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How to negotiate a salary with HR

Got a new job? Maybe you have been promoted in your workplace? Whatever your reason you have found yourself in a great position where you are needing to negotiate a salary with HR? 

This might be the first time you have ever done this so it is very normal to feel a little anxious and somewhat overwhelmed, after all, you are arguing your worth to an employer and it’s not always an easy task. 

It is important to remember that you don’t have to just accept a salary that is offered to you. In fact, most job seekers take what they’re offered, not what they deserve. Studies have shown that candidates who negotiate for a higher salary, using the correct techniques succeed. 

It’s time you found out how to get more money out of a job offer and beyond. In this post, we are going to give you some structured tips and advice to go about negotiating a salary with HR the right way.  

Remember to have self-belief

First things first, before you even attempt to negotiate a salary with HR ensure you have self-belief. Usually, these negotiations are done face to face so it is imperative to have self-belief. You need to realise your own worth first and foremost before selling yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself then who else will? 

If you are struggling with self-belief then you can use some techniques to become a more confident you. Start by affirming yourself. Tell yourself that you are worth it and are good enough. Repeat this to yourself several times. 

Address your inner critic and get rid of any self-doubt and negative feelings. You need to be prepared to win, remember why you are asking for the salary you are and remind yourself of all your skills and experience which prove you are worth it. Take care of yourself and remember to dress to impress, look good and feel good. 

Do your research and know the role

Before you enter into negotiations do your research. Look at other companies who are offering the same role and note how much they are paying. You can use tools like Glassdoor or to see what salary can be expected so this would be a great place to begin your research. Knowledge is power when it comes to negotiating a salary with HR so ensure you leave no stone unturned. 

Know what you bring to the table

Be armed with all your skills and achievements. Be prepared to really sell yourself and show them that you really are worth the better salary. Create a checklist of things you can really bring to the role, this can include things like;

  • Qualifications
  • Transferable skills
  • Achievements in the workplace
  • Examples of how you have enhanced the business in some way
  • What sets you apart from other candidates

Don’t accept the first offer you get

It is common to be asked what your salary requirements are, this is where you need to try and avoid stating an exact figure.

Consider instead responding that your salary requirements are based on both the role you are going for and the overall compensation package. You can also play it smart and suggest that you feel you need more information about the responsibilities of the role before you can make a decision on the salary offer. If you feel obliged or compelled to make the first offer, aim high within realistic confines, with the goal being to meet their likely counteroffer somewhere in the middle.

Don’t just accept the first offer thinking that this is the only offer that will be put on the table. If you feel you need time to think about it, don’t be afraid to say so. Schedule another meeting for a few days’ time and return with a confident counteroffer when you’re ready.

Have your pre-planned questions ready

The important thing about salary negotiations is to not get tripped up or feel unprepared. Pre-plan some important questions so you can effectively partake in the negotiation and get the result you need. Three good questions to consider are:

“What lead you to come to this figure?”  Especially if what they are offering is low, dig deeper and find out why this is and what caused them to come up with the figure. This could be your route to say why you are worth so much more.

“Can you make this offer in writing please?” Settling on a salary in your favour is great, sure but it means nothing until it’s on paper so ensure that is where it ends up, this also looks professional on your part showing you are serious.

“Besides the base pay, what other benefits are negotiable?”  This is an excellent question to consider as you are really digging deep to find out what the employer can offer you. Benefits that the company can offer you could include education and training, medical insurance, private healthcare holiday entitlement and paid leave to name but a few.

Before you think the company is selling you short, make sure you have looked at the bigger picture and do your homework. Always see what else they can offer you and see if it’s worthwhile.

All is not lost if the offer is lower than you expected

A harsh reality often means a higher salary just isn’t an option. If you find yourself in this position then you need to think outside the box a little. There are other things you can negotiate for. This can include financial incentives like a one-time cash bonus, scheduled pay rise or a six-month review with the chance for an increase for good performance. Not to mention you could also try asking for additional holiday entitlement, and other things which you think may benefit your position.

You don’t have to stop there, you could also ask for benefits which aren’t just about a higher salary. Such benefits you could ask for include, the ability to work remotely (from home) which is very important in this day and age. You could also see if the company can offer you flexible hours or childcare benefits. Bear in mind that when you make your request for benefits you will need to demonstrate how these things will benefit the company hiring you by helping you be more productive, focused, or efficient with your time. Always remember you are selling yourself, you are showing them why they need you.

To conclude…

When it comes to negotiating a salary, while the choice is ultimately yours, resisting the temptation to give in to a salary that’s not up to your standards is likely in your best interest. If you accepted a lower offer your self-worth might take a hit and you could end up feeling undervalued before you’ve even arrived for day one. It doesn’t really start a job off on a good note. There is a big possibility, you’ll end up feeling undervalued in the long run and feel the need to start looking for a new job all over again. Sometimes, turning down a job offer maybe your best option. This is why it is crucial to negotiate your salary properly and understand your true worth.


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