How to negotiate your salary?

Salary negotiation is a very important and complex stage which largely defines how your career will progress in the future. You should keep in mind and observe several principles when discussing your salary with a recruitment officer and potential employer.

Job-seekers tend to make two common mistakes at an interview: they either ask about remuneration too soon or try to conceal their current salary level in order to get a more beneficial offer. Don't cheat — the employer will eventually find out what you earned in your previous position. In turn, the recruitment consultant is pretty well acquainted with the market and can easily assess your opportunities and what salary you deserve depending on your experience and expertise.

On the other hand, do not raise the salary question at the first job interviews. When you begin to communicate with the recruitment agency and prospective employer, your main task is to demonstrate your strengths and to prove that you are the best candidate for the company's vacancy. Emphasise your experience and achievements and let the employer decide when to discuss your salary expectations.  However, when you get a job offer, make sure that the salary and bonus payment scheme is clear and transparent to avoid unpleasant surprises in future.

Communicating with a recruitment officer:

  • Honestly tell about your current salary level and compensation package. In general, a question about your current salary is asked at the end of the interview and a consultant is already able to determine your market value. 
  • As a rule, the employers rely upon your current salary level and some of them are ready to offer an increase of 15 to 20%. Surely, there are exceptions to every rule, and yet, recruitment consultants treat candidates who ask for a 50%-plus salary increase with great suspicion. Basically, if salary expectations exceed the employer's budget the candidates are not even invited for an interview. 
  • On the other hand, you should not underestimate yourself. If you are ready to accept an offer with a salary below your current pay, you will have to answer a number of the recruiter's questions and explain your decision. Today, the employers often dictate their terms and the candidates make forced concessions to get stable jobs in a troubled economic situation. 
  • A research of the labour market and current trends can be helpful in defining your salary expectations and what you are worth in the job market. 
  • Be ready to explain why you want to get a specific increase (additional duties, heavy responsibility, etc.). 
  • When negotiating with an employer, recruitment consultants advocate the interests of a job-seeker and try to come up with the most advantageous offer. They also try to balance the applicant's expectations with the employer's opportunities. It is to your advantage to honestly express your expectations to your recruitment agency.
Communicating with your prospective employer:

  • As noted above, do not raise the salary question prematurely. Your main task at the first and second job interviews is to sell yourself. 
  • Wait until the employer asks about your salary expectations. 
  • When getting a job offer, don't forget to clarify whether the amount in question is net of tax. Make sure that you understand the bonus payment scheme. 
  • Find out what is the current situation in the company to understand whether you will be paid an annual bonus. 
  • Be flexible and weigh all pros and cons — the salary is not always the key to choosing your dream job. Other aspects can also be motivating.


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