How to Negotiate Your Salary

How To Negotiate Your Salary

Maybe the job that you’ve got your eye on is near-perfect and you just want a better pay. Maybe your yearly review is coming up and you feel like you’re due for a salary increase. Either way, we know that negotiating your salary can be a tricky task, so here’s some advice for navigating that terrain!

What should I know beforehand?

Is my position suitable for negotiation?

Negotiating your salary in the service industry is very much possible, and is not limited to just white-collar work. Perhaps you’ve been a restaurant manager with years of experience under your belt and you think a higher wage will suit you just fine. Negotiating your salary is always worth a try. Just do your research and make sure you’re in the right position to do so!

Most part-time roles have fixed wages that cannot be negotiated. Nonetheless, it is a legal requirement that employees over the age of 23 must be paid the national living wage, and everyone must be paid at least minimum wage. Unless you are working for an independent business, it will be very unlikely that you will be able to negotiate your pay as a part-time employee. This might also apply to full-time, non-managerial roles as well.

If you are applying for a managerial position, this is where you might have the opportunity to discuss your wages and to push for a higher salary. This is because:

  • The position will influence other employees
  • You can sell yourself
  • They are only hiring one of you

Who is interviewing me?

Unless you are in a big group interview, chances are that you will be interviewed by the hiring manager of the restaurant/cafe/bar you are applying to. Oftentimes, the hiring manager is also the general manager, depending on the size of the company. This can actually be a blessing, as the general manager often witnesses all the daily successes and failures of their branch. You can present yourself as the solution to all the current problems they see within the establishment.

Alternatively, you might also be interviewed by an HR representative of the company, as they are involved in the screening process of an applicant!

When do we talk about salary?

Wages should be mentioned in the job description in order to give potential candidates an honest idea of what they are applying for. Even in job alerts on social media, pay is a key piece of information. Assess what the job description says. For instance, if it says that ‘salary is
from £13/ph’ or ‘up to £15’ it means that your experience and skill level can affect your final pay. At your interview, you can clarify this and take the opportunity to make your case that you should get the max pay.

Sometimes companies have a form for you to fill in as part of your application. Here, you should think about what is appropriate to write as your salary expectation – is it the industry standard? Mentioning your salary expectation here helps open the conversation in the actual interview- so you don’t have to bring up the topic coldly.

When you register at Placed, you can select your salary expectations in your profile – which is excellent as you can express what you really want straight off the bat. We sometimes want to dance around the topic of salary in case it’s ‘taboo’ or ‘impolite’, but having the matter of fact there could mean that the manager is more likely to bring it up, or at least they’d have an idea of what you want.

Can they rescind my offer?

You don’t want to appear too demanding or arrogant in front of the manager, as they can rescind your offer.

There is nothing wrong with negotiating your salary when you get your offer, or discussing it during the interview process. The important thing is staying classy and well-mannered throughout.

Do avoid negotiating after you’ve said ‘yes’, only to ask for more. Make sure your acceptance is final on your side as it can be difficult to backtrack.

If your employer uses phrases such as ‘this is the absolute most we can offer you at the moment’, or ‘this was a tough decision as we had other strong candidates’, do consider pulling back your negotiating efforts if you would still want the job. They have indicated to you that this may be their last offer, or that they have other people in mind who would be willing to take the starting salary if the role was offered to them.

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What is a competitive salary? How can you use it to your advantage?

When an employer says that they’re offering you a competitive salary, it means that it is either the average for your role, or higher. This is definitely something that you can discuss between you and them, as they clearly have a higher budget available to them in order to hire a quality candidate.

Knowing that, all you have to do is prove that you’re the quality candidate worth stretching for. Use this to your advantage by doing your research – is the industry average set to increase this year? Whilst it’s the average salary, does the job role you’re applying for require extra responsibility or skills that should be reflected in your pay?

There is room for growth; if you can’t have a higher starting salary now, there’s nothing wrong with asking what potential your role has for future progression. Asking about promotions, bonuses and salary increases shows the employer that you’re keen and ambitious, and the information you gather will let you know if the role is worth going for.

How to actually negotiate

Negotiate your salary by making a case as to why you deserve it. For example, you can explain the ways that you over-qualify for the job, and would be bringing into the business something above the pay grade. You might have extra knowledge and work experience that wasn’t even in the job description that would really benefit the overall team. Perhaps there isn’t an ‘’x’ position in the establishment yet, and you would be able to fill that gap. 

You should aim to express your interest in accepting the offer or staying at your job, but that only the salary stands between you and a ‘yes’. For example: ‘I’m beyond happy to have been offered a role here, and I’m ready to hit the ground running. However, I’d be looking for a salary of at least X amount’’. This would communicate your expectations upfront and inform the manager that a higher salary can keep you on. 

Show your research by actually ‘naming your price’. A.K.A instead of saying you want ‘a higher salary’, give an exact figure , as it shows that you’ve done enough research to decide the salary you think you’re worth. You can ask for slightly higher so that the manager will counter-offer with a lower figure that you’re still happy with. What you’d want to avoid is asking for something ‘within the range of x to y’, as the manager will obviously offer you a figure at the lower end. Use your own intuition to decide the level of flexibility the person has in front of you.

Negotiating whilst face to face is most effective as you can be receptive to the person in front of you. You’ll be able to read whether they are keen to hire you and if they want to contemplate any further. Otherwise, your next best bet is to discuss over the phone, as you’ll be able to hear their tone of voice and communicate with your own.

Keep a calm and collected demeanour throughout the negotiation process – and do not take offence to any low offers or if they refuse to budge on salary – it’s probably not because of you, but because of the budget that the manager has been given!

As you would do with an interview, a negotiation must be prepared and practised. As we’ve mentioned before, the opportunity to negotiate can range from the job interview, the job offer and during a review period as an employee. If you want to negotiate your salary at any of these points, you need to have rehearsed what you want to say, and work that into the discussion!

We wish you a successful negotiation!

But don’t be disheartened if you fail to get your preferred salary. If you decide to turn down your offer, it will be because you know that you can earn more with the skill and potential you possess, and it’s worth looking for something else! 

If you do take the offer, you will still have the opportunity to earn more than your starting salary! Employees should have reviews with their senior management at least bi-annually to discuss their progress and performance. Here, you can negotiate your raise by proving your successes at the workplace and making your case again. Changes in staffing might mean that you’ll get a promotion way before you expected – so there’s always another chance to talk about salary!

Don’t forget that many workplaces also increase the salary of their employees the longer they work there. Some also give candidates a bonus when they first start as an extra incentive. In fact, many employers on Placed App offer these bonuses and more! Find your next job on Placed and put our tips into practice!

Need a few more tips to help you decide if a job is right for you?

Read our blog Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Looking for a Job