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Salary Negotiation – how to handle it

Salary negotiation. Quite possibly the most awkward part of the entire recruitment process First things first; it’s important to remember that you’ve already been offered the job. The employer obviously wants you in their team. This is simply their initial offer. At this point, everything’s up for negotiation.

Your starting salary at a company is so important. It’s generally the best opportunity you’ll get for a big pay increase. Not to mention the fact that future pay rises will be based on this figure as a starting point, meaning that the salary you accept at the outset will actually affect your future earnings. Here are our top tips on how to handle a salary negotiation.


Even if the offer is more than you predicted, negotiate. Providing you are calm, polite and professional, salary negotiation won’t go against you. You’ve got nothing to lose.

The reality is that most employers are expecting you to negotiate with them and and they’ll actually respect you for doing so. If you’re willing to fight for your own worth, then you’ll likely fight for the company too. That kind of attitude will certainly help you start your new job on the right foot. In addition, a successful negotiation is bound to boost your confidence as well as your future earnings.


If an employer asks what salary you’re looking for before they give you a figure, throw the ball into their court – say you’re open depending on the range, and the total package offered. Then when you have their initial offer, you can negotiate from there.

You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot and go for a figure lower than they were going to offer in the first place.


A salary negotiation is firmly rooted in work. Don’t make it personal. Employers don’t want to hear about your money woes, and they certainly won’t respect you for sharing them. Resist the urge to tell them about that pricey holiday you booked on a whim, or just how much your mortgage costs each month.

Instead, focus on why they should offer more. Be clear that you’re interested, but also that there’s a disparity between the figure they’re offering and the one you’d need to make the move. You don’t need to justify your need for a higher salary on a personal level.


Before you can have the conversation with your new employer, you need to work out your numbers. What’s the figure that you’d readily accept without further negotiation? And what’s the lowest you’ll accept?

Take your current earnings into account, but also make sure that you do your research on what other people with your skills and experience make at this level. Then you’ll have the confidence of knowing that you are aiming for a reasonable sum.

Once you’ve crunched the numbers, salary negotiation becomes far more straight-forward.


Whilst this blog is about the importance of negotiating the salary you deserve, remember that there’s far more to a job offer than simply the pay they’re offering.

Take care not to let other parts of the package fall by the wayside. It doesn’t make much sense to secure the salary you were hoping for, and ignore an incredibly meagre holiday allowance, for example. Generally, holiday is negotiable too, and is a vital component of the package they’re offering. Sometimes, the employer may not be able to increase the financial offer, but could stretch to offering more annual leave.

There may be other elements to the package offered. For example, health insurance, maternity leave, company car, flexible working and gym membership. Decide what they’re all worth to you. And of course, take into account how generous the pension scheme is. In the long run, anything that an employer contributes, you won’t have to make up yourself.


There’s no need to make a decision in a hurry. It’s perfectly standard practice to take a day or two to mull over any offer made by your prospective employer. In fact, making a snap decision during a conversation may be inadvisable.

Letting an employer know that you’re keen, but that you need some time to consider the offer, gives you time to think about it calmly and rationally. If for any reason they need an answer sooner, they’ll let you know.

As with anything, the first time you negotiate your salary is the hardest. But if you’re prepared, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t go well. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to be calm and confident. After all, this employer has already decided they want you – the hard part’s over. Now is the time to finish off the job and negotiate a deal that works for you.

Still nervous? Here’s a little fact for you: 89% of people who tried negotiating a salary offer were successful. There’s very little reason not to give it a try – your future self will be pleased that you did.

Mark Gill

By Mark Gill

Recruitment Director with a proven record of providing world class hires at all levels of office and management positions within the Leeds Bradford region. We use our unique Headway Recruitment Platform incorporating psychometric testing to find the top candidates. If you want access to the full local talent pool get in contact with the team at Headway. We help companies achieve growth through our unique approach. This ensures the candidates we place are the perfect fit. Companies are then best placed to get the best from each individual as they understand their motivating traits. Proud to be recognised as preferred supplier for several businesses in the Sunday Times top 100 firms to work for.
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