There is always a point in every job interview when the question of salary arises. This fleeting window of opportunity could be the difference between a life changing salary increase of up to 20% or not. If you play your cards right you could be living differently, saving money for the future and living a more fulfilling life in general. But in order to do so you need to follow this general salary negotiation advice:
- Avoid bringing up salary discussions before you’ve been offered the job.
- Let the employer make the first move and name their opening offer.
- Counter the offer with a higher salary based on the skills you can bring to the table.
- Negotiate perks and benefits.
- Ask for the final negotiation in writing.
When to negotiate salary.
It is important not to bring up the salary discussion too early. You need to wait until you’re certain they’re interested and the ball is in your court. Avoid the negotiation too early in the interview process and if the employer brings it up, deflect the question by saying you’re looking for the perfect match with a company and role and the perfect salary should reflect this.
How much do you want to earn?
How best to answer this? It is a difficult question with two suitable solutions:
- Fair remuneration! Simply respond by saying that you only what to receive a fair salary based on what is normal for an employee in this industry and position. Who can argue with that? This also means that if the company wants to hire you, they have to make the first move with an actual figure.
- Another tactic is to turn the question on its head and ask the interviewer what they think you’re worth. This again prompts the hiring manager to make the first move. You could say something like “You’re in a much better position to know how much I’m worth to you than I am.”
How much do you currently earn?
Potential employers ask this because they want to understand your current worth and your career level based on your salary. It is perfectly fine to answer this honestly but we advise following it up with a question such as “What range does this position offer?” It’s best to know you’re both on the same page regarding salary as early as possible. If any employer isn’t willing to pay you what you’re worth, they are not worth your time.
When salary negotiations get tough
The secret to a successful salary negotiation is to be direct and remember that the 5 minutes after the contract is signed, everything has been forgotten. Companies will respect someone who is adamant about their worth (within reason) but not a candidate who is too stubborn and haggles. Do your research and find out how much you’re worth without being greedy. Using a website like Adzuna is a valuable tool as we provide free, real-time statistics on the average advertised salary across Canada. Alternatively, colleagues and friends in the industry what they think is an acceptable salary for someone in your position.