. To prepare well in your interview read here

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