How To Handle Salary Talk with A Tech Recruiter


Finding a new job is always a stressful process. Doesn’t matter whether it’s your first time at the rodeo or you already know the whole drill.

Some of us handle it better than others, but there’s one stage of the hiring process that’s especially difficult: salary negotiations.

We are currently living in a time when money is scarce, but smart and hard work pays off handsomely. So why are we still afraid to discuss the bling when the occasion arises, even though we are aware of our worth?

Hands holding pens
Source: Pixabay

The elephant in the room is that candidates who negotiate their salaries typically receive higher offers than those who do not. 

Employees who make an effort to negotiate a higher salary are often viewed favorably by their employers. This is because they show that they have the qualities that will make them successful in their roles.

There is, alas, no foolproof method to bargain successfully for a salary.

There are an infinite number of ways a negotiation could end, depending on things like how much time the hiring manager has and how much money they have to spend. And above all, the human condition is too complex to be addressed with a universal formula.

Fortunately, there are some tips we can give you in order to enter the negotiation process with a clearer mind and a brighter perspective.

Conduct Extensive Research

You should research the market rate for the position you are applying for before going in for an interview. Whether you’re a QA tester, an outsource WordPress partner, or a PHP developer, there is so much information online about the offers different companies make.

This kind of information can be found on platforms such as Glassdoor or PayScale, which most people already know. But in this day and age, that’s just the tip of the information iceberg. 

You can’t just rely on the information you find on salary websites; you also need to talk to actual people. Communicate with multiple HR professionals. If you don’t have any in the field you’re applying to, LinkedIn can help you find connections who do. 

You could also ask people you know, or mutuals you might have. If you want to know how much money you can expect to make in a specific profession, you should talk to people in your area who have similar qualifications to you and are already working in that field. Obviously, everyone has a slightly different set of requirements, but this method should put you in the ballpark.

And when “the talk” happens, it’s always better to come prepared and informed. That way, the recruiter will know you informed yourself well enough and be able to perceive how much your work is worth. 

The Gratitude Sandwich

One of the best negotiation tips that can be found online is as tasty as it sounds. It is the best way to appear gracious, polite, confident, and firm when you’re not quite satisfied with the initial offer. 

Basically, it’s a method that enables you to present everything you like and admire about the company itself, its work methods, etc. but packed with a slice of confidence. 

The first thing you do is show appreciation for everything else about the company and your experience with it before talking about money. Let them know that you felt comfortable during the whole process and that you look forward to becoming part of the team

Then, we go onto the toppings. You should address the fact that you made more money in the same role in your previous position or that the pay range (based on your previous research!) doesn’t quite align with their offer

Person stacking coins
Photo by Towfiqu Barbhuiya on Unsplash

Go with something like:

“I reviewed the offer package and realized the salary is lower than my previous one; therefore, I would like to verify that I am being compensated fairly. Based on my skill set, previous experience, and market rates, it makes sense to me to be in the higher salary range between $X and $Y. If you are able to raise the salary to a level in that range, I would gladly accept the offer.”

Show that you’re prepared and know what you want and can do by keeping it short and clear. 

The final part of the gratitude sandwich is showing your appreciation for the opportunity and letting the recruiters know that you are available for any additional information they may need.

Remember, negotiations are not conflicts; they are collaborations between you and the recruiter, so keeping the right tone throughout the process is key to getting what you know you deserve.  

Nail the Timing

Waiting too long to talk about compensation would bring problems—not only for you but also for the recruiter and other people who are in the interviewing process.

Establishing trust and goodwill with negotiating partners early on is essential. However, once you have an offer in hand, you must move quickly to negotiate.

The first benefit is that it demonstrates your interest in the position. To want to negotiate means you want to find a way to make the offer beneficial to you. Furthermore, you’re avoiding the possibility of unpleasant consequences. 

The company will be in a weak position if you wait until the last minute to begin negotiations. They may be considering other applicants, and delaying their decision shows a lack of respect for both them and the people who are waiting for a response, and tech recruitment takes a long time.

That not only puts the company in an awkward position, but also leaves the recruiter with less time to advocate on your behalf.

It’s All About the Confidence

Take care to project an air of self-assurance in both your body language and your voice. Don’t drag out the justifications for your salary increase when making a request. Send in your request and a short, clear explanation of why you think the amount you’re asking for is fair.

You may think recruiters want to avoid spending more money from the company’s budget, but quality hires are a dream come true for any recruiter out there. 

Not only can you get a position with the desired salary, but the recruiter themselves will appear better since they conducted a team of great collaborators. And trust us, tech recruiters will do anything to nail the fit for each role.

But if you are not able to communicate your needs well, you might not seem like the best pick. Communication skills are everything, no matter what role you’re applying for in the tech industry. 

Establishing a firm and reasonable image of yourself puts you in a good position even before you enter that office, or start climbing up the corporate ladder. 

Don’t forget the fact that you are choosing a place you’re going to work years in advance. 

Recruiters like meeting people who show interest, self-respect and initiative to join a team of people who enjoy working towards the same goal, but it’s also your feelings and needs that should be satisfied. 

People silhouettes
Source: Pixabay

Didn’t like where that conversation led you to? Well, maybe you’ve dodged a bullet and saved yourself from a potential disaster. Just make sure you stay polite all the way to the end of the process.

Discuss Potential Alternatives

If the employer can’t give you the salary you want, think about other good options that might cost less. You can look into negotiating holiday days.

For example, if new employees must work for 6–12 months before receiving paid holidays, request that this restriction be lifted, ask for yearly salary reviews, or even a sign-on or performance bonus. Companies may be unable to meet your expectations, but they may be able to provide more sign-on bonuses if you appear to be a fit that cannot be overlooked. 

Consider the case of one of the industry’s goliaths, Apple. Recruits are given stock, sign-on, and cash bonuses by the company. At the same time, you should look into benefits like time off, remote work, meals, and healthcare. 

Obtain a comprehensive overview to decipher the true picture and negotiate wisely. Sometimes, some of the benefits are even better than a higher salary itself

Final Words

Knowing your worth in the market and not underselling yourself can help you take advantage of the fierce competition between recruiters for top talent.

Although the focus of these pointers is on discussing pay when accepting a new position, they can easily be applied to discussions about increasing one’s current salary. Knowing your negotiation partners will give you an additional advantage when asking for a raise. 

You are familiar with the words that resonate with them, the emotions that move them, and the arguments that would cause them to reject your proposal. Put it to good use.


This post was originally posted on Contact Out.

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