How to Negotiate a Higher Salary: 7 Ways to Beat the HR Mind Games

Great news! You’ve made it through all the interview rounds, and now a job offer is on the table.

…But the journey is not over yet. It may now be time to begin salary negotiations.

Salary negotiation is a skill, and, like all skills, it takes practice to hone. However, it’s well worth doing so, as negotiating can earn or save you money in less time than just about any other method.

For a lot of people, understanding how to negotiate a higher salary can be one of the most daunting prospects of their entire career. Despite this, there are many ways of preparing for your meeting with HR which will minimize your worries and help you realize not only your worth but also exactly what salary would be appropriate.

Many candidates find it difficult to negotiate for a higher salary. Some don’t even realize that negotiations are a normal part of the interview process. But don’t worry! — today we delve into the top 7 ways to beat the HR mind games and negotiate for a fair and optimal salary.

1) Know your value

Your value to the company goes far beyond the position you’re applying for. See beyond the title. A senior marketing manager with 10 years of experience, proficiency in programming and an entrepreneurial background is worth more than a senior marketing manager with only 5 years of experience and little else extra to bring to the table. Those skills you’ve been developing in the periphery? They have objective value — so don’t neglect to include them in your calculations. Your value to the company should be based on more than one year of contributions. Think about how you could improve this business in the future, then work out how to negotiate a higher salary accordingly.

2) Think beyond base salary

Negotiation is a numbers game, and your base salary doesn’t necessarily define the rules. Would you be willing to lower your ask by $3,000 in exchange for a more robust health plan? This is an example of the kind of possibilities you may very well have to consider. Many peripheral benefits are negotiable, and you can even get creative: why not request extra vacation days or flexible work-from-home time? Think about what’s really important to you in a job, beyond just money — then go forth and negotiate for it!

3) Research, research, research!

Before you come up with a figure to take into your negotiation, make some calculations based on research. You’ll come up with a much more appropriate figure than you would if you were simply guessing based on your own experience. You’ll also be able to back up your salary request with facts and evidence, which has the added benefit of demonstrating just how extensively you’ve prepared. Be sure to research the average salary not only for your target position but also at this specific company and in your area.

4) Explain your reasoning

A little explanation for your requested figure can go a long way, especially if you’re asking for more than market price for the position. Justify precisely why you’re worth the extra money to this company, and be as objective as possible. Even if your request is higher than your potential employer would like, they will absolutely admire the forethought and your capacity to understand precisely how to negotiate a higher salary.

5) Convey confidence

This is absolutely crucial. If you don’t look like you believe what you’re saying, why should they? Keep your posture open, straight, large. Refrain from excessive or frantic body language movements. Maintain eye contact. If you can remember to do so, it’s also effective to drop your tone of voice as this makes you sound more authoritative. Speak deliberately, professionally and sincerely.

6) Disregard your previous salary

One critical mistake when deciding how to negotiate a higher salary is using your previous salary as a base and either requesting your old salary plus a small percentage or just settling for what you were on previously. Unless nothing has changed about you and you’re working for the same company in the same position, this is counterproductive. Don’t base your calculations on your old salary. Instead, look at your objective value to the company and the evidence you uncovered in your research. If possible, don’t even mention your old salary.

7) Be ambitious — but be prepared for rejection

If you don’t ask, you don’t get. When you request a salary negotiation, you should have a salary range you’re looking for, so ask on the high end of that range, with a little extra padding in anticipation of some negotiation. There’s a chance your high offer will be accepted, but temper your expectations by preparing for rejection. The worst that can happen is you get a no and have to negotiate.

Tips for Writing a Salary Negotiation Email

If you’ve just received a job offer over email, crafting a quick message is the best way to strike while the iron is hot for salary negotiation.

As a general matter, it’s best to keep your salary negotiation email polite, direct and professional. Demonstrate that you are thoughtful and organized and that you respect their time. Strike a tone of thankfulness for the opportunity. Avoid taking a pushy or entitled tone at all costs. The hiring manager needs to see that you’re genuinely excited and grateful. Therefore, use language about working together: you’re excited to be working together to find a salary and benefits package that is suitable for both parties.

The following template is a great starting point because it’s brief and to-the-point, ideal for busy recruiters. It is polite, clear and direct.

Dear [name],

Thank you for offering me the position. I’m so excited about the opportunity and I can’t wait to start.

For starting salary, I am looking for something closer to [specific number]. The reason why is [specific reason]. Is there wiggle room?

Remember, this template is only a starting point. Further negotiations may come later, but, by putting in the research now and distilling your ask into a short and sweet salary negotiation email, you put yourself on the way to achieving the top-dollar salary you hope for.

What If Your Counteroffer is Rejected?

If the hiring manager does not accept your counteroffer during a salary negotiation, don’t be afraid of demonstrating why you believe your request is justified. Show how the company will benefit from your expertise by citing examples of how you have added value to your former workplaces, such as streamlining processes or finding creative ways to save money.

There is no single textbook method when it comes to how to negotiate a higher salary, and every hiring manager is different. It’s best, therefore, to be situationally aware. This should not be a battle or an argument; it is a discussion with the aim to see one another’s points of view to produce the best outcome for your career. Show your future employers you’ve seriously evaluated and studied every facet of their offer and you’ll have a better chance of starting your new job with the pay package you deserve.

Salary Negotiation Doesn’t Have to be Daunting

There’s no need to be anxious when considering how to negotiate a higher salary. At the end of the day, you are just as valuable to your company — or prospective company — as they are to you. Salary negotiations are part and parcel of every employee’s career at some stage. As long as you’re prepared, confident, amiable, professional and sincere, you won’t go far wrong. There’s no guarantee that you’ll successfully land a larger salary, but you’d do yourself a great disservice to not even attempt to do so.

At Links International, we understand how daunting the prospect of salary negotiations can be. That is why we go further than any other recruitment agency you will encounter to offer a broad range of solutions, from visa processing to payroll and retained and contingent recruitment. Our award-winning services are designed to cover every aspect of your HR processes and have made us a leader in HR outsourcing in Asia.
Check out our useful job search and salary guide to see what prospects are out there for you and your career, and to help you know your value and worth within your respective field. You can also get in touch with us today and one of our friendly team will be delighted to help you with any of your job-related queries.