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Wage negotiation tips for job applicants

Published on Friday, 10 Jun 2011
Photo: Bloomberg

In this five-part Expert Advice series on getting paid, Emma Charnock, regional director of recruiting experts Hays, commences with wage negotiation tips for job applicants.

In our experience, many people are unsure on how to negotiate salary from the position of job applicant rather than an existing, proven and valued employee. In fact, the main reason that people run into trouble at the offer stage is usually because they are unhappy with one or more aspect/s of the offer - typically the salary - but are uncertain on how to proceed. 

A job offer is typically made verbally before a formal written offer is received.  As a job applicant, this verbal offer stage is the best time to negotiate, if the employer has not already raised the issue of salary, since you are now firmly positioned as the employer’s preferred candidate. 

You may be prepared to discuss your case, but if upon receiving the offer you need to gather your thoughts, it is perfectly acceptable to thank your recruiter or the hiring manager for the offer, affirm your enthusiasm for the role, and ask for a few hours or one day to consider it. You should not verbally agree to an offer and then ask to negotiate the salary - or any other aspect of the role - once you have received the contract. 

During your negotiations, keep the lines of communication open. Tell your recruiter or the hiring manager that you are very interested in the position, but that you would like to negotiate. Discuss openly and professionally your opinion and desired outcome, and support your salary view with evidence from a salary index to show that your expectations are aligned with current market rates.

Speak to your recruiters and listen to their advice. Remember, they are experienced in recruiting and have the professional know-how to advise you on current market trends. They will negotiate on your behalf with the employer, without the risk of jeopardising the offer.

Do not expect an immediate response; the hiring manager will need to gain approval from his manager for any revision to an offer. But once they respond, you should accept or reject the offer in a timely and professional manner.

Article contributed by Hays, the world’s leading recruiting experts in qualified, professional and skilled people.

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