Whether you apply for a new job or sit for appraisal in your current organization, you cannot achieve much without a solid negotiation strategy.
Many professionals struggle to negotiate during their recruitment and think more about the potential opportunity. Eventually, it doesn’t go as expected and the deal closes on the lower side. That’s when these salary negotiation tips will help you achieve what you want to.
Did you know? Nearly 50% of India’s healthcare professionals have failed to negotiate their salaries and left the money on the table. If you accept what you don’t want, you’re surely going to bear it later.
Negotiation is merely selling your skills at a price YOU decide. The shorter you sell yourself, the lower you show authority in your skills to the recruiter. Once you crack your interview, salary negotiation is the next challenging part on the list.
A few reasons you might not get what you want are:
- No matter how hard you push, you feel HR people are anyhow the cost-cutting machines and that restrains you
- You don’t know how to command the negotiation
- You may feel awkward negotiating your skills and so on…
If you are looking for:
- Getting highly paid
- Do’s and don’ts during the negotiation
- How do we negotiate over a call?
- What’s next after negotiation?
Then you’ll love the actionable techniques here. Let’s get started.
Salary Negotiation Tips That’ll Result
Getting an interview call starts with tuning your resume. While getting an offer letter depends on how you perform and negotiate in the interview. When you arrive at the negotiation stage, a major portion of your recruitment process is finished correctly.
Sometimes, your hiring manager starts the salary discussion first, and then it goes to HR for approval. Sometimes HR may do it entirely. It depends on what you say and whatnot.
Anyway, the conclusive stage would be your salary negotiation. So here are some actionable tips to get you started.
1. For Newbies
Freshers generally don’t have much to say about their professional expertise. In such cases, recruiters generally have their hands on the negotiation.
But there’s a way out. If you are a fresher then ask for a little more than the offered value. Show interest in the opportunity and your ambitions to back your demand.
If they are not ready to consider your number, you can at least assure yourself that you are getting it as per the industry standards. Once you grab the job, try to outperform what you committed.
If you are an experienced professional, you need to organize the things more carefully before you sit for the discussion or interview.
2. Research to Know Your Worth
Negotiations help when you’ve got reasons to back them. Going with bare expectations is not going to help. Find the ifs and buts you may face from the cost-cutting machines.
Research the competition because you have to look around what other companies are paying for the kind of role you’re getting in. Set your lower limit even before preparing for an interview. Draw up your negotiation strategy likewise.
If you sit across the table without any number in your mind (% and exact figure), you’ve almost lost the conversation with the hiring specialist. So choose the numbers wisely and based on analysis.
3. Show Your Worth
Once your research is done, it’s time to present it properly. You can say “I am asking a fair amount for what I’ll be delivering based on my previous work experience.”
Talk about the salary trends in the domain you’re working on. A geographical aspect may be an added advantage if you’re about to live in an expensive city. But there may be a downside, at least in India if it’s about special economic zones.
Present yourself with ease and do not hesitate to explain the basis of your expectation. And yes, don’t give them a range. If you do, they’ll start from a lower value. As simple as that.
4. Justify Your Craving
Suppose the recruiter tries to convince you for let’s say 15% raise and you are stuck at 30%. If things don’t move ahead, the recruiter may seek the reason behind your expectation.
Needless to say, the recruiter always searches for value-for-money candidates. So, explain what special things you have that sets you apart from the competition.
When it comes to proving yourself, at least during negotiations, you must have something at hand to show the recruiter how you deserve what you are asking for.
Negotiations from the recruiter may always be below what you want. Therefore, it is better to start off the discussion slightly above your expectation and then coming down to the middle of the range you thought of.
5. Set Your Lowest Expectation
There are instances when HR people will ask you questions like: “What is the lowest salary you’ll be comfortable with?”.
This is the trick some of the recruiters use even when you tell them your first number. So how should someone answer that? Is it ethical to ask such questions?
Well, I’ll explain how to respond to such questions at the end of this article.
But be ready to accept the worst-case and define your last point below which you’ll not consider the opportunity. Don’t sell yourself short for the sake of grabbing the opportunity.
6. Pitch Yourself Confident
Remember, the direction in which you want to progress the negotiation starts with your statement. Confidence is the outcome of the experience.
Nobody can predict how the discussion will go, but make sure you sound bold in what you say. Not just the tone of your voice but also your body language.
Practice your pitch in front of the mirror or with a good friend who can give you genuine feedback.
Some companies right before an interview may ask you to fill out certain forms that require you to mention your professional background. They also smartly insert a column to ask for your salary expectations.
If you make a mistake at this point your whole negotiation will be ruined. We’re rushing to add some value thinking that we’ll negotiate if the interview goes well. If you are already prepared to tackle such situations, you’d easily manage what you want.
7. Be Ready With Your Counter-Offer
Don’t forget to keep a note of how medical policies, perks, and other variable items are going to be part of your CTC. Some will have fewer variables, but some will have a huge chunk of them.
For Indian recruitment, try to minimize your variables as much as you can because when you approach for the next job, that recruiter will simply minus the variables from your CTC and then start the negotiation. That way, you end up getting a lower raise.
A situation may come when you feel a big gap between what you desire and what is being offered. Thinking about how you can counter that will surely help you.
Again, this is the worst-case and you must be prepared to take the conversation ahead. Suppose you plan for 8.5 LPA and you get an offer of 6 LPA. You see? the gap is huge.
Answering this way to make a counter-offer would help, “I can understand you. I just want to repeat my interest to grab this position, work on some wonderful projects and foster my skills. I think it is absolutely reasonable for my profile to ask for 8 LPA.“
This is how you should endorse your statement and ask for a raise. You’ll end up getting a high salary and probably winning the negotiation.
8. Take a Pause Before Saying “Yes”
If you think the offered number fits in your pigeonhole, don’t rush to say “Yes” or “I agree”. Take a pause, rethink and convince yourself that this is what you want.
Don’t make a doubtful face during that pause. It shows strange to the recruiter that even after so much discussion, you are still not convinced. Instead, use statements like Let me think…<pause> YES.
It is very important not just for that moment but for your upcoming time with the organization. You should not feel then that you’ve been paid less, reducing your performance and making you hunt for the next opportunity.
9. Dare to Say “No”
Rejection is also a part of the negotiation process. Ultimately, both of you are sitting there to reach an agreement and that the employer already feels you are a suitable candidate for the position.
Don’t be afraid to reject the offer if things are not as you anticipate. As someone once said, Negotiations start once you say NO.
They don’t want to repeat the whole process to fill the position unless they’ve got an option. So, sometimes saying no increases your chances of recruitment and that too on a higher side. This is not a thumb rule though.
If you accept the cheap offer in fear of saying no, you will have to digest that later and these things will affect your performance badly. Remember, a “no” said at the right time is a sign of a clean personality.
10. Ask Questions
Before you ask for a hike, you’ll need to ask yourself a couple of questions.
- Have you shown stability in at least one company?
- Did you outperform the job at hand?
- Have your responsibilities increased over time?
The answer to these questions should be “Yes” in your own evaluation. If you are asked those questions, you must explain them with examples.
If you’re sitting for negotiations, don’t hesitate to ask open-ended questions to maintain the tempo of the conversation and show how you’re prepared to work.
- What does a normal day look like?
- Can you please explain how you calculate and reward variables?
- How did you come to this value? (If you want to ask about their salary calculation part)
- Please give me an overall idea of your leave policy.
- When do you want me to join? Notice Period is your biggest concern while switching jobs so make sure you avoid unnecessary emails.
The recruiter simply can’t answer Yes/No to these open-ended questions. At the same time, you get the important details about your key financial aspects. Two birds in one arrow.
11. Choose Friday/Saturday
This is an awesome technique that often works out. Sometimes, interviews and salary discussions happen on different days due to the lengthy shortlisting process. Walk-in-interview is the best example of this condition.
Recruiters take their time and might ask about your availability for the salary discussion. Simply note what their weekends are and propose a day just before their weekend.
During those days, recruiters often find it difficult to restart the discussion on Monday and don’t want to miss their weekly targets. So, it is highly possible that they’ll somehow agree to pay you what you want. This is not a certain situation but if it arises, you can take full advantage of that.
12. Negotiating With Your Current Employer
“My job is great, the company is great but salary? Terrible”.
If this is something you feel, approach the decision-maker in your current organization before tendering your resignation and ask for the salary hike you want. This is the best way to negotiate when salary is the only concern.
Convince your current employer why you feel this way. Have some comparable data to present and you may get a hike if you snap it. Few companies call it a salary correction also. Most business-oriented companies retain their performing employees. Make sure that you’re one of them before you talk.
This becomes a very challenging case if your current and potential employers (both) agree to your request. You now have to choose one without hurting relations with the other one.
Responding to Some Tricky Situations
What’s Your Current Salary?
First of all, is this question ethical to ask? How do you feel, how will your current salary make them give you an offer?
In Indian jobs at least, this is the most common question. If you look closely, this question is legally banned in other countries e.g. some parts of the US.
As you may say, I am okay with this as my calculations are based on that value only. That is a good thing. But the bad thing is that recruiter’s calculations are also based on the same value.
This is how they close the deal on the lower edge. The actual money allotted for the position may be much higher than what you are getting. They’re simply trying to figure out how short they can buy you.
But the catch is, they can ask you this question even before your interview just to check whether you fit in their arithmetic. Here, you hardly get a chance to ask their budget for the position because you may miss the opportunity right at this point if they think you’re smarter than them. So choose your response based on the situation.
What is the Lowest Salary You’ll Accept?
Sometime back, one of the recruiters asked me this question. A few questions came to my mind. Why he’s asking me this? If I say it also, is it not that he’ll simply consider that value for negotiation?
But instead of answering it with figures he expected, I said “I’ve already mentioned my salary expectation, so let’s proceed with that.“
This question is often asked, at least in pharma recruitments in India. But, I feel it is unethical to ask such a question. Either they should provide you with their range or ask about your target and then proceed.
If you get trapped and tell them the lowest random number, you’ll not get more than that anyhow. So instead of answering it in numbers, it is better to bring the negotiation back on track using the sentence like above.
Negotiation on a Call
Reasons for salary negotiation over the phone:
- If your prospective employer doesn’t have things ready after a face-to-face interview.
- As long as your interview itself is planned over the call.
Let’s see the action plan.
- Book your slot for a time when you are physically and mentally comfortable.
- Choose a quiet place where no one would bother you.
- Check for proper network availability.
- Keep your notepad handy with your salary calculations written on it. Mark low, mid, and high points of your salary values well in advance.
- Draw a scheme for your negotiation strategy.
- Conquer the negotiation.
Here’s an example of how you can make a counter-offer:
Thank you for this opportunity. I would like to talk about your offer. While researching the CTC that industries provide for the same level of experience and qualifications, I was expecting an offer of at least exceeding 10 LPA. Can you please reconsider?
This way you can kick-start in the proper direction. One benefit of this approach is you get time to build up your confidence. These things also help when you face video calls.
Negotiation Over Email
There are instances when a job offer is sent directly to your email. Does it mean, you can’t do anything thereafter? You can reply with your counter-offer. It is just that you should know how to throw your expectation.
For an offer received via email, one of my colleagues once asked the recruiter to resend the revised offer over a call. Now, this is also sometimes helpful depending on how you sync your frequency with the concerned person.
You can follow this procedure to tick all the boxes of a better negotiator over an email.
- Read and analyze your offer letter thoroughly.
- Highlight the points you’ve doubted and comment out to be traceable.
- Schedule a follow-up call by asking your recruiter about their availability like this
Thank you for the offer letter. I read it thoroughly and wanted to confirm a few package-related things with you. I was wondering when you would be able to discuss this or shall I write it out here.
I look forward to hearing from you!
- Discuss and update your marked offer letter.
- Check and verify your revised offer letter.
Situations may be different but the important thing is, you carry each step to predict the next move a recruiter will make.
What’s Next After Negotiation?
The first thing you should know and ideate is your CTC break-up to maximize fixed income and minimize variable income. This ensures you’ll be paid higher the next time you change jobs.
Once you have successfully negotiated a higher salary, you need to prioritize a lot of important things.
- Resignation to your current employer
- Smooth transition of your current responsibilities
- Avoid big roles during your notice period (playing it safe)
- Learn about the new role and develop the required skills in the meantime
- Keep in touch with your next employer for any follow-ups
- Happily exit current job without hurting business relations
Unfortunately, negotiation is a complex process with a bunch of strategies, techniques, and tactics. So, don’t forget to balance your thought process and practice-out quite often. Even better, it pays off one day.
Follow these strategies to set up your negotiation process and convert them into actions and results. You’ve now got an idea of how to do it right. What do you think about these strategies? Do you want to add something to this? Comment below.