For those not changing jobs regularly, salary negotiations with prospective employers can be a difficult situation to navigate. Setting an unrealistic expectation can potentially scare off a future employer yet setting the bar too low can leave candidates feeling undervalued. Preparation is key, mitigating against the potential pit falls you can face while ensuring you put yourself in the best possible position to be hired. Here are a few tips to help you prepare:

Do your research

The recruitment market is constantly in flux as wages adjust with employer needs. Salary negotiations require a solid foundation of information to make informed decisions. To accurately determine your own salary expectations, you must first understand the market wage average for your experience level. Take some time prior to making applications to explore job adverts, taking note of the salaries offered for your desired position within the geographical location you are looking for work. Additionally, assess your own skills, qualifications and unique contributions to determine your true market value. Armed with this knowledge, you will enter negotiations with a clear understanding of what is reasonable and competitive.

Evaluate your own career development

Your own career development is an important consideration when determining your salary expectations. If you have been in the same position for a long time, you may have gained considerable experience and training that could result in a larger salary increase. The reverse may also be true. Therefore, having a reasoned assessment of your own career growth can help set reasonable expectations while also assisting your interview preparation.

Demonstrating your value to the organization is key in salary negotiations. Document your professional accomplishments and milestones, aligning them with the goals and objectives of the company. By showcasing how your contributions have positively impacted the team or bottom line, you build a compelling case for why you deserve the proposed salary. This evidence not only strengthens your position but also provides a basis for justifying a higher compensation.

Create a strategic plan for the discussion

Approaching the negotiation strategically is essential for success. Set the right tone from the beginning by expressing enthusiasm for the role and gratitude for the opportunity. Plan for various scenarios, including counteroffers and compromises, so you are prepared for any direction the conversation may take. Additionally, consider non-monetary requests and trade-offs that may be valuable to you, such as flexible work arrangements or professional development opportunities. A well-thought-out strategy enhances your negotiation prowess and increases the likelihood of a favourable outcome.

With your strategy in place, you can begin to prepare an answer to the question ‘what are your salary expectations?’ Consider the best way to frame your answer. For example, you may wish to explain that you hope to get better acquainted with the role during the interview process but more generally suggest the range you have determined.

Try to avoid common mistakes, such as stating an exact figure or stating an unreasonably high salary. These scenarios can risk deterring a potential employer from continuing the hiring process due to having no reasonable hope of meeting your salary expectations.

Be confident, concise and polite

When actively negotiating with a potential employer it is important your arguments are well reasoned and concise. Effective communication is pivotal. Develop a persuasive pitch that succinctly outlines your achievements, skills and the value you bring to the organization. Anticipate potential objections or questions from the employer and prepare well-thought-out responses. Refine your negotiation language to be assertive yet collaborative, creating a positive atmosphere for discussion. If you can justify your salary expectations politely, not only are you more likely to achieve your expectations, but you will also portray confidence and an ability to be professional.

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