Here’s how to negotiate your salary

By Hannah Kingston

Wednesday October 21, 2020


Wondering how to negotiate your salary during the interviewing process or a performance review at work?

It’s not always an easy task, it can feel intimidating to “discuss your worth” at work, or at least the worth that your employer puts on your output, but there is a craft to it.

Here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to negotiating your salary during the interview process or at a performance review at this work. This quick cheat sheet could be your saving grace ahead of walking into the room.

How to negotiate your salary during the interview process


  • Research ahead of the interview to get an idea of the average salary for your role
  • Go into the conversation with a clear idea of your value
  • Know how to back up the number you are proposing with your experience and skill set
  • Ensure that you have buy in before naming your salary, to avoid scaring potential employers off
  • Be willing to listen to your interviewer talk through the whys of your budget
  • Aim for the higher end of the range that was specified
  • Act confident in what you are asking for, maintain eye contact and smile
  • Say that you can discuss later in the process if you feel resistance
  • Be willing to walk away if there is no compromise on your desired salary


  • Disclose your outlined salary until you have your foot in the door
  • Disclose your previous salary if it was lower than what you want in your new role
  • Aim low to make yourself seem like a more desirable candidate
  • Aim too high in the hope that you can negotiate for marginally lower
  • Quickly bend to your potential employer’s number because the conversation makes you uncomfortable
  • Get irritated if the conversation isn’t going your way
  • Close the door, say that you are willing to continue negotiating after the interview

How to negotiate your salary during a performance review


  • Choose the right time to have the conversation
  • Organise your thoughts before the meeting
  • Ask for feedback before launching into your pitch
  • Speak to what you will do, not what you have done
  • Have a specific salary in your mind, not a range
  • Practice your pitch on a trusted peer before having this conversation
  • Focus on the positives of what you bring to the team
  • Put emphasis on your market value, and organisational knowledge
  • Do create a one-pager or presentation if you think it will help
  • Stay positive throughout the conversation
  • Let HR or your manager know that you know your worth


  • Pick a time when your manager is stressed or busy
  • Focus on how your personal needs have changed
  • Provide a salary range
  • Back peddle on what you are saying
  • Let HR or your manager talk you down
  • Bring up anything negative
  • Shy away from a potential “no”
  • Be afraid to counter-negotiate
  • Make threats to walk if you don’t like what you are hearing

Now read: 10 signs that it’s time for a career change

Now read: 5 ways to beat imposter syndrome at work

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