Doing The Salary Negotiation Cha-Cha


Salary negotiation is the art of ‘win-win’.

It’s a delicate dance, as two partners move, preferably ‘in sync’ and in the same direction. With neither stepping on the other’s toes in the process, the movement is smooth and dignified, and leaves both parties smiling as the music stops.

Well, that’s the ideal.

To avoid any clumsy stumbling, here are some things worth considering when the time comes to tread that potentially dangerous ground – negotiating your salary.

What you should do when you are offered the job 

Your résumé has done its work and you have impressed the recruiter or employer. The job is now yours for the taking. All that remains is to determine the remuneration.

It has probably been said too many times, but it is true nevertheless: “The first person to bring up money, loses”.

Knowledge is power. Be aware of the salary being offered in your region for comparable positions. That way, you can evaluate quickly any offer that might be put to you and be satisfied that your expectations are not clearly unrealistic.

But let your potential employer be the first to bring up the subject of pay. In terms of making an immediate response to an offer, saying less is definitely more.

Believe in your own worth. If you don’t, neither will anyone else. The employer has already decided that you are a good fit, in terms of your skills and experience.

Now, you should:

  • Focus on why you represent ‘added value’ – a good return on investment
  • Be prepared to offer evidence of how you have saved previous employers time or money
  • Communicate your enthusiasm and positive attitude to the role

This will reinforce the impression that you are someone the company does not want to let slip through its fingers.

The better you understand what you can bring to your new role, and how it will add value to a company, the more effective the negotiation process will be.

Show yourself at your confident best. The way in which you conduct yourself at this time, and the language you use, are important strategies to make sure you are offered what you deserve.

Be clear about what you can and can’t accept. Eventually you must respond directly to an offer; when you do, it should be a considered response. Know in advance the minimum that you can accept and, if that figure simply isn’t on offer, make sure you have a fall-back position.

You can walk away and continue to look for other positions, but only if you are not 100% committed to taking the job. Never use this as a tactic to attract a higher offer.

If you really want the job, a better approach might be to negotiate other forms of compensation.

Look further ahead

A negotiation meeting involves more than finalising a salary offer.

  • You can use the opportunity to ask about additional benefits the company provides.
  • It is important to establish how and when your compensation will be re- evaluated. A ‘win-win’ situation, for example, is when you and the employer agree that when you meet specific targets, you will receive an appropriate and clearly defined bonus. Make sure to get any incentive pay agreements in writing.
  • Discuss the possibilities for career advancement, with corresponding salary increases

Now you’re ready

It’s time to step out onto the dance floor, look your partner in the eye, and glide through even the most complex negotiation moves with total confidence.