How to negotiate your salary: tips and examples

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Every once in a while, life throws you the chance at having some hard conversations. A salary negotiation with your HR, for instance, is one among them. Picture yourself changing jobs or negotiating a raise in your present job, you’re probably going to be asking for a little more money than what’s on offer. Here are some salary negotiation tips you can use to negotiate yourself a good package.

There may be instances wherein you may feel like your work is undervalued. These feelings may stem from your being paid a salary that you feel is insufficient in terms of compensating you for the hard work you put in. 

Before you read on, bear in mind that these are simply suggestions. Your tone of voice, the niceties you employ and the actual work you do go a long way in impacting how receptive your HR or manager is to your requests. 

Understanding the Importance of Salary Negotiations

Salary negotiations serve as an important aspect of advancing your career. This is because of the fact that a salary highlights the extent to which a company appreciates and values you, your work and your skills. Further, it clarifies the extent to which your company is willing to support you and ensure you have an adequate work-life balance. 

Salary Negotiation Tips 

Tip #1. Start out on the right foot

You don’t to be best friends with your HR, or take them out to lunch and stuff. But it would help your case if you maintained good relations.

In cases where it’s a new job, and therefore new HR that you’re negotiating with, make sure to start the relationship on the right note. Here’s some stuff to bear in mind while you actually ask for that raise:

  • Ask for what you feel you deserve without coming across as greedy
  • Be objective about how your current salary isn’t serving certain specific needs (Like, maybe you have a loan to pay)
  • Be persistent without coming across as inflexible

You could try practising this conversation with multiple people before actually sitting down with your employer, so you can understand how others may perceive your thoughts. 

Tip #2. Explain Why You Deserve What You Want 

Generally, apart from stuff like living costs, a good reason to punch above your weight while asking for a raise, is to convince them that your skill on the job has improved, and that they need to pay you for your experience. This is also a great point in time to give them a sense of your own potential growth in the role. In other words, they’re paying you for what you can be. 

A fine line exists between being likeable and explaining why you are worthy of more. Instead of simply stating what you want (for instance, a 10 per cent salary hike), explain why this hike is justified. Without any justifications, making any demands may be unwise. Proceed with caution here, as you do not want to come across as arrogant. 

Tip #3. Understand Your Employer’s Point of View

More than the company or organisation, it is the person who’s negotiating. Before beginning to negotiate, consider the individual you are speaking to. While an HR representative may be more open to details relating to an offer, a prospective boss may wrongly judge you for what you say, and how you say it.

That said, an HR professional may be wary of providing you with too much leeway if they have to hire multiple employees and given the financial appraisals that each new employee will ask for. On the other hand, a boss or manager may be more receptive to a special request as he or she will directly benefit from your working with them.

You must figure out what your employer’s constraints are and understand where they’d be flexible and where they wouldn’t be. The greater your understanding, the higher your chances of proposing options that will be approved.

Tip #4. Be Ready to Answer Some Tough Questions

Be ready to answer questions that can make you uncomfortable, or ones that leave you feeling more defensive. Work towards answering these questions with sincerity and without coming off as an unattractive candidate. Further, make sure not to lose all your bargaining chips in the process of answering these questions. 

These conversations can get a bit messy if you’re being asked too many personal questions. While they may be well-intentioned, personal stuff is still personal stuff. And you need to be sure of exactly how much you want to reveal. 

That said, the personal information that’s generally solicited is usually relevant to your salary negotiation. So, answer them with honesty, and be rational while at it. 

Tip #5. The Importance of Simultaneously Negotiating Multiple Issues

If you’ve been made an offer and have some concerns regarding it, it makes more sense to propose all your changes in one fell swoop. By going through each of your problems serially, you may end up leading the negotiations on for too long, which isn’t ideal for you.

To understand this better, consider an example of what you shouldn’t do. Imagine saying - “I find that the current proposed salary is low. Can you do something about it?”
This isn’t particularly helpful. Especially if there are a whole bunch of other such statements you’re about to make one after the other.

Highlight the importance of each factor that you want to be addressed. Else, the things that you want least may be compromised because they are the easiest to provide, and all other concerns may remain untouched. This could result in you being presented with an offer that’s not much better than what you currently have, along with a negotiating partner who thinks they’ve done their bit. 

Tip #6. Outline a Salary Range Instead of a Single Figure

Rather than stating a clear figure, you’d like to earn, provide a salary range that works for you. This should be based on what others operating within the same field as you currently earn. This data can be gleaned from your own personal research and can be used to help you negotiate. By being flexible, you are in a better position to negotiate and can reach a compromise far more easily.

Tip #7. Be Aware of Where You Stand 

Do your research. Negotiating a salary is largely circumstantial and highly contingent on your current employment status. Should you currently be unemployed and seek work, you must have a realistic approach to what your earnings are likely to be. Your new salary may be closer to your old salary and may even fall below it. On the other hand, if you’ve been employed for a while and have a wide range of skills, you may be in a better position to negotiate a higher salary. 

Tip #8. “No” Doesn’t Mean Game Over

Rather than shying away from rejection, a negotiation doesn’t always begin until someone says “no”. After all, a large part of negotiating entails having a discussion wherein an agreement is sought with someone whose interests aren’t perfectly in sync with yours. Therefore the word “ no” is simply part of the process and not entirely indicative of how you’ve performed thus far. 

Examining the Broader Picture – Salary isn’t the Only Negotiation 

When negotiating your salary, it is important to remember that you are negotiating for more than just the money. You’re also negotiating the perks you receive by virtue of holding a job. Therefore, you should consider negotiating for some of the perks mentioned below such that your salary is more encompassing in its scope. 

  • Childcare – Raising a child can be financially draining and particularly time-consuming. By negotiating for childcare, working parents can potentially secure an easier working arrangement. 
  • Flexibility – Some people may prefer to be provided with a work-from-home option and be given the opportunity to work while travelling or according to a different schedule. These options may even seem more attractive in comparison to a higher salary. 
  • Health and Fitness – Apart from medical insurance, you should consider negotiating for additional benefits like fitness stipends that provide you with a gym membership. You should also enquire whether your company provides therapy or counselling for its employees as mental health is equally important.
  • Professional Development, Training and Certifications – Not all companies provide their employees with professional development or certification programs. If you are career-oriented and aspire towards better positions in the future, negotiating for these development resources is important. 

While the money you are paid serves as one of the most important factors to consider when assessing an employment offer, the aforementioned compensation suggestions should also be considered for fair salary negotiation. 

Salary Negotiation Example to Work With

Consider the following example that you can use to broach the topic of salary negotiation with your employer.

Thank you for sharing your job offer. I am pretty excited to work with your team, and would like to thank you for your considering me for this role. Before accepting your offer, I’d like to go over a few details.

As I have mentioned before, I have over eight years of experience in this field and have occupied leadership positions for the past four years. I’ve received a bunch of accolades in my previous roles, and have helped the company secure a 15 per cent higher annual revenue. 

Keeping in mind my experience and skill-set, I’d like to propose a revised compensation that falls in the range of ₹11,50,000 to ₹12,00,000. This is slightly higher in comparison to your offer of ₹10,00,000. 

With my skills and experience, I can bring tremendous value to your company, and I am confident in growing the business.

So with due consideration, I request you to reconsider at the current compensation offered, and I’d be more than happy to take up any questions you may have.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, salary negotiations can be understood as the discussions that take place between yourself and a representative of the current (or prospective) company you work for. An employee belonging to the HR department of your office will be present during this conversation if not the primary individual with whom you wish to speak (like your prospective manager).

Contrary to popular belief, salary negotiations don’t have to be hard and bitter conversations. You have to believe that you’re both working towards what’s best for you. A productive salary negotiation transpires when individuals acknowledge and accept that employees should receive an adequate payment that aligns with their worth. 

At Fi, we’ve always looked at each of our employees as more than just employees. Each of us is building the future of banking and fintech together. And that reflects in what we pay our team. From policies and perks to ESOPs, we’d like to think we’re fair and to a great extent, among the best places to work at. Looking to work with us? Check out our open roles here.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1. What are 5 tips for negotiating salary?

A1. Five fast tips for negotiating a salary are as follows.

  1. Do your best to be likeable
  2. Explain why you deserve what you want 
  3. Understand your employer’s point of view
  4. Be ready to answer tough questions
  5. Simultaneously negotiate multiple issues rather than tackling them in serial order

Q2. What should I say in a salary negotiation?

A2. When negotiating your salary, be sure to include the following.

  • The salary range you seek.
  • Simultaneously negotiate multiple issues rather than tackling them in serial order.
  • Rather than simply stating everything it is that you want, highlight the importance of each factor you want to be addressed.

Q3. How much can you negotiate salary?

A3. You can negotiate your salary best by figuring out who you will be negotiating with and understanding where they are coming from. By accurately pinpointing the areas where they are likely to be flexible and where they aren’t willing to compromise, you will be in a better position to ask for things that are more likely to be acquiesced to.

Q4. How do I prepare for a salary negotiation?

A4. Prepare to negotiate your salary in the following ways.

  • Do adequate research on current salaries for your skill set, qualifications, and job title such that you can outline a fair salary range for your employer.
  • Practice how to come across as likeable while getting your point across by having practice discussions with your friends
  • Be prepared to answer difficult questions without losing your cool or by losing your bargaining chips.
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