Negotiating Your Salary Effectively

August 2, 2022

Posted by Lai Han Sam (Ms), PCC

“I am negotiating my package with this new job I am offered. I am at a loss on how to make the ask since I have been with my current company for a long time. Should I even negotiate? Do you have any tips?”

This was a message that came in from a client. I reflected about her request and realized there are no straight forward tips I could offer her. We then organized a session to talk it through – her circumstances, the offer and what she really wanted. A plan was formulated and after a few more conversations with her potential employer, she got the job at the package she wanted.

She was not the only one. 

A few more clients then came to me to have similar conversations though the circumstances and needs were very different. With every single one, there were specific discussions around the person. It was then I realized that there were similar themes and mindsets that one could have when negotiating one’s salary. 

Here are a few questions to reflect upon as you enter the negotiation phase of getting a new job.

  1. What is stopping you from asking?

After the negotiations, the clients always told me that they were surprised the employers were prepared to negotiate! Asking is totally okay and accepted. The question to ask yourself if you are thinking if you should negotiate is, “What is stopping you from asking?”

If they want you for the job, they already saw your potential and how you can contribute to the growth of the company. So, is the reason lack of practice or afraid of being thought of as financially driven or afraid of be rejected? Or is it that you are downplaying your worth? Because the answer is always no if you don’t ask.

  1. Do you know why you are asking?

    After answering the first question, the next thing to be clear about is why you are asking. If you are worried of not being able to do the job well, and asking for more seems arrogant, take the time to think through your value to the potential employer. Is it your skills, your experience, and your leadership qualities? Do not downplay your abilities and say that all these come easy to you. 

If you are not sure of your worth, then do the market research you need to ensure you are asking for a fair and satisfying package that will also meet your needs. This can also include things like prospect, growth, mastery and personal well-being.

  1. What are you asking for?

    It would seem the answer is obvious, but it is not. You don’t only just negotiate on the financials. You can also tap on the different elements of the offer – leave days, working from home allowances, health benefits, bonus structures, titles and expectations to name a few.  What about the deeper factors like fulfillment, joy, service and meaning? Is this role allowing your values to be expressed? Would the culture be suitatble for you?
  2. Are you taking on what is not yours?

    Some common comments I hear from my clients when I ask them to negotiate:

“Their budget may not meet what I want, so why ask?”

“I must be understanding, after all I want to work well with them.”

“This is so clinical! I don’t want to look greedy. I am sure they feel that way too.”

“This must be their best offer! I think since I want the job I will just say yes.”

“The offer is already generous, and I really don’t want to set too high expectations. I should just take it.”

All these sound like you have decided for them that they will not negotiate, or that they will be unhappy with your ask to negotiate – why are you taking on what is not yours? Leave it to them to decide how much they want you and whether they want to counter-offer. 

  1. If it is still less than what you want, would you still take the job?

    After going through a long process of negotiating, thinking and counter negotiating, I asked a client if she would take the job if the package was still not up to what she is asking for. Without hesitation, she said she still will if they make the effort to consider her ask. This tells her that they are willing to see her point of view and willing to help her to become successful.

    This is a very important question to know your answer to even before you start negotiation. This will help you test and understand what you truly want and what you are willing to accept.

With these mindsets clearly thought through, you will be on the path of negotiating your salary effectively! Connect with us to find out more: