By Mel Sim

So... just how good are your bargaining skills?

You know the saying if you don’t ask, you won’t get? This is especially true when it comes to negotiating your salary. In fact, in today’s job climate if you don’t negotiate a salary you’d be foolish not to! Most recruiters expect you to negotiate the salary unless they tell you upfront that it is the most they will pay. Negotiating is perfectly normal during the entire get-hired process.

The only other times you don’t negotiate a salary? If it is higher than what you had expected (don’t be greedy now) or if you’ve asked for X amount during your interview and the company offers you that amount or even more (asking for more makes you look bad and the company might end up not wanting to hire you).

But yikes, it can be awkward asking for more money, especially if you haven’t started work yet. Don’t worry – we have prepared all the right questions you need to ask so you can get to the point, get the answers and then make your decision.

#1 “Is the salary negotiable?”
Get it out in the open – asking this will prevent awkward situations and it always a good idea to be upfront. If the recruiter says yes, then go to question #2. If the recruiter says no, then you have to decide if you can live with the salary given.

#2 “What other benefits can I expect? Are these negotiable?”
Find out exactly the benefits you’ll be getting, whether it is medical insurance, your leave days, flexi-hours to name a few. If your perks are really good, you might want to consider accepting the salary because these added bonuses will make up for it. Or if the salary is non-negotiable, you may even want to consider upping your benefits if your company is flexible like that.

#3 “What sort of bonuses can I expect or the kind of promotions/salary raises the company offers?”
So you may not have more money when you start but there might be potential for a raise. This information can help you decide if the original salary is good enough to accept if you’re likely to get a good bonus or raise if you perform well.

#4 “I’m excited about the job but I was hoping you might be able to meet my expected salary.”
Ahhh.... finally, the most important question: The actual salary you want. The trick to asking for more money is to say less. You don’t need to say why you think you deserve more money (unless the recruiter specifically asks you so). So by saying something like the above or something like “Perhaps we can relook at the salary? I was hoping for RMXXX.” Then leave it at that, no matter how much you feel like you should keep on talking and explaining why. It’s up to the recruiter to decide if more money is possible.

A few more things to consider when negotiating your salary:

  • Make sure you do your research beforehand on what someone in the same position will be paid! You may need to back up your request with some info. Find out the market rate.

  • Didn’t get the extra money? Then it’s up to you to decide if you are willing to accept the offer as is. But don’t give empty threats by saying something like “If you can’t meet my expected salary, I won’t join you.” That sounds like a demand and recruiters won’t fall for it. In fact, they might even decide to take back the offer.

  • Unfortunately, you can’t try to negotiate a salary after you’ve accepted the offer. It looks bad on you. Imagine if the company tried to offer you less money when you say you’ll join them!

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

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