Head of talent
January 9, 2020

How to negotiate your salary

How can you save what you haven’t got? Daniel Bowling, Chip’s champion Head of Talent, gets real with us about asking for more cash money based on his 14 years of experience in the recruitment industry, hiring over 500 candidates. 

Sometimes following budgets and cutting costs just don’t, well, cut it. If you’re looking for ways to increase your bank balance that exclude selling all your belongings on eBay, maybe it’s time to question your salary. 

However, we know salary talk can be quite a taboo and uncomfortable topic for a lot of people, whether it be during the interview process or asking your line manager for a pay-rise. 

This is partly due to a shared fear of rejection and being seen as greedy.

But a pay rise isn’t just about the figure, but a reflection of how much your employers value you. 

It’s far easier to save when you have more money, right? So, where do you start?

First things first

The best way to prepare for a conversation surrounding salary or the possibility of a pay rise would be to go and do your research. 

Find out what people in the same field are being paid in the market and use this figure as a salary benchmark.

For example, if you work in IT a great resource to consult is ITJobsWatch, but of course there are similar sites out there which offer some good insights. 

Talking Money: Before you get the job 

During the recruitment process, 9 out of 10 candidates bring up or argue salary.

Like the golden hour is to selfie game, the interview process is the prime time to understand whether this job is truly right for you, so ask alllllllll of the questions. Talk to recruiters about what questions you can expect, or what the employers expectations are before entering the interview. 

When question time comes, be armed with the exact amount you think you deserve - no ballpark figures. If you pitch £25,000 - £30,000 out of modesty, chances are you’re going to get £25,000.

Most importantly, know your worth - just don’t pull the ‘you should feel honored just to have me grace your office with my presence’ attitude’. If you feel undervalued, look elsewhere. 

Don’t be afraid to negotiate hard to get what you want before accepting an offer to save the fuss down the track. Any promise made regarding a salary increase after probation needs (heavy emphasis) to be in writing! 

The takeaway: don’t accept the first job you’re offered. Be upfront about your salary expectations and make sure they’re realistic and not just a number you’ve plucked from thin air.

Talking money: Asking for a pay-rise in your existing role 

When is the right time to ask for a pay rise? Anytime - providing you can back it up… and didn’t start yesterday. 

If you’re after the least-awkward time to negotiate your salary, I’d suggest bringing it up upon the completion of your probation, depending on what was promised at the offer stage, or during your appraisal.

But, if you think you’ve been smashing it lately and have overachieved against your OKRs and targets, here are steps you could take when bringing up the subject of pay with your employer.

  1. Request a meeting.
  2. Explain clearly what you want. Don’t beat around the bush. Saying something along the lines of:  ‘I would like to discuss the opportunity for a pay rise’ would ensure nothing is lost in translation.
  3. Now go in with the ‘why’.  ‘I’ve been here like 12 months’ won’t cut it. Explain what you have achieved in this role and the impact it’s had for the company to warrant a pay rise and then ask for their view. 

What employers have to say

Don’t be disappointed if you come away with more hoops to jump through. Many employers will set some further OKRs as an opportunity to test your competence and give you something to work towards. 

In addition, sometimes it’s not always about salary. Your employer may provide a chance for personal development and courses or training which could help you up-skill which is arguably just as valuable. 

Whatever the outcome, I always advise anyone getting everything documented in writing.

My last bit of advice

Put 100% effort into everything you do.

“Effort comes before reward”

If you’re struggling to do this then perhaps you need to ask yourself: ‘Am I in the right job?’. 

When investing your capital is at risk

Remember your Capital is at Risk and past performance is not a reliable guide to future returns. The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you might get back less than you originally invested.

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