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How to handle salary negotiations like a pro

Posted by | June 16, 2015 | Graduate Article

If you have to list the most nerve-wracking situations in your life, salary negotiations will most likely be one of the top five. How do you ask for a better deal? Will they turn you down or bend to suit you? What if you come across as greedy and only in it for the money? At least one of these questions has crossed your mind, right? Well, here are a few tips on how to handle these awkward situations.

Research the market
Don’t get caught tongue-tied when asked about your salary expectations; research the market rate for your experience and position to give you a better understanding of what you qualify for. If you can’t find reliable websites, ask recruiters or friends and colleagues that wouldn’t mind disclosing their salary range.  This information will better equip you to pitch a realistic figure.

Be reasonable
When doing your research, make sure you compare same industries. If you’re in the retail industry for example, don’t research similar positions in the financial industry; stick to retail and organisations that are similar to yours.

Don’t be overeager
The last thing you want to do is accept the first offer that is put forward. If the offer does not match your market research and you’re not happy about it, you should speak up. If you don’t you might end up feeling resentful and underpaid later down the line. Asking the employer to reconsider is not frowned upon if you know you’re worth more.

Benefits count
Remember that your salary package is about more than just the money. You have to look at other things as well such as maternity leave, flexi time and annual leave. All these things have value attached to them. Make sure you go over all the details with a fine tooth comb and sign only once you’re happy with it all.

Timing is everything
Never discuss what you’d like to earn immediately. If the employer does not bring it up in the first interview, you shouldn’t either – rushing into salary talks will leave a bad taste in the interviewer’s mouth. A bit of advice: if you previously had a job in the same field, employers usually offer 20% more as the minimum.

Avoid specifics
If the interviewer is interested in you they’ll ask what your expected salary is. Always aim to provide the interviewer with a range instead of a figure.