We need money to live, to pay bills, to enjoy our life outside of work. To earn $3,000 a month or $3,100 a month looks like a minor difference, but it is not minor. It is significant. $100 extra you will earn each month means $1,200 extra each year (before deductions and taxes), and that can pay for a nice holiday (a short one) for two people, or for anything else you may need, or desire to buy.

Or you can donate the extra $100 to charity each month, if your heart tells you to do it. While it is not always possible to negotiate salary in an interview (think public jobs or government jobs that follow standard salary tables), in most cases you can get more than what they initially offered to you. And you should always try to get at least a bit more. Let’s have a look at some great tips that will help you to negotiate a better salary.

* Check also: Salary Counter Offer.


Show us the value before you start talking about money

The biggest mistake is to start negotiating too early. I saw it happen many times while interviewing people for jobs ranging from secretary to finance manager. Before talking about money, you should come up with some good interview answers, you should show us the value you can bring to the company if we hire you, the value you will bring with your skills, knowledge, and experience.

You should make us interested in hiring you. We also need to feel that you want to have the job we advertise, that you do not apply only to earn money, or because you basically need any kind of a job.

The questions you will ask us (about our company, our goals and values, the nature of the job), and the enthusiasm we will hear in your voice, and in your interview answers, can convince us about your honest motives and interest to work for us. Salary negotiation is a question of supply a demand. The more we want to hire you, the more money you can ask from us…

Job candidate (woman in her early thirties) talks to an HR manager (man in his forties). They are discussing the salary for the job she tries to get

Back up your claims

If you ask for $5,000 a month, you should have a reason for your request. Is this the average salary for the position in the country, or in the city? Have you earned that much in your last job? Or is it just a dream that has nothing to do with the actual situation on the employment market?

Needless to say, you have to backup your claims. Check for latest salary stats, bring the paycheck from your last job. Show us that you do not demand something unrealistic, something out of this world.


Add ten percent to our initial offer

10% is something you will get most of the time (if they want to hire you, and if they do not follow standard salary tables or rates with their new hires, without making any exception). If you apply for a highly technical job, or for a senior role in management, you can even take a risk and ask them to add twenty percent to their initial offer.

Anyway, you should always consider the situation. Do many other people apply for the same job? Can they choose, or do they basically have to hire you, unless they want to repeat the entire hiring process from scratch? Can you offer something other applicants cannot? There are many variables to consider. The more you think about them, the better you can plan your negotiation strategy.


Wait for the talk with a decision maker

Many people can lead an interview with you. If you interview in a recruitment agency, or if an HR generalist interviews you over the phone, it makes no sense to talk about the salary, simply because these people can’t offer you more (and even if they do so, you can not count on their promises).

Wait for a second interview, or for a final one with the decision maker (HR director, CEO, etc), try to connect with them, and just then negotiate your salary. While HR generalists or external recruiters have sometimes an authorization to add 10% to the initial salary offer, the owner of the company, or any other high executive, can easily add 30%, or even more, if they really want to have you in their team (or need you badly). Patience is gold. Wait for the right meeting and the right time, and get as much as you deserve.

Handshake of two people, man and woman. Woman has a ring on one of her fingers

Conclusion and next steps

Show us the value, wait for the right time, back up your claims, and talk to the right person. That is a simple yet effective guide on how to negotiate a better salary in your interview. And remember that the salary negotiation is not an isolated part of an interview.

The better answers you give them, the better impression you make on the hiring managers, the better your chances to succeed in your salary negotiation will be…

Continue your preparation for a big day reading the following articles:

  • Questions for different job titles – Pick your job field and job title from the list, and prepare for the questions you will face in your particular interview.
  • Salary negotiation letter –  If you do not feel like negotiating in an interview, and prefer to write a letter (or an email), you can learn how to do it in a best possible way. Samples included.
  • How to overcome interview nerves – I’ve seen countless times how anxiety made job seekers speechless in an interview. Do not risk it happening to you. Learn how to control your anxiety.
Matthew Chulaw
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