What can seem like the perfect job can quickly turn into a nightmare if it doesn’t come with the right salary. After all, we all have to pay the rent and keep up with the bills.
is a very important skill, but it’s not all about haggling. The bulk of your negotiating strategy should actually be sorted before you’ve even spoken to your interviewer.
1. Research, research, research
Research is key to making sure you get the salary you want and you don’t price yourself out of the market by going too high - or even too low (yes, this can also be a bad idea!). But how can you find this information?
Lucky for you, we recently introduced a salary checker right here on totaljobs that lets you see how much people are paid for any job you choose in any location. This way, you’ll be able to see whether your expectations are realistic. Give it a go and see how you compare.
2. Be realistic
So you’ve found out what other jobs pay within your chosen industry, but if you don’t use this information wisely, you’ll quickly lose any advantage it might have given you. Just as you would never apply for a job that is really out of your reach, you should also never target a salary that doesn't fit your job role. Let's face it, an administrative assistant is never going to pull in a £30K salary just as a managing director shouldn't undersell themselves at less than the going rate.
3. Ask the question
One of the thorniest issues around salary is when you should bring it up. Some people argue that you should never mention money until your interviewer does, while other people think that taking the bull by the horns will make you seem dynamic and assertive. We say that you should play it by ear: never make it your first question at the end of an interview, but if the job ad had no salary details then it won’t do you any harm to start talking figures.
If you're unsure then take a look at our interview advice for more tips. And remember that if you're looking for sales jobs or financial jobs, they may even think it's a bad thing if you're not willing to talk numbers.
4. The whole truth
Unless you’re discussing your first full-time job, it’s highly unlikely that your prospective employer won't ask you about your current salary. We know it’s very tempting to bump up your current wage to boost your chances of getting more money... Stop! 99% of employers will check your salary claims when they take up your references, so if you’ve lied you can expect all sorts of trouble. Unless you want to risk being sacked days into a new job - never a good look - stick to the truth.
5. Negotiating excellence
We’ve purposely avoided going into too much detail regarding the art of negotiation, mainly because this is a huge subject. However, the basic rules to follow are: stick to your guns as much as you can, be assumptive wherever possible and, if all else fails, be prepared to walk away if you don’t get the figure you’re after. And if you’ve followed the first four tips on this page, then you should have a perfect basis for negotiation.