How to negotiate salary during interviews?

Tips on how you can negotiate the salary during the interview process to give you an edge.
Submitted by Mehak Aggarwal, on January 25, 2023

You might have heard it is not possible to negotiate the salary that is offered to you during an interview, especially if it is the first time you are appearing for an interview. This is a myth. The truth is, it is possible to negotiate the salary. There is a way to go about it, and if you crack that, you will be able to get a better offer than what is put on the table.

It can be hard for most people to gauge the situation to understand how and when you can counteroffer during the interview process. With the right amount of confidence and preparation, you will be able to speak up when the opportunity does arise. Here are a couple of tips on how you can negotiate the salary during the interview process to give you an edge:

1. Understand the interviewer

To talk about the negotiation, it is important to understand the person taking the interview. The person sitting across from the table will negotiate, not the company. It will be different to counteroffer with an HR than it would be with a boss. Talk about your expectation and sell your pitch, but do not overdo it to the point that you end up annoying the interviewer with unreasonable demands. You want them to understand why they would benefit from employing you rather than one of the 10 other people who are interviewing for the same position.

2. Understand your situation and the offer

If you are unemployed and in search of a job, it is important to secure at least one job to fall back on. This has two sides to it. One, if you secure a job too quickly, the employer would want you to give an answer at the earliest. Two, if you want to keep your options by applying to multiple companies, you need to gauge the timings well enough so that all the interview results come close to each other and you can choose what is best suited for you. This is a balancing game, so you need to strike the right balance. You can also negotiate the salary offers in all companies that you apply to and then decide which company of your choice is willing to give you the best package.

3. Avoid giving ultimatums

No one likes to be given an ultimatum. You can't make them do what you want by putting them in a situation where it's your way or the highway. It may even be the other way around, where you will be given an ultimatum. In such cases, downplay the situation. It is possible that the interviewer realizes that the deal could be off because of the ultimatum and will want to take it back. Negotiating a salary is a to-and-fro process, where you will put in an offer and get a counteroffer in return. It is not necessary that you will be okay with what is being offered or that the interviewer will be okay with what you are expecting. This talk has to go smoothly without being stubborn on your side of the deal.

4. What is non negotiable today, may be negotiable tomorrow

Over time, the interests and offers may change. If a person does not agree with what you are asking today, it is not set in stone that he will never agree to it. Any situation may change with time. If the interviewer is interested in employing you, he may take some time to reconsider your offer or at least be willing to meet you halfway when given some time to think. Do not sell yourself short by agreeing to a bare minimum salary if your value is much more than what is being offered. In some time, you might be in a better place to persuade your employer for a better offer. Encourage the interviewer to revisit any unresolved issues later.

5. Do not negotiate just for the sake of it

Don't overestimate yourself by negotiating just to show your negotiation skills. If it is truly important to you and you see the chance, go for it. However, don't do it if what is being offered is good enough as per your experience. Unnecessarily fighting over money may leave a terrible impression, and if your interviewer has gone well, you may potentially lose your chance at getting the job. Understand what you deserve and how much you should ask for, and do not try to overachieve.

6. Understand the constraints of the interviewer

You need to figure out where they are flexible and where they are not. The interviewer may like you and they might want to give you what you deserve, but understand multiple factors affect the salary offer. Every company has salary caps, and no amount of negotiation can help you get an offer over that salary cap. If you come with a lot of years of experience, are extremely good at the job, and can prove to be an asset to the company, the interviewer may consider your offer. However, in most cases, if the company you are applying for is small, likely, they will not be able to offer you a lot. It is extremely important to understand the constraints, so you can put in an offer that will be okay with both you and the company.

7. Keep a specific salary figure in mind

Before you go into the interview room, keep a salary figure in mind. If you don't know what salary you desire, it is harder to negotiate the salary with the interviewer. State a figure that is a bit higher than what you expect, because in case the interviewer puts a counteroffer, you will reach closer to what was in your head going in. Your negotiation skills also come into play during this process. You know the person sitting across from you will not straight away accept what you ask for, because in a reverse situation, the interviewer is also stating a figure lesser than what they are willing to pay. Understand and gauge the situation well before stating your expectations.

8. Be aware of your strengths and weaknesses

To negotiate your salary, you need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. It is easier to sell yourself to the person sitting in front of you by highlighting your strengths, experiences, and knowledge. It is important to show the interviewer why and how you will add value to the company if hired, and why you deserve the amount you are quoting. To best understand your strengths and weaknesses, do a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats). Work on your weaknesses to be better. If you highlight your strengths in the interview, you will have a better chance at negotiating the salary.

9. Learn the industry standards

Before you go into the interview, learn about the market salary. This will help you understand an acceptable salary standard, and add to the negotiation process. You don't want to ask for an unreasonably high salary that the interviewer may not be able to accept. You want to be in a frame that is acceptable as per the market and achievable for the interviewer to agree to. Another benefit of being aware of the industry standards is that you will be able to put up strong arguments to back up your salary expectation. It will also show that you are genuinely interested, and will add value to the company in the future.

10. Present a strong argument

To negotiate well, you need to be able to present a strong case as to why you deserve what you expect. Highlight your past success and your experiences and skills. Today, there is a shortage of skilled professionals in a lot of companies, which is why companies are willing to pay well to those who will add value to them. You can't just ask for something if you don't have a strong argument to back you up. How you present yourself matters a lot and will affect the outcome of the negotiation.

11. Understand the tact and timing

There is a time and place for everything. You can't bring up money right at the beginning of the interview or put it in your resume. First and foremost, let the interviewer understand you and show them why you are a perfect fit for the role. Express your interest in the position and the company, and let them understand your value before you bring up the salary. Don't come across as someone who is just in it for the money. Let the interviewer bring up the salary, and then read the room to understand when the right time is to talk about your expected salary range. If you remain flexible, you might be able to reach a point that is acceptable to both you and the interviewer.

12. Don't be afraid to negotiate

Make good conversation with your interviewer, and keep the mood light. In most cases, the salary would be brought up at some point during the interview, and you can bring up your expectation. Sometimes the interviewer might not bring up the offer, but if you feel comfortable discussing money, don't be afraid. If you are open and honest, it will save a lot of time for both parties involved. If you feel you should wait to discuss money, trust your gut and don't bring it up at the moment. When you do discuss, you should give a salary range instead of a fixed amount.

13. Discuss your salary range with confidence

You have already done your homework, so be confident in your knowledge. Be calm yet authoritative, and don't try to beat around the bush. Being confident shows that you have done your research well, and that you are serious. Be ready with answers, because the interviewer may ask you counter questions. Your potential salary is not dependent on the salary you got in your previous organization. If you were getting a lesser salary in your previous company, it does not sentence you to a lower bracket of the salary range. Your confidence and skill are what are going to get you what you deserve. Project a level of confidence that will impress the interviewer, but do not put them off by being overconfident.

14. Negotiate clearly, but politely

You need to find a balance between showing that you understand where they are coming from, but on the other hand, you want to emphasize your points too. Don't be aggressive to get the interviewer to agree to your terms and conditions. You want to politely put across your point of view and should back up why you deserve the amount you are asking for. There is a way to put your point across clearly while being polite and respectful. Find and understand the right approach to go about the negotiation process. It is also better to tell the interviewer what you are expecting before taking up the job so you don't feel dissatisfied about not fighting for what you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Know your worth, and don't be afraid to ask for what you deserve. Remember, you don't want to be unreasonable, but you also don't want to compromise. If you know your experience and skill I will add value to the company you are interviewing for, remember that they might not want to lose you. How to present yourself and your case matters a lot and holds a lot of weight. The key is to strike the right balance between your expectations and those of the interviewer and go about it the right way. There is a time and place for everything, so be fully prepared before you go in. These are a couple of tips that can help you up your negotiation game that may come in handy, especially if it is your first interview.

Comments and Discussions!

Load comments ↻

Copyright © 2024 All rights reserved.