10 Know-How to Negotiate A Higher Salary During An Interview!

Ever felt at loss or embarrassed when negotiating your salary during an interview? Want a higher salary but not sure how to approach the matter? You are not alone. 1 in 4 candidates doesn’t know how despite 70% of managers expecting them to be capable of doing so.

This is due to a lack of knowledge of negotiation skills and familiarity in such situations. Therefore, being ignorant about asking for more money only puts you at the losing end.|

You don’t want to be facing that down the road.  Equip yourself today with these salary negotiation techniques and put yourself in an advantageous position.

1. Don’t Undermine Yourself When Asking For Higher Salary

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For starters, be confident. Before any negotiation, people automatically discount themselves when they feel lacking in one area or another. This inferiority can influence your negotiation ability for the worse.

A worker is worth his wages. Here’s how you can justify a higher salary:

  • Find out what is the industry benchmark for your qualifications and experience. You can start your research at platforms like PayScale and Glassdoor.
  • List down your strengths. Demonstrate how your experience and expertise are relevant to the job you are applying for.
  • Assess your shortcomings and detail how you plan to compensate. For instance, if you have an extended period of unemployment, show how you spent that time productively to value-add to your marketable skills (e.g. taking up courses or learning a new language).

Also Read: 7 Steps To Develop An Ideal Candidate Profile in 2023

2. Establish a Connection

Another effective salary negotiating tactic is to create a personal rapport with the interviewer. This is so that he/she doesn’t see you as another cog in the wheel.

Be intentional in your conversations.  Look up more about the management profile on the company’s website or Linkedin. Find common topics you can bond over (e.g. company history, interests, etc).

Nowadays, virtual interviews are your main point of contact with your interviewer. Hence, it is good to take note of the following:

  • Smile. Be friendly and approachable.
  • Engage in small talk for a start.
  • Mirror the interviewer’s expressions.
  • Nod when you agree with the points made.

3. Wait For The Opportune Moment

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Timing is everything. According to the best-selling job-hunting book “What Colour Is Your Parachute”, the best time to negotiate salary is when the company decides that they want you. Here’s a clue. The interviewer would mention that you would be a great fit and extend the offer.

Avoid negotiating early in the interview process. This would signal to most interviewers that you are more focused on the money than the job. It can also trap you within a salary ballpark; making it difficult to negotiate for significantly more.

Be patient and wait till the offer has been communicated. Here’s when you are best primed to bargain. Start discussing the terms and conditions of your salary package.

4. Make Your Remuneration Requests Clear

When negotiating, categorise your requests and ask for them accordingly. Items in your offer should be divided into direct and indirect compensation.

Direct & Indirect Compensation:

  • Salary
  • Commission
  • Bonuses
  • Stock options
  • Health insurance
  • Legal insurance

Non-monetary Compensation (non-exhaustive):

  • Vacation time
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Parent leave
  • Childcare leave

Negotiate the monetary compensation first. After reaching an agreement on those, move on to the non-monetary items. Do keep an open mind to suggestions that the employer offers. Certain forms of compensation like free meals may not be something you have thought about. However, it may be worthwhile to you.

5. Anchor The Discussion In Your Favor

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Start the discussion by proposing a pay range. Never state a fixed amount. For instance, you find yourself deserving of a salary range of $60,000 to $70,000. However, you feel that the next tier is within reach.

You can frame your proposition as, “Correct me if I’m wrong, but I understand that people with my experience typically fetch $70,000 to $80,000.”

This is a humble yet assertive statement. People usually make estimates by starting from an initial value that is then adjusted to yield the final answer. Therefore, the $70,000 to $80,000 range is a powerful anchor. It acts as a reference point that could steer your salary upwards.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Why Employers Prefer Engaging Recruitment Agencies

6. Read The Room

Was your potential employer taken aback by your opening offer? Reduce the tension by lightening the mood. A Havard study concluded that humour, used appropriately, can be effective to negotiate salary.

In this case, diffuse tensions by making a joke. Laugh it off and interject with something more light-hearted, “I’m sorry, I know that figure is too high.” However, your counterpart can take the joke the wrong way. Hence, humour should be kept as a last resort.

Our advice – tactfully navigate your opening offer.

7. Manage Your Emotions

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Feeling like the conversations are heating up? Consciously remind yourself to be courteous at all times. Every touchpoint is an opportunity to develop a relationship and build your reputation with your potential new employer.

Here are some suggestions:

  • When faced with a low offer, show your gratitude first. Then justify why you deserve better terms.
  • Frame your requests in an understanding manner. Use phrases like “I’m wondering”, “if you could share with me”.
  • Propose alternatives. When facing an impasse, you can suggest arranging a bi-annual performance review to be drafted into your contract.

Your polite demeanor and maturity will leave a good impression on your potential employer. It may well be the deciding factor in the success of your salary negotiation.

8. Don’t Just Talk, Listen Attentively

When seeking clarification, pay close attention to what the interviewer is saying. Incorporate his/her needs to develop a win-win solution for both parties. This would communicate to them that they are being heard. Active listening means paraphrasing, inquiring, and acknowledging.

  • Paraphrasing – Catch the key terms used by your interviewer and incorporate them into your replies. Start your sentences with phrases that show him/her that you heard them. (E.g. if I understand correctly or you’re concerned with)
  • Inquiring – Probe further. Start your reply with phrases that induce the interviewer to elaborate more: ‘help me understand’ or ‘let’s talk more about’.
  • Acknowledging – Let the interviewer know that you’re conscious of his/her concerns by including phrases like, ‘it sounds like’, ‘so much so that you have serious concerns’.

Now, assert your viewpoint and propose a creative solution that satisfies everyone.

9. Never Settle For Too Low A Salary

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Although you have  been negotiating for some time, there is still no consensus. Don’t settle, push through. The risks are worth it. Those willing to take risks tend to be better negotiators.

A Harvard study on salary negotiation showed that being competitive when asking for a higher salary is an effective strategy. Those who did so increased their starting pay by an average of $5,000.

Emphasize the benefits you bring to the table. Tensions may be high when you continue bargaining. However, if you’re not asking for something ludicrous, there’s a chance you get the salary you want.

10. Put It In Writing

Having settled on a remuneration package, it is vital to ask for written documentation. Besides the basic salary amount, you should include other forms of remunerations such as bonuses or stock options. Non-monetary benefits like flexi-work arrangements and parental/childcare leave should also be in writing.

Ensure that these statements are in print when you and your prospective employer sign the contract.


Now that you have learnt how to negotiate a higher salary, it’s time to put them into action. Utilise these tactics and techniques and you are on your way to bargaining the salary you want. Want more tips in negotiating a higher salary? Speak with one of our consultants today.