10 Golden rules of negotiating salary

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Picture this: You get a call for your dream job. You crack the preliminary telephonic rounds and make it through the second and final interviews. By the time you are asked one of the most awaited questions about your expected salary, it’s quite possible that you are already tired of the process and willing to accept whatever is being offered to you.

Source: Careerprofiles.info
Source: Careerprofiles.info

But hold on!

No matter how grueling the interview process is, talking about your expected salary is critical. It’s what you get in return for the hard work you put in to your job. If not done properly, you could be losing out on a lot of money that you could have got deservingly.


Here are 10 rules to negotiate with a company for the salary you’re worth.

1. Don’t speak too soon
The best time to bring the topic of compensation is when your future employer is ready to make an offer. Answering the salary expectation question right in the beginning could work against you. You don’t have enough information about the job in the beginning of the interview process. You might end up agreeing to a smaller salary than the worth of the job. Tactfully handle the question and be ready with an answer that doesn’t upset the interviewer.

2. It’s OK to disclose your salary
One of the reasons why the HR shortlisted your profile and called you was that your salary fell in the right bracket. But that does not mean you cannot negotiate for a fair pay. If everything goes well, make it clear to the interviewer that you’re looking at a salary as not just a hike from the previous role but as an encouraging and justified compensation.

3. Let them make the first move
Speaking about your salary expectations too soon can cut your chances of getting hired even before you could sell your value to the company. Wait until you’re completely sure of your chances of getting selected for the role. This way, you are sure you have an offer, and you have a base to negotiate.

4. Don’t agree in the first place
So, you’ve been offered a certain amount finally. Now, pause and give some to really think about it. Listen to yourself. Are you happy, neutral or upset? While still in the conversation, spend some time to be quite and let your silence do the talking. Even before you speak, you may have an improved offer in front of you. You never know!

5. Know your worth
Ask yourself ‘How much would the company shell out to hire another candidate like me?’ What you bring to the company is worth a certain monetary value. Just don’t go by what the company has to offer to you – research and find out your real worth yourself.

6. Know your benefits and perks
See if the compensation being offered to you can be increased by negotiating for benefits and perks. For starters you can check for medical coverage, insurance policies, training, leaves, crèche facility, reimbursements, gym membership to name a few. Many companies offer stock options, stock grants and profit-sharing as well.

7. Economy conditions do not matter
It’s valid to think about negotiating when the economy is slow. However, it’s not the economy you’re negotiating with, it’s the decision maker who wants to hire you for the expertise you bring to the company. If you are fit for the role and have full confidence to deliver, you deserve what you’re asking for.

8. Keep emotions in check
Always remember: business is business. You landed the interview because of your skills and experience. It does not matter whether the company is a start-up or Big 4. Believe in yourself and in the way you can bring in a difference to the organization and ask for a compensation that does justice to you – as well as the company.

9. Take it seriously
Most professionals stay away from showing too much enthusiasm to accept a job offer and prefer to act cool during interview. It’s a common perception that if you look too eager to take a job, the employer will offer you less. But that may not happen always. At times, if an employer knows you’re really keen on having the job, it may even make him raise the compensation to bring an enthusiastic employee on board.

10. Talk it out
Assess the compensation package offered to you and discuss it with a family member or close friend (preferably with industry knowledge) for a second opinion. You are sure to receive insights and suggestions that may help you look at the offer more objectively.

Got more rules? Do share and let us know how you dealt with a tricky salary discussion.


Let’s talk careers. We’re keen to hear from you.

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