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  Should you put out your figure first or should the recruiter do so? Should you negotiate at the point of an interview or after your offer letter is issued?
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For some reason, career professionals seem to have reservations about this topic. We could argue with valid and proven points for both sides as they have their pros and cons. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach when it comes to negotiation and hiring processes. When recruiters or hiring managers ask what your salary expectations are, it can serve as a pointer that you are being considered for the role and on the other hand, could be a test. However, it doesn’t translate otherwise if they do not ask you either. You almost cannot tell if/when you will be asked. It largely depends on your recruiter so get prepared at every point to defend your figure, so do not put yourself on the hinge. Negotiation is a skill and yes, it can be learnt. Working with hiring managers is not any different from the everyday negotiations you make in the market and on the streets. Going into your interview without a figure in mind or understanding of terms in employee compensation like gross and net salary, taxes etc can leave you clueless. You might not be so lucky to get through without having to answer the question. Not every hiring manager will be gracious enough to explain succinctly, it is not a bad thing, it is business. They are doing their jobs in the organization’s best interest – to cut costs, you on the other hand should also look to earn more. If you believe your ‘skillset’ is worth it, don’t be scared to present it once asked, but in all your doings, be realistic.
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  • Make research. Some google searches here and there might not cut it. You may need to ask a number of people especially when you are a newbie. Check out platforms like Glassdoor, LinkedIn etc.
  • Always bear in mind that your recruiter has a figure in mind also. If the figures are not so close in range, it could affect you. Make sure you do not over-sell, or at the very worst, sell yourself short.
  • When the recruiter presents a figure first, in most cases, it is usually slightly below their budget as they would think you should bid higher so do not be afraid to bid higher if it is below expectations.
  • Come up with a range. For instance, if the least you can go is a $100 when negotiating, you can put forward a range between $100-$120. Aim high but be realistic.
  • Defend your figure, do not beg for it or be too personal. Mention possible job expenses you will be incurring like internet bills, transportation, moving expenses etc, communicate the role responsibilities, the working conditions and even your ‘skillset’ again. This is not to inform the recruiter, they already know these things. It is to present a solid stance that you understand your role perfectly.
  • Understand the components of a salary. Base rates (the amount of cash), benefits(time off, insurance, working conditions), compensation, company bonuses and perks.
  • Be flexible, you might be offered compensation in other types of allowance like insurance, shares/stocks etc. In cases where you are not totally sure of the value, feel free to ask the recruiter or get them to give you some time to process things and make your findings.
  • Don’t pop the question first. One thing you should never consider is to ask for the money first, let the recruiter present it. You are only a leg in, you don’t have the job yet.
The popular question, “What are your salary expectations?” from your recruiter can meet you unaware. It’s not a bad thing at all, sometimes, they just want to hear what you think. Every party wants to walk away smiling that they sealed a deal in their favour. It is always argued that those who negotiate their salaries always earn better than those who do not, so don’t be scared to start negotiating. Featured Image Source: Human Resources Online
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This article was first published on 7th October 2021


Grace Christos Is a content creator with a proven track record of success in content marketing, online reputation management, sales strategy, and so much more.

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