Questions to Ask During Salary Negotiation

Questions to Ask During Salary Negotiation

Congratulations on your new job offer! Salary negotiation is perhaps one of the most important parts of the process of becoming an employee. It is one even the most qualified is careful to prepare for, in order to walk out smiling. This part of the employment process does not come naturally for most potential job seekers in Nigeria. They are usually too naive or afraid to negotiate their pay. It is because of this, that some employees settle for salaries lesser than what they deserve.

It is important to understand that negotiating salary is a usual part of the recruitment process of most organizations. And these organizations expect their potential employees to have the bargaining skill set for such a task, not having these skills can be detrimental to the job seeker.


Why is Salary Negotiation Important?

Whatever the result, negotiating an employee’s starting salary determines how much he/she will earn as the employment begins and in the future. Thus, bargaining successfully guarantees a better earning power in the company. This ensures that you’re compensated appropriately for your abilities and skills. It is through negotiating your salary that your employer first gauges your negotiation abilities which might be an important part of your role in the company.

This requires confidence which projects to the employer that you know your value as a potential employee. This confidence will also let the employer trust you to handle projects, train you in new things in the company, and put you in charge of specific customers and clients. Remember, it is your right to bargain what amount you want as your salary in relation to your skills and experience.


Is there a Right Time to Negotiate the Salary Offer?

Most certainly, salary or job offers come in various forms. Sometimes it could be through an email or a letter. Other times, it may be through an in-person interview or a phone call. It is important to start your negotiation after the offer has been made by the employer. Negotiating early on might come across to the employer as rude and a bit hasty. You don’t want to seem desperate for the money so it is best you are first offered the initial salary package before negotiating.

Typically, it is wiser to begin negotiating your salary offer after you have shown to the employer that you fully understand what is required of you in the role you are being interviewed for and you’re the best candidate. This gives you leverage in negotiating the offer.

It is also important to note that most employers might find it disrespectful when potential candidates revisit the negotiation after they have agreed upon it initially. Therefore, if you need to counter the offer, do it once or twice at most. That way, it shows you respect their time and know what you really want. It is okay to ask for more time after the employer’s offer has been made, to consider it (usually within 48 hours) and revert or better still, negotiate the salary offer over the phone. This reduces the pressure and can be most productive.


Things to Consider Before Negotiating Salary Offer

There are a number of factors to be considered before you approach the table for salary negotiation. Some of these factors include;

Assessing your value: Start by assessing what you bring to the company whether it be your experience in the industry, skills required for the role, leadership experience, relevant certifications/licensing, education, and career level. The employer will more likely oblige to your salary request if you rank high in any of these assessments because they understand your value. Also, note that your geographical location is just as important.

Research Salary Range For Your Industry: Market data on the average salary for the position you’re seeking is very handy for a better result in negotiating salary. Start the negotiation from the number closer to the highest range as this will naturally tilt the negotiation in your favor. Don’t forget confidence is important.

Choose a Number: After researching the market average in your industry for that role you’re interested in, choose a number. It is best that you go with a number in mind to the employer so that you don’t appear clueless as to what is obtainable for that position.

Prepare to Defend your Salary Request: Negotiations can be quite daunting especially for fresh job seekers, the more reason you should prepare talking points on why you deserve the salary you are requesting for. This might include; years of experience in the industry, skills and leadership experience gathered over the years, and the average salaries offered for that role by similar employers.

Research and Evaluate Job-incurring Expenses: Before approaching the negotiating table ensure you research the role you’re applying for and evaluate what extra costs you’d be incurring as you take on the role. Ask questions about the role and how to properly execute it.


Questions to Ask During Salary Negotiation

To get your desired outcome from your salary negotiation you will have to be armed with the right questions. These questions if asked at the right time with the right attitude will increase your chances.

“Is the salary offer open to Negotiation?”

Once the timing is right, it is advisable, to begin with, this question. It is important that you maintain a positive and respectful tone when asking this question because some employers might be uninterested in discussing more money. By asking this, you in fact project your confidence and seek to know if it is a conversation worth having, more like testing the waters. In some cases, they will be open for a negotiation in which case, you start with a number closest to the highest salary range in your industry for that role. However, if they’re not open to a negotiation, you can either respectfully move on or decline.

“Please, how did you arrive at this figure?” 

It is okay to ask the interviewer or employer how they arrived at the figure put forward as the salary. This question can act as an alternative to the first question above. With this answer, you will know what parameters they used in arriving at the figure, for example, years of experience. This also provides a chance to negotiate using those parameters as leverage. Do not forget to use the market average as your benchmark.


“Aside from the base salary, what other benefits are there?”

Regardless of whatever the agreement is on the base salary, there may be other benefits (accommodation, transport allowance, health insurance, etc) that will be open for negotiations. You will not be wrong if you brought it up in case it wasn’t earlier mentioned. Asking if there are other incentives for the job besides the base salary, let the employer know how interested you are in other aspects of the job. This can lead to more productive conversations concerning the role and the goal of the company.

“Will there be a salary review any time during this role? What factors will determine this?”

This question shows your interest in upscaling and ultimately doing the company good. It is important you know the parameters by which the role you’re seeking will be appraised by and helps you prepare better. It tells the employer how serious you are about the job and what you are willing to do to achieve the target results. This way you will be better prepared to renegotiate your salary in the future.

“Can you please state my job description?” 

As a potential candidate for the role, you must understand the roles and responsibilities required of you by the employer. And who better to state it than the employer themselves. This will give room for a possible re-negotiation if you’re still not okay with the starting salary but don’t push it.

Also, this question gives clarity into the position you will be occupying, exposing the challenges this way you can decide if the job is what you are capable of doing.

“Can I get this offer in Writing?”

By asking this question, the employer is aware of your professionalism and it will determine their future dealings with you. Most employers will already have these documents as part of their employment process but it never hurts to ask.

“Do I have to give my final answer now?”

Most employers will give time for you to consider and revert to your final decision on the role. It is advisable that you take time to consider the offer as you will be committing to an activity that will take a considerable amount of your time and effort. Ensure that you have already given the offer a considerable amount of thought and research in case the employer is in a hurry to fill up the position, you can give an answer in that meeting or else ask for some more time.


What happens if you’re already an employee looking forward to an upward review of your salary? The subject is also helpful in this scenario albeit with a few questions to be asked. The major concern will be an appraisal of your performance since joining the company and accomplishments in the period under review. If you have enough records to support your desire for an increase, by all means, go for it. You can ask your supervisor to review your performance while stating your strong points and argue that other firms are offering better pay and condition. Again, you must establish your value as employers assess their employees by the value they add to their company.


In conclusion, approaching the subject of salary negotiation requires tact and confidence. It will require practice over time and do not be in a rush to accept any offer that comes your way. Make your research and be bold to project your value through prepared talking points during the interview process. Good luck!


Career Advice, Job Search Tips

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