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Talking about money is hard

*yeah, I know*

But what is more difficult and nerve-racking is discussing how much you want to earn during an interview.

No matter how prepared you are for your interview and I guess you are, once it comes to the issue of discussing what you want to earn, most people go numb

It is at this stage you can determine if you will be miserable in your new role especially if you later discover that there are people in your same grade level that are earning a little more than you.

This is why it is important at all times as you prepare for your interview to come to grasp with the fact that at a particular point during your job search process, you are going to talk about what you feel is the right salary for you.

A little note of warning “It is not a bad thing to ask for what you feel you are worth” during your discussion with a recruiter or hiring manager. Most recruiters expect it so you might be doing yourself a disfavor if you just accept the first amount thrown at you.

Now that we have covered this critical aspect, let us look at expert tips that can help you negotiate a better salary for yourself during an interview.

1. Be Prepared

The truth is that as much as we dread it or as much as we wish that was not the case; the recruiters are likely to ask you what you want to be paid or give you an amount and then wait for your response. The best idea then would be to be prepared. You can never go wrong with the proper preparation.

That is why the boys in boys scout would tell you to always be prepared and sages would tell you that the one, who fails to plan, plans to fail. You might be someone who thinks on his feet and does well with it, imagine how great you would do if you thought it through and prepared your answer before you get before the recruiter(s).

To prepare properly, you would need to do careful research using online tools like Salary, CareerBliss, PayScale, and GlassDoor. You can take the time to ask friends, family and even go on forums to ask the average salary of the position you are applying for or that of the company because you have to bear in mind that the size of the company would also determine how much they staff.

2. Show Enthusiasm

You do not want to go carrying a sad face because you have been asked to negotiate your salary. It might surprise you to know but the recruiters do not want to be rejected as well. They want to know you are excited about the prospect of working for them.

And you can communicate that feeling to them by looking enthusiastic about every part of the interview, the part of negotiating salary inclusive even though you do not care for it. Do not also carry a long face if the salary is smaller than you expected. Any offer is better than no offer. So if they name a price you think is below your expectation, instead of showing how you feel about that on your face, you might want to cheerfully explain why you deserve better.

3. Do Be the First to Bring It up During the Interview

For the initial stage of the interview, do not go bringing up salary. It communicates a wrong message to the interviewers. Try as much as possible to understand that first, it is about your responsibilities and what you would be adding to the company.

Till you are sure you would get the job, stay away from salary talks if you are not asked explicitly. When you get the job, you would discuss salary with the company, keep negotiations till then. Let them see how much they need you before you start asking for pay.

4. Know Your Value

It might be important to note that the purpose of an interview generally is to sell yourself, so just like a marketer or a salesman would haggle prices with a potential buyer to get them to but the products at the price they are worth, so also it is your job to portray yourself in such a way they would be interested in buying.

If a marketer does not know the worth of the product, he would most likely make a mess of the sales, so would you too if you don’t know your worth. The truth is that your interview from the start is a foundation for negotiating your salary. It is only if you do well that you would have the confidence to negotiate better for yourself.

You are likely to accept anything they offer if you did not perform well or you do not know your value. Through research, you would understand how qualified you are for the job and you would be able to incorporate this in your research.

think and writedown your goals and core values

5. Prepare a Counteroffer

A lot of job seekers think it is rude to counter the offer offered by the recruiters or they think it would make the company lose interest in them. If anything, they are expecting you to ask. So if they do not urge you to negotiate, you can ask if the salary is negotiable before you give your argument. So be prepared for a counteroffer. The research you would have done beforehand would have given you an idea of your minimum salary.

Remember not to ask too much, do not let your greed or your needs get the better of you, it is usually counterproductive. If the salary is not negotiable, you can focus on getting a better deal for other bonuses like vacation time, relocation expenses, signing bonuses among others.

And even if they allow negotiation, you do want to talk about all the bonuses. Let them let you know how they go about it in the company and negotiate your way into better bonus offers.

6. Keep Your Negotiation Professional

The company is not the cause of your problems and therefore do not have the responsibility of solving all your problems. Sure, money would go a long way in solving your financial issues but that is not the problem of the company.

Whatever argument you give, should focus on the value you would be adding to the company, and not the list of things you need money for. Arrange your thoughts before the interview and know how you would negotiate when the time comes.

Mention your qualifications or skill and how all these would help the company. Whatever you do, keep it professional, stick to the values.

7. About Salary History

Many companies ask this question, so be prepared to answer it. Be honest because they can confirm, no point lying about it. Try also not to be defensive about it because chances are you would want something better than what you got before and that is likely why you are changing jobs. They know that so no point trying so hard to defend it.

If they do not ask, however, do not talk about it.

8. Do Not Name Your Number First

In a negotiation, the one who gives a number first likely loses the negotiation. A lot of interviewers try to corner jobseekers into offering what they would accept. As much as you can, avoid giving it so you can have room to negotiate. Tell them instead you are negotiable if they ask of the amount you would accept.

9. Do Not Take It Personal

Whatever the case, they made you an offer, the fact you do not like it is not a leverage to act ugly. If it is too low, thank them for their offer and decline politely. Do not burn bridges to places you might need later. And be careful before you think you would not need to walk through the doors you banged. No one knows tomorrow. The deal is professional. Keep it that way.

10. Take Your Time

If the job offer is written, take your time to go through it. Ask for time if you need to because it could be quite a lot to swallow at once and you do not want to decide under pressure. Of course, you have to understand not to keep them waiting. There is a job position to fill and keeping them waiting might mean you would lose the job. At most, take twenty-four hours. That is more than enough time to make a decision.

Salary negotiations can be challenging but you can scale through. More like you have done it. As far as you can do your homework and prepare properly, negotiating your next salary should be a piece of cake.


Written By
Emmanuel Adegboye is the community manager at CareerNaija, a platform dedicated to helping people build their dream career. He is a Career coach and avid chess player.

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