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How to negotiate your salary during the interview?

Published by Espresso-Jobs, January 7th, 2016

In the hiring process, if the recruiter brings up the topic of salary after the interview, there’s a good chance that he found your profile interesting. So, it’s important to be prepared to discuss this aspect of the job and to stack the deck in your favour to get the best offer possible. Did you know that nearly half of all job applicants in North America don’t negotiate their salary when they’re hired? However, it is possible to negotiate … without seeming arrogant or unrealistic! Here’s some useful advice on negotiating your salary and avoiding mistakes while doing so!

1 - Have an idea of the usual salary range for the job. Just as for the frequently asked job interview questions, it’s important to be ready to discuss salary. This means that you should know the salary level for the position you want. Do some online research and ask your “colleagues” in your field directly, or refer to the most recent studies/publications on wages in your sector. The idea is to show the recruiter that you’ve gone through the trouble of getting information, and that you have something to base your arguments on if you decide to negotiate.

2 - Have an idea of the company’s financial situation. This is important because not only will you demonstrate your interest in the company’s growth (as well as your knowledge of their history!), but you will also have extra leverage for negotiating if the company’s financial situation is sound. This will allow you to foresee possible objections the recruiter may have during the negotiation.

3 - Negotiate other compensation elements. Keep in mind that your salary is not the only thing that can be negotiated. Consider discussing other aspects of your contract to gain non-monetary advantages, such as more vacation time, flexible hours (depending on the industry), company-paid training, dues paid to a professional order, work materials, etc. These advantages are just as substantial even if they don’t show up on your paycheck!

4 - Emphasize your added value. You’ve succeeded in convincing the recruiter of the contribution you will make to the company. Strengthen your argument by adding concrete examples showing why you have the specific skills that justify a salary negotiation! This ties in with the question “What makes you stand out from other candidates?” For example, give the recruiter an idea of what you will bring to the company by calculating, if relevant, your added value (and if you are in sales, in terms of revenue). Or, talk about the actions you will take to save the company money while maintaining your performance at the expected level.

5 - Don’t negotiate salary during the first interview. In general, the recruiter brings up the topic of salary first. He will discuss the subject if he’s interested in your profile. If you stand out, other interviews should follow, so avoid discussing salary right off the bat. Indeed, talking about salary too early could be viewed negatively by the recruiter—he might think that this aspect is more important to you than the job description!

6 - Negotiate based on the person across from you. Depending on the interviewer, he may want to agree with you, but internal constraints might prevent him from doing so. Occasionally, a recruiter will have to persuade his manager, and in this case, as the candidate, you need to help the recruiter formulate relevant arguments, just as you did when you calculated your added value.

7 - Don’t be surprised if your proposition is turned down. If, despite negotiation, the recruiter refuses to budge, don’t take it personally. If you really want the job, you can rebound by asking when it would be possible to renegotiate your salary (in six months? One year?), and ask for a new meeting when the time comes. If you show that the job is more important and that you’re ready to prove your worth before your salary review, your employer won’t forget it.