How to negotiate salary: 10 tips for a better job offer
Wondering how to negotiate salary for a new job, or how to ask for a raise in your existing role? Read on to discover our 10 top tips for getting the salary you deserve.
6 min read
Knowing how to negotiate your salary is an important part of applying for a new job. It’s also a valuable skill to have when you’re already working at a company and looking for a salary increase. We know that asking for more money or additional benefits can sometimes be daunting, but not asking for the salary you want could mean not being properly compensated for your role.
Currently, employees across industries have more traction in the job market than in years prior. This means companies are fighting for candidates with the perfect skill set*, which gives job hunters more power when asking for higher pay and better compensation packages. So, if you’ve just been offered a new job but aren’t 100% happy with the offer—or if you want a raise in your current job—we’re here to help.
Here are our 10 top salary negotiation tips, including how to manage your salary expectations and what you can do to build your confidence in asking for more.
1. Know your value
Start out by doing some research into how much people in similar roles at other companies are being paid. This will help you to get an understanding of the job market and how competitive it is, which will put you in a stronger position when negotiating your salary. Recruiters are a good source of information, as are websites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor. It’s also helpful to reach out to family or friends in similar job positions for some first-hand insight. You could also ask colleagues you trust in your current role and see what their thoughts are.
2. Be specific
It’s always best to start your salary negotiations with a specific figure in mind—this shows your potential or existing employer that you’ve done your research and are confident in your value as an employee. They’ll likely be impressed that you’re taking the initiative. Remember, you can always begin your negotiations with a higher salary than you’re hoping for, and then compromise on a lower amount if needed.
3. Build your case for a salary negotiation
Before negotiating your salary, it’s a good idea to gather hard examples to support your case for why you deserve more money or a raise. Take some time to think about your work achievements and any transferable skills that will benefit you in your new role. Or, maybe your role has changed in the last 12 months and you’ve taken on new responsibilities. Try to use tangible examples that prove how much value you bring. For example, you could mention if you increased sales by 5% or recently helped launch a new product.
4. Remain positive
Going into job offer negotiations or salary negotiations with confidence can make all the difference. Employers will often gravitate toward likeable individuals who they want to work with, as well as someone who is confident in their skills. As you go through the negotiation process, be respectful and professional. If possible, try not to come across as negative or to downplay your expectations.
5. Understand who you’re talking to
There may be multiple people that you speak to as part of a hiring panel or salary negotiation process, each of whom has different roles and priorities. This will vary depending on the company, but it’s usually the HR team who can answer more detailed questions about the total compensation being offered for the job. Try to direct your questions to the relevant individuals, to help you get the right answers more quickly. If you’re hoping to be promoted within your existing job, you’ll normally need to speak to your manager.
6. Think about how you’ll negotiate your salary
Job offers and salary negotiations can happen over the phone, in-person, or even via email. If possible, it’s best to discuss your salary in person or over the phone, as this can feel more personable. If this isn’t an option, or if you’re more comfortable negotiating via email, it’s important to consider the style and tone of your replies. Choose words which convey your positivity, empathy, and openness to discussion. It’s a good approach to adopt and demonstrates your willingness to find a solution.
Happy in your current role but considering asking for more money? It might be better to start salary negotiations for your current role in person, particularly if you have a good relationship with your manager and feel comfortable with them. See if your employer has set up regular reviews for your personal development. If not, it’s probably a good idea to request one.
7. Be honest about other offers
If you’ve applied for multiple jobs and have received another offer that you’re considering, be upfront about this with the hiring manager. Other companies being interested in you helps to give you more bargaining power and may lead to a higher offer. Let them know that they are your preferred choice and explain what salary would lead you to accept their offer over the competitor’s. Be careful if you’re using this as a bargaining tool for salary negotiations in an existing job. While it’s generally a positive thing that another company wants to employ you, you don’t want to use it as an ultimatum with your current company.
8. Look at the total compensation package
Though salary may be the most important factor for some, it's just one element of most compensation packages. Other benefits may include things such as flexibility around working from home, flexi time, bonuses, health insurance, holidays and gym discounts. Depending on your circumstances, these benefits may outweigh a slightly higher salary, so it’s worth finding out exactly what’s on offer.
9. Prepare yourself for difficult questions
There’s no getting around the fact that salary negotiations can sometimes be awkward. However, it’s better to assume there may be some difficult questions, rather than going in unprepared. These could include questions around whether you’re currently applying for other roles and whether they are your top choice. Be as upfront about your current situation as you feel comfortable with, without compromising your privacy.
10. Be prepared to walk away
If you’ve followed all these tips for negotiating your salary and the employer won’t budge, you may want to consider walking away. If you’re not happy with the company’s final offer and your current circumstances allow you to turn it down, you can politely let them know that you’ll be withdrawing from the application process. While disappointing, you can view the experience as good practice on how to negotiate salary that you can use to help with future job applications.
This will be slightly different if you’re talking to your current employer about a raise. If you haven’t already started looking at other jobs, you might want to stay in your role and apply for higher paid jobs at the same time. This will give you more security while you search for something new.
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The good news is that if you prepare yourself for salary negotiation, it can be a positive experience that boosts your confidence—and your bank account. Remember to always look at the total compensation package and how it supports your lifestyle. Want to manage your salary in an easy, secure place? Our bank account is designed to keep you in the driver’s seat and support you wherever you go. Having your salary deposited directly into your N26 bank account offers a range of benefits—including access to our Statistics feature, which allows you to track your spending and manage your money better.
Can you lose a job offer by negotiating salary?
This is possible, but unlikely. While you should be careful to not ask for an unrealistic amount of money, negotiations are part of the process. Try to remain positive throughout and always look for solutions if you receive a ‘no.’ Also, remember to consider the total compensation and not just salary. Overall, if what you’re asking for is reasonable, it’s quite unlikely that a company would withdraw the offer based on your salary negotiation.
How do I negotiate my salary over the phone?
Remain consistent in your approach to salary negotiations—be positive, open, and honest. Don’t give an answer too quickly, and let them start the conversation. This will ensure you have the complete picture before giving your response, and will also give you more time to consider what you’d like to say. Remember, you don’t have to agree to the salary figure over the phone. Ask as many questions as you want and give yourself some time to consider what’s on the table, then go back to the table.
Is it better to call or send an email when negotiating salary?
Sometimes a phone call can make it easier for you to get a feel for the person you’re negotiating with and how you might respond appropriately. However, sending an email could allow you to send a more well-thought-out response, so some people may feel more confident doing this. Whether you negotiate over the phone or by email, once you have agreed on a compensation package, always get this in writing.
Can I negotiate better benefits as well as more pay?
It’s always good to negotiate compensation packages as a whole, rather than the individual element or just a salary figure. Consider the benefits and work setup, which could supplement the salary offer. The perks available to you when negotiating salary will vary based on your experience, company, level, and role. You might also have a better idea of benefits you’d appreciate if you’re already employed with the company. Think about things such as more holidays, bonuses, a title change, and reimbursements for travel expenses or remote working spaces.
What should I do if salary negotiation doesn’t work?
You should be prepared to consider walking away from a job offer if the total compensation is not right for you. If you can’t seem to agree on a salary, you’ll need to decide if the package on the table is a fair reflection of your value. If you’ve exhausted the negotiations and don’t feel comfortable with the offer, look for another company that will suit your needs better. Or, if you feel that your current employer isn’t recognizing your hard work, try to look for a more suitable role while you’re still working—offering you the security of regular income while job hunting.
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