How to negotiate a good salary offer during an interview

We’re sure you’ve heard the question: ‘so, tell us, what is your salary expectation for this job?’ and just like most people, especially if you’re not so good at negotiating offers you are thrown into a state of confusion. The questions that run through your mind are most likely, “what if I give them an offer they can’t meet?” Or “what if I give an offer that is below what they can meet?” you also tend to ask yourself, “what is their salary structure like?” Most times, your guess at an expected salary would fall into the region of either being undervalued or over-billed so really, don’t give it a guess.

Most times, recruiters ask this question to either screen out candidates or to know if you really understand the gravity of your intended responsibility or your value. So how should you approach this question?

  • Make some research. Before going for any interview, making good research, about your skills, your job, the company is usually key as this helps you prepare for questions well. Therefore, research the general compensation structure for your skill or experience in that industry, if possible, find out what that company’s structure is like for that role and even other similar positions.

  • As much as possible avoid giving out information about your current salary or immediate salary. Most recruiters use this tool to determine the minimum amount they need to lure you from your previous or current job, hereby leading to you getting less than you could have gotten regardless of how much of an increase the offer looks. For example, you currently earn N50,000 and you recruiter, after disclosing your current salary, offers you N60,000, it really looks like an increase but the question is how much percentage increase is it? Now imagine if you allowed them value your skill based on their available budget, how much you could get instead.
  • Rather than give a specific amount, give a range. This really helps you be safe in the sense that you have researched the general compensation modalities for that skill and then you give them the range of what you are expecting based on the least you had in mind and possibly, the highest they had in mind. The possibility is that they would offer something in-between what you have stated.

Now the question is If you don”t give a specific amount or your current salary, how should you present it in a way that will be acceptable? Remember that an interview is really an opportunity to impress your recruiter, to make them recognize that you are the best person for the job so consider saying something like this:

“I will rather focus on what value I can add to the company and the general operations, rather than focusing on what my salary expectations are.”

With this you shift their attention to your value adding capacity and allow them evaluate a range by themselves. Now some interviewers will atill demand that you give a specific answer, especially regarding your previous or current salary, for this you can repeat the above statement or say (if they really insist and would not move ahead):

“I am not comfortable disclosing my current employer’s information about staff compensations or management and if you don’t mind, I’d rather focus on what value I can add, as earlier stated.”

This should readily dive the point home for any recruiter. However, if the recuiter is focused on the salary structure in cutting off candidates, rather than competence or ability to convince them, then you may want to evaluate if you’d really want to work with that kind of organization.

Many people shoot themselves in the foot due to fear of whether the employer would move on to another candidate or not, as stated earlier, if they are bent on getting the right person and do your part of convincing them that you are whom they truely need then they will go to any length to get you. Don’t be scared, of course except if you know you badly badly need the job.

We hope we have been helpful with this and till we meet again may all you do be profitable!

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