How to negotiate your way to a great salary in five simple steps

Congratulations! You’ve nailed the interview process and your dream job is on the table awaiting your nod and your signature… The only blot on the landscape is the salary and benefits package… On reflection, that blot is actually quite big. What should you do?


First up, there’s no need to panic, issue an ultimatum, or get downhearted. Inspired by articles from and the Wall Street Journal – plus over 30 years’ experience at the negotiation table ourselves – we have compiled a list of expert tips just for you…


  1. Choose the right moment to focus on salary and do your homework

Think carefully before you share your current salary. It’s important to be transparent but you don’t want to set expectations too low. Your current salary is based on your skills and experience when you were hired by your current company. A few years down the line and the scope and value of that skill set have increased. And it’s your current value – not your current salary – that you want to be rewarded for.

Use a salary calculator – like the one found on PayScale – or talk to our recruitment experts – to research your current value.

If your interviewer broaches the salary question during the interview, you can turn the question back to them. Ask them what their salary range is for the role and suggest you revisit it once both parties have had time to consider all the details. And then move on.

If possible, leave your salary chat until the end of the process. Have a clear idea about your wish figure (meaning a high specific number you open with), your want figure (meaning your actual target), and your walk figure (meaning the point at which the deal is no longer good for you). Start with the wished amount and try to negotiate an amount somewhere between that and your want figure.


  1. Get specific about your annual bonus

If an annual bonus is part of your compensation package, is it pro-rated based on when you join the company? If so, you could be losing out. Try to negotiate a bonus of a fixed amount for your first year.

Another approach is to find out what it would take to exceed expectations in your first year and link that to a specific bonus to be paid if you’re successful.


  1. Consider other benefits and prioritise what matters most to you

It’s not just about your salary. Perhaps you value other benefits, such as flexible working, holiday time, gym membership, early Fridays, ongoing training, share options, or a budget for your home office. Consider accepting a slightly lower salary if some of these benefits are included in your package.

Remember that companies are more likely to give you something that doesn’t cost them anything. The job title is a case in point. And while it might not bring you an instant salary hike, it can make a big difference to your pocket when you move on to your next company.


  1. Let the other companies you’re interviewing with know that you’ve got an offer

Having an offer in the bag instantly makes you a more attractive candidate. So tell the other companies that you’re interviewing with about your offer and see what happens. Say that you’re very interested in the role (with the offer) but don’t want to progress things without having updated them first.


  1. Be confident and professional

Confidence comes naturally to some but not to all. The good news is it can be learned by changing your mindset and developing a belief in your unique value. This confidence will help you convey your worth at the interview and during the negotiation phase.

Remain professional, polite, and enthusiastic throughout the negotiation process. View this stage as an opportunity to reinforce the skills, experience, and traits you offer while also requesting that your future employer rewards you reasonably for your value.

For more advice on how to negotiate like a pro – or to fast-track your search for your next dream job and nail the salary you deserve – please get in touch at or on 020 7092 3911.

To further explore the topic, please visit our blog articles below:

How to ace the interview question: “What’s your current salary?”

How To Negotiate A Better Salary At Interview