5 smart approaches to consider when negotiating a starting salary

Never indicate your salary expectations on the job application (Shutterstock.com)

Salary negotiations can easily be one of the most intimidating parts of any job application or interview process. Here's how to win your next salary talk.

One of the most intimidating and nerve wracking parts of any job application or interview process must be the salary negotiations. Say a number that’s too low and you could lose out. Choose a figure that’s too high and the hiring manager might put your application directly in the “reject” pile.  

Of course, it takes a lot of grit to dodge salary-related questions from an HR or hiring manager, but do try. If you don’t, you could end up making a very expensive mistake. Next time you’re in salary negotiation wars, remember the steps below to make sure you’re on the right track.

1. Never indicate your salary expectations on the job application. If you’re asked to fill in your future salary requirements, simply state “open”. You don’t need to indicate your salary requirements up front. If your skills and qualifications are strong enough, you’ll still get a call-back for a job interview.

2. Never give the interviewer a clear indication of what your previous salary was. If you’re asked what your current rate is, respond by asking what the salary range is for the position. Then ask what the responsibilities for the current position are. This is where your negotiation will start.

Read: 5 smart ways to negotiate a salary

3. If you’re asked what you've been paid in the past. Answer this question very vaguely by stating that you’re willing to discuss it when the time arises during the interview process. At a push you can mention that your earnings where 'market related'. 

4. If HR wants to know what your salary expectations are, when you’re face-to-face with them. Politely say that you will have to measure it up against your responsibilities and whether or not there is room to grow within the company. Find out how your work affects the company’s bottom line and then discuss how your skills can add value to the company. Once you know all these things you can then let the hiring manager know that you would consider an offer.  

5. Never stop your job search. Remember, nothing is certain until you have it in writing. Keep looking for jobs. If you don’t get another offer you would have at least gained some insight into what you should get paid for your job. 

6. After you’ve received an offer, find out if there is room for negotiation. Most companies do allow for it, but you’ll never know unless you ask.  

During salary negotiations you have the most power you will ever have. Don’t let it slip through your fingers by rushing the process and settling for an OK salary.