How To Negotiate Salary During An Interview


Negotiating a salary during an interview can be scary. It puts most people on edge because it has to do with money and that’s precisely due to the things we as society associate with money. More specifically it has to do with the stories we tell ourselves about money, and what it means to us and how this links to our self-worth.

The other aspect of the whole salary negotiation conversation that makes it more awkward is that we know that money matters, not only because of the opportunity and freedom it can provide but also because of the emotional roller-coaster we attached to it.

The emotions hidden underneath money matter, sometimes more than the money itself and depending on how we view ourselves, it can also dictate how we view our own success.

This is why we need to detach emotion from money, money is just pieces of paper, pure and simple, in its essence it is just a vehicle that allows us to experience life in new and interesting ways.

That’s why it’s vital to ask for what you are worth without getting caught up in the negative aspects that society leads us to believe are so important about money.

True wealth is about the richness of our relationships, the quality of our health and our spiritual growth and wellbeing.

In this vast and diverse world there are sad millionaires and there are happy millionaires, both exist, the difference comes down to what they prioritise in their lives.

Money is a vehicle not the happiness itself.

That said it is important to create value that matches your own potential and gives you the fuel to live out the dreams in your life and see you true vision come to fruition.

It’s my goal to dispel the fear around salary negotiations and so that you get involved in something that has the ability to transform how you view the world and improve the quality of the conversations, negotiations and growth that you experience as a result of taking the plunge.

I am here to show you how to get not only a good deal for you and your new employer but one that will sustain and improve the relationship all round, allowing you the freedom to invest in yourself and expand your horizons ten fold.

After all, if you don’t stand up for your value and accept the job regardless then at some point you’ll end up looking elsewhere for a new job anyway because you feel undervalued, you’ll kick yourself because you didn’t have the courage to start the conversation and you may even resent the company and therefore start performing worse, all because you feel undervalued.

There is no one to blame but yourself for this pattern of behaviour.

It is a way of thinking that got you there and it’s a way of thinking that will get you out and ready to take on the world, one negotiation at a time.

These are the most steps you must focus on to position yourself for a salary negotiation:

Be Bold:

At some point or another life will demand that you take the plunge and jump in with both feet. You need to grab the bull by the horns and ask the question, put your ideal salary on the table and be OK with the outcome whatever that may be.

The question you need to ask yourself is not, how can I get the most money out of this job offer, that’s not the question, the question to ask is, how can I get the salary that is appropriate for the amount of value that I bring. That is the real question to entertain.

By viewing salary negotiation purely in terms of maximum money extraction you limit the negotiation to one metric (money) meaning you are taking other variables off the table, other methods of creating value.

An alternative method is to view asking for your ideal salary as your mission, your opportunity for growth, because once you’ve got this nailed just imagine what else you can achieve. And remember it’s not the outcome but who you become in the process of finding the courage and correct skill set to ask in a way that sets both parties up for success.

What leads to success on both sides is knowing what the conversation needs next to move forward, determining when quality questions should be asked and being able to nurture an optimum environment for information to be exchanged and built upon as a team.

When you engage with the company on this level it changes the dynamic of the relationship, you are looking from a new perspective, and when you are rewriting the rules of the game in this way you stand out.

By standing out the company will see that you are different and by being different it gives you a platform on which to present your unique value to the company.

You need to create what I call an Avenue of Advantages and walk you perspective employer down this avenue, step by step, calling out your key and most distinctive qualities and skills, all the time reiterating how this can and will benefit the company.

In this way you transcend the what’s in it for me complex and move to a position of strength, you are sure in the value you offer and are willing to bring to the company in droves.

By investing in you, the company is investing in themselves and through this you can both extract a 1+1 = 3 outcome e.g. more value together than you could gain as single parts of the same equation.

Create Your Avenue of Advantages:

I want you to imagine that you are taking your potential employer for a walk down a tree lined avenue.

Imagine that it’s a warm summers day and there’s a light breeze refreshing you as the sun hits your face. There’s a sense of calmness as you stroll forward deep in conversation, joy and warmth.

One either side of the path there are key unique pockets of value, and as you pause at each one you carefully and clearly unwrap and explain each of these pockets in succinct detail to your guest.

You are clear in articulating how these pockets of value could be of unique value to the company and how they could grow over time multiplying in number.

Welcome to the Avenue of Advantages.

For each pocket of value you clearly explain why this will benefit the company, and how it will benefit the company, then moving on to give an example that supports this from your past experiences.

Each pocket of value should take no longer than 1–2 minutes to unpack.

The real value of walking down and creating the Avenue of Advantages for the employer is, you are making it easier for them to make up their mind and distinguish you unique offering from others. You become memorable and relevant.

Here in this process you are going to drip feed your new employer with your value, leaving them so impressed and hungry for more that there is no turning back, once at the bottom of the Avenue of Advantages they will know your unique value, and it will be so irresistible that they will bend over backwards to make you an offer.

So what’s on offer? Here are just a few ideas...

  • Your Network

  • Your Experience

  • Your Demeanour

  • Your Cultural Fit

  • Your Ambition

  • Your Ability to Influence

  • Your Loyalty

  • Your Stability

  • Your Creativity

  • Your Intuition

  • Your Awards

  • Your Potential

The Avenue of Advantages is limitless and can be tailored to each individual employer or job situation.

Typically, my advice would be to select 5 really concrete pockets of value that specifically address the job role and most important criteria of value to the company.

By demonstrating where you can add increased value with the employer together you can craft a salary that reflects the unique opportunity that’s on the table as you have so described.

The second part of the Avenue of Advantages is that is answers the employers question without them having to ask it, typically after you have made the request they may rebuff with the question:

Tell me why you deserve to be paid X?

By constructing it in your mind as a walk down a calm avenue and rehearsing it in your mind before going into the negotiation it will allow you to stay clear headed, have a path for the rationale behind your request and give you options for various different pockets of value should the conversation require it.

People can often panic at this juncture and then accept what the employer is offering right away purely on the basis of not having clearly defined examples for why they deserve the salary they have requested. In the panic they devalue there own worth and in doing so miss out on the opportunity to create the best possible scenerio for both parties.

By changing the conversation from the beginning you are creating an environment where you will together create the ultimate salary for the role as appropriate directed by the value that you bring to the organisation.

Upgrade Your Mindset

Ask yourself this question, who are you negotiating for?

Is it your family, your future, yourself, your parents, your friends, keeping up with the Joneses?

Knowing why you are asking is an important motivator, studies have shown that when people connect negotiating their salary to something wider like so their daughter can go to school, they perform better in negotiations.

This leads to an interesting question, why do we fear the negotiation of salary? Is it because of the idea or notion that negotiating means you might lose?

Who said negotiating means you’ll lose the job?

It’s only natural that after multiple interview rounds, endless preparation and research that now you are in the final round you don’t want to mess it up but what’s interesting is that in most company’s employers may actually think more of you because you had the courage to negotiate. It’s expected and most of the time respected.

There needs to be mindset shift from I’m asking for something that’s forbidden, to I’m doing what is right.

You are negotiating for your unique value that you bring to the company. Granted you don’t want to be having this conversation during every round of the interview process, there is a time and place and by and large the time to really go for it is once you have the offer in hand.

Think about this, how upset would you be if you didn’t negotiate and then found out that everyone else who did was on more than you.

It’s easy to imagine what happens next in this story, you would punish yourself, you would end up resentful and annoyed and start looking for new ways to get more money out of the company in desperation or look elsewhere for new jobs.

Nether outcome are an ideal scenario because you are operating from a place of fear and lack and in both cases everyone loses. Accepting the deal below your own internal value is a lose lose strategy. To overcome this you must operate from a mindset of abundance.

The one who is able to present fair value is the one who values themselves and knows their worth.

Alternative & Counter Offers:

Having one or two offers up your sleeve at the same time comes with its own plethora of strategic advantages, at its core it gives you leverage and leverage is a game changer.

Multiple offers open up the negotiation for salary in terms of reducing the stress in that you have an alternative role, you can use the offered salary of one job to increase the salary of the other and keep them both putting their best foot forward in terms of a package.

You can sometimes speed up timeframe due to the fact that you need to respond to another offer in a certain timeframe.

Offers are linked heavily to desirability and it is human nature to want what we can’t have, that’s why if you are potentially being taken off the table and in the latter stages of an interview round then it’s highly possible that your final interview round will be prioritised with the other company.

In my experience, having multiple offers can be great when you have nothing to lose, e.g. you are happy to take either of the jobs on offer and work with both parties to illicit the most attractive package.

In all of this it is important that you don’t lose sight of the actual job role that you will be undertaking for the most attractive package and remember to consider the culture of the organisation, you will be joining, the networking opportunities and where the role could take you in the future.

Having alternatives can also help with the communication, especially when it comes to salary negotiations, hiring managers are more likely to put their cards on the table about final or upper limits in terms of expectations so not to waste time.

The area to be most careful around is commitment. It is important that you demonstrate to the company that you are interested in the role if in fact you are despite the other offer.

Leverage is only leverage as long as the other party is interested and if they think that you are only using the other offer as a bargaining tool then they may shut the conversation down because it damages the partnership.

The better way to go about this is to be open and honest and say something like I am fully engaged in the process and looking to create something similar, you recognise that the company has processes but if they is any possibility to speed things up then it would help you are still incredibly interested in the role.

The key is to build desirability, curiosity and intrigue not bully.

Get Headhunted Or Be Liked A Lot!

If you can, getting head hunted is a great way to start. This is where you can set the expectation up front about salary and what it would take for you to move over.

The second-best option to this is to get the company to like you so much it feels as if there is no other option than you, in their eyes you are streaks ahead of the competition, you’ve left them in the dust and now there is only one option that starts with Y and ends with U.

The company wants you and they are open to a degree of negotiation. This is a prime position to be in, for whatever reason it is, when you know you are pole position, talent in the market is in short supply or you offer some unique skill set and the company needs to move on it asap for the safety of their business.

These types of situations happen more regularly than people think, and it’s about knowing that when you are in one so that you can create the optimal partnership for all concerned.

Consistency and Setting Salary Expectations Early

It can be important, and I recommend as best practise where possible to state your ball park salary up front at the early stages of the negotiation. This is so when you are in the final stages you can draw upon this consistency card and play it, ‘as mentioned I have consistently told you that in order for me to make the move and come on board I would need to be in the xxx region’.

Number one tip for expectations is, set them early, most good recruiters or HR departments should ask this question about your expected salary to get a gauge on if you are in the same page in the first call.

It’s an important step in the process, if they don’t ask then make sure you ask what the budget for the role is.

It’s important that you flag what salary you are anticipating so that you can:

- Set the benchmark

- Set the expectation, and refer back to it if needed

- Get a sense quickly on what this company or role is willing to pay

- It is best practise because it will help both parties establish a clear framework for negotiation.

If you want to know more about salary negotiations and other real world examples such as buying a house, negotiating a wedding or improving your everyday negotiations then you can Buy My Book The Art of Negotiation and start your journey to achieve more successful outcomes every day.

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