Salary negotiation at interview stage

You've emerged victorious from the interview process, and have practically sealed the deal with a job offer, but the battle isn't won yet. Now you have to negotiate your salary, and there's a lot to bear in mind. So, before you're sat across the table from your potential employer, wondering whether you might be about to sell your services well under their market value, make sure you've done your homework.
It's worth noting that if you've secured the interview through a recruiter, they will negotiate on your behalf.

Conduct research

Salary negotiation at interview stage requires plenty of research. You'll need to decide on your minimum and maximum salary requirements, think about the following:
  • What do other organisations offer for similar roles?
  • Salary surveys give up-to-date industry averages, you can base your proposal on these
  • Job ads often include salary, have a look at some that match your location and experience level
  • Talk to your Michael Page recruitment consultant, they are industry specialists and can provide an accurate picture of what you're worth
  • Do you have friends/colleagues in the industry that could
    give you some insight?
Researching will show the employer you know your worth and won't be misled.

What state is the company in?

It's also worth researching the financial performance of the organisation; there may be factors that limit pay levels, particularly if the industry itself is suffering. Take a look at their latest financial reports and employee turnover figures, if available.

Be realistic

Obviously you need enough money to live on so don't under-sell yourself. Emphasise your talents and experience, without being arrogant. Using your research as a starting point, think about your personal needs and determine a reasonable salary range to negotiation with.
Start your negotiations at the top end of your decided salary range, this allows leeway when it comes to discussing your requirements with the employer. Make sure you know exactly what figure you won't go below, there's no point wasting your time or theirs.

Salary isn't all they can offer

If they won't budge on salary but you still think you're worth more than they're offering, consider what other benefits you would accept in place of the extra pay. Some organisations might offer additional training or flexi-time instead of concentrating on salary negotiation at interview stage. You should also be aware of whether or not there's room for promotion or opportunities to review pay after the probationary period, so consider all alternatives.

Have confidence in yourself

Being brave enough to negotiate well can show the employer what skills you can bring to the organisation. If you're in high demand in other places, you have a bit of leverage, but this fact alone should show the employer what your skills are worth. Employers will respect you if you know what you want, but be a fair negotiator.

Don't be confrontational

Remember, if all goes well, the person you're negotiating with will be your future boss. So, be respectful, even if you think their offer is unreasonable, stay calm. Your research should give you the confidence to know what offers you can expect, but don't go in to the meeting thinking you can try and play the employer; they will have their boundaries too. You may sabotage the job offer and earn yourself a bad reputation.
If you're already in a job and are looking for a salary increase, read Michael Page's tips on negotiating a pay rise.