Start Monday

How to negotiate a higher salary at interview

Jobseekers are often frustrated when they read 'salary negotiable' or 'salary commensurate with experience' in a job description. In the main, employers are not intentionally vague about salary, yet may find it difficult to fully understand the type of candidate they want in terms of level of experience and seniority.
When to negotiate
When we speak to candidates in relation to a role, they often state that the job must offer a particular salary and benefits package in order to persuade them to even consider the role. While every candidate should have some sense of what salary package they are looking for, it is important to remember that there is no point in negotiating your salary package in advance of an interview.

If based on your CV, an employer is interested in you as a candidate, it is highly unlikely that they will negotiate anything in advance of meeting you in person. If you are successful at the first round interview and the employer is impressed, you will have far greater bargaining power in relation to salary.
How a candidate can negotiate a better salary
Here in Start Monday, we find ourselves in a unique position in that, while we work with senior candidates to assist them in negotiating their salary packages at interview stage, we can also provide valuable insight to employers to allow them create appropriate salary bands in line with market norms.

At interview stage, remember these 7 key points to ensure you walk away with the package you deserve.
"Is it negotiable?"
If you receive an offer, it never hurts to ask if there is scope for negotiation. Most employers expect that there will be some form of negotiation as part of the process.
"When do you need any answer by?"
While there is a general sense of urgency among most companies to fill roles at the moment, asking this question will give you valuable time to formulate your approach in terms of salary negotiation. Think hard about accepting an offer on the spot, as you will inevitably think of a question you should have asked as soon as you have left the interview.
"I need to discuss this with my partner"
Saying this to a hiring manager can often raise a red flag. It is important that you appear confident at interview and have the ability to make your own decisions.
"Can I have this offer in writing?"
To reinforce the offer from the employer, ask for it in writing. Not only will this give you more time to consider your negotiation strategy but it will present a picture of a professional and smart candidate in the mind of your future employer.
"Can I have the job description?"
While wanting to appear flexible and willing to get stuck in, never be afraid to ask for a job description. Businesses should have access to a full suite of job descriptions. This is not an unreasonable request.
"How does your bonus structure work?"
Clearly a critical question for any sales or management role within the industry. If you are met with a response of, "We'll sort something out" or, "You can earn as much as you want depending on how well you do", the alarm bells should start ringing. For example, the bonus structure in a dealership is a central pillar of the business and there should be no ambiguity here at this stage.
"Look at my track record"
If you wish to discuss it at interview, you need to provide justification as to how you reached that number. Whether it's your Kerridge expertise, your knowledge of the brand or your wealth of corporate contacts for a fleet role, you need to be able to impress the hiring manager and not simply put a salary expectation on the table which may ultimately be viewed as on opening offer subject to downward negotiation.
Key considerations for an employer
Before hiring for any position, you need to do your market research. Are you advertising for a role which is pitched at a much lower salary than a counterpart in the locality or on the other hand, are you creating false expectations by suggesting a high OTE, which you know well is unachievable given the bonus structure in place? This latter point is of no help to anyone and a high performing Sales Executive will soon become disillusioned if they feel the structure has been designed so as not to allow them reach what they believe is an appropriate package.

For a high performing Sales Executive, we have seen a wide range of base salaries on offer. If you are constrained by a group's commercial decisions or cannot adjust existing, well-defined salary bands, get to know your candidate. Perhaps they have a young family and flexi-time might be hugely attractive or maybe the company vehicle is of greater importance and you can negotiate on the model or fuel allowance. If the candidate is in a non-selling role like finance, marketing, etc, the scope for developing flexible work practices is much greater. Again, don't assume because a candidate raises flexible working as a request, that they will somehow be difficult employees to work with. These requests are the norm at interview stage across all sectors so don't let these requests cloud your judgement when it comes to a candidate's potential.

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