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Salary Negotiation: Tips on Negotiating Wisely

The interview session is going so well and you can bet the last coin in your bank account that you have this job in the proverbial bag. Then the question of how much you are expecting them to pay you hits you in the face and your steady train of well-thought answers halts. You have no experience on salary negotiation  and you struggle to find a favorable answer that will not sound ridiculously high to the panel and at the same time, will not undervalue your skills and experience.You try to remember the calculations you made while seated at the reception, nothing comes to mind so you blurter, “I am ready to go with your existing pay scale.”The panel members cross their arms, exchange glances and seal a fate you will live each day at the work place regretting you had known better.

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

  1. Understand that you MUST negotiate

There 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 knowledge for the best price. The panel on the other side want the best package 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 they have to work within and they want to stay within these limits as much as possible.

  1. Understand your Value

Self-awareness is extremely critical. Before the salary negotiation, you need to have a full understanding of your skills, capabilities, unique selling point, strengths and weaknesses. Conduct an honest SWOT analysis with the aim of knowing your strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. 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.

  1. Understand your potential employer and the industry

You must conduct research about the position you will be interviewing for. Ask your professional connections the estimate 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, kindly 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 certain similar position.

  1. Understand that you must balance your negotiation

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 on other benefits. Decide what is important to you and let it help you make your decision. You might not have 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.

  1. Understand the modalities

First, you must understand that the salary talk should be last. You priority goal 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 in 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.

Always take time to think. Even when an offer is made, pause and think about 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, above- average-intelligence adult, with the ability to make their own decisions.

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


Mueke Katwa
I have two years experience in Business Support which covers Human Resource as a function; and a lifelong passion in creative writing.
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