Salary negotiation is an important aspect of any
job situation, and is often perceived as the trickiest part.
Most common doubts raised are " Is it safe for me to negotiate a
salary without jeopardising my chances of getting a job?", as
well as "When and how do I negotiate my salary?".
The situation in which a salary is negotiated could vary
depending on whether the individual is a candidate with a
certain degree of work experience, applying for a position in a
company, or is a candidate with no prior work experience,
applying for an entry level position in an organisation. Another
situation could be an employee looking for career advancement in
his current organisation. The details of each of these
situations might be different, however certain basic principles
and rules regarding salary negotiation remain the same.
A salary should be negotiated if you perceive the offer is
The first question to be answered is "Should a salary be
negotiated at all?". The answer to this is-Yes, if the offer
made is inadequate in your view. To arrive at that, it is
important that you, the candidate, applying for the job, do your
homework in terms of knowing the salary range for similar
positions in other organisations within the same industry, and
across industries but within the same functional area. For
example, when applying for the job of a brand manager in a food
company, you need to be aware of the salary range as a brand
manager in marketing in other organisations across industries
i.e food, cosmetics, detergents etc. That is find out the likely
salary for similar positions in your field. Most reputable
corporations offer a standard salary for a type of job. You, as
a job applicant, need to find out what that rate is.
Do not enter into a salary negotiation for an ego kick to see
how far you can go in raising your price with an organisation,
especially if the offer they make is within the salary range for
that particular position.
For first time recruits just starting out in their careers, it
is important to communicate that you are more interested in the
job where you can prove yourself and contribute to the
organisation, rather than in a specific salary. The organisation,
in any case, would probably have a certain number of jobs in
definite salary brackets.
Discuss salary only after you have received the job offer
The next question that comes to mind regarding salary
negotiations is when to negotiate a salary. Should it be done
during the interview for example, when the interviewers ask the
interviewee " Would you like to ask us any questions?". Or
should it be left to a later date?
The answer here is that unless you know or have some indication
that you are going to receive the job offer, salary negotiations
are irrelevant. Salary negotiations, during the interview or at
any time before the interviewers have decided to select you,
will only create a negative impression.
There is a saying in sales that you should never discuss price
before you have established value. This applies to job
situations as well. Unless the prospective buyer (employer in
this case) is convinced that you provide a suitable match for
their job profile/requirements, any salary discussion is
It is better to postpone discussion of the salary till as late
in the selection process as is possible. In the meantime try and
present the value you offer to the employer and understand the
requirements of the position so that you can arrive at a figure
or a range for an acceptable salary. This will allow you to
negotiate salary later on, meaningfully, once you receive the
Use body language to communicate enthusiasm for the job
On the day of the negotiation, show your pleasure at receiving
the job offer. Clarify aspects that you need to and highlight
your concerns/reservations. Yet, let your body language express
your enthusiasm and eagerness for the job and the organisation.
Confirm the final offer
Once the negotiation process is over, repeat the final offer as
you understood it. And express your intention to formally accept
as soon as you receive the final offer letter. If you are not
going to accept, be tactful and diplomatic on the reasons why.
Send a letter also regretting that things did not work out. In a
nutshell, leave a positive impression of yourself.