Tips when negotiating pay

Negotiating pay with a new company can be stressful and many candidates opt not to negotiate at all while others maybe push things too far. How do you get that balance correct? Like any negotiation you need to understand how strong (or weak) your position is and be ready to be flexible to get the best overall outcome.

Too many times I have seen candidates in very weak positions negotiate too hard and lose the opportunity or create a bad feeling with their new company. I have also seen the opposite where candidates are in such a strong position that they could ask and get so much more but they just accept the initial offer. When it comes time to talk about pay think about these questions.

How much do they need you, what is their plan B?

Are you are the only suitable candidate left in the process or clearly their first choice?

Did they approach/chase you?

If the answer to both these questions is yes you are in a very strong position already.             

How much do you want this job, is it a significantly better prospect to what you are currently doing?

Will it lead to better long term career opportunities?

Will it be more interesting than what you currently do or have other positives vs your current situation?

Is it a rare opportunity that may not come up all the time?

If the answer to these questions is yes then don’t set your pay expectations too high, you would not want to miss this opportunity chasing an unrealistic uplift in pay.

Based on answers to those questions you should have an idea on who holds the power before any negotiation starts. Now start thinking about flexibility and what your expectations are. I would suggest writing down your minimum acceptable pay would be to take the job. Then write down what pay would make you satisfied and happy with the outcome. You now have a range to help guide you in the negotiation, and that should include all pay elements and a total. The total is what matters. Do not get fixated on one aspect of pay and ignore the bigger picture.

I have seen too many candidates push for one particular element of their package and neglect the overall picture which can be very detrimental to the negotiation. Sometimes the company has room to move on certain pay aspects but in others they have no flexibility. A company may be able to greatly increase what they can offer as a cash sign on or a long term incentive but may not be able to move at all on salary or some benefits. Understand and use that to drive the best total outcome for you rather than getting upset or fixated on one pay element – even if what they are offering on that one item is below what you had written down as minimally acceptable.

We will be writing more on this topic in future blogs so please keep checking the site for more great tips and advice when negotiating your next compensation package.

Until then do check out our instant free report to ensure you know the value of any LTI award that may form part of your negotiations.

Instant Free Report


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