Job Trends #3: 3 Steps to Negotiating For Pay


It’s obviously a difficult topic to broach. Bosses aren’t comfortable with tapping more funds, and they make sure you aren’t comfortable bringing it up. Companies want to pay less and get more. Put this on top of a relatively conservative Asian society where corporate hierarchy reigns supreme and you have a recipe for a taboo topic: Pay.

*Note*: This is an article about negotiating for pay upon landing a job offer. In Negotiating For A Pay Raise, keep a look out for our next article coming to you soon!


After your interviews, when you’re close to landing a secured job offer, often the final steps in the process involve finalising a pay package. Little negotiation is the norm, but that’s because nobody wants awkward tension between both parties, so it’s a short dance of give and take. One side ends up taking more, and another gives. Which do you want to be on?

These are a few steps that will guide you in negotiating for a pay package that better represents what you have to offer.

1. Start off with a strong (but reasonable) offer.

Do your research of jobs and the pay grade in this segment of the market. You should know beforehand whether the firm you’re applying for has a record of paying well or not. Often, employers looking for full-time workers will ask you to quote first. If you have secured your job via the interview, don’t be afraid to quote a slightly higher pay package than you feel you deserve. As long as it’s not ridiculously high, it won’t cost you anything. It’s likely they will bargain downwards, so you should have a little room upward to move into your comfort zone. It’s all about the anchoring effect (check it out here). Start higher and management will feel like they’ve gotten a bargain by taking your number down.

2. Justify your offer.

Many people will offer a quote and quickly back away, expecting a rebuff. Be confident in giving your quotation and give reasons why you feel you deserve that much. Highlight your relevant working experience and the value you can add to the department or organisation. Use testimonials and character references to your advantage. Almost nobody does this. They are there for a reason, and many testimonials are gleaming with the stuff your employer should know about you. They are likely to still take your offer a little lower, but at least they will feel they’re getting their monies worth, and you get a higher pay!

3. Don’t disclose your last drawn salary.

It’s a difficult one to do. Many companies are now making it an administrative requirement. If that’s the case, don’t fight it and risk standing out like a sore thumb. But here are some reasons why you shouldn’t be looking to disclose your last drawn pay:

1) You aren’t likely to have the same job scope at a new firm, and with different responsibilities should come a different pay cheque.

2) They’re not going to tell you how much the last person who held your position was paid (you can bargain for this in exchange for your own pay data).

3) Your value should be coming from the new firm you’re applying for, not the last one that you just left.

Here’s an example of how it should go down:

“Employer: Great! We think you’re a suitable candidate. Now all that’s left is to discuss your package. Do you have a number in mind?

You: Yes in fact I do. I’ve done my research in the industry, and I feel that I can justify a pay of $$$$. I understand this is higher than average, but give me a chance to explain to you why I feel it will be worth your money.

Employer: Okay… Go on…

You: I’ve achieved (performance objectives) in the last quarter, and overlooked _____ projects (so and so). Also, if you’d just look at my testimonial… It says “(you) are a efficient and hardworking member blablablablabla…” now you tell me if isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for! So I’m not asking for top pay, but I feel $$$$ represents fair value for the both of us.”

Expect some downward haggling from the organisation, but this is likely to land you a good number of dollars more than you would have otherwise!


Well, I hope this post has helped you understand some of the tricks in securing a higher, more fulfilling pay cheque every month! In learning to secure your job offers before negotiating for pay, check out our Job Interview Courses. That’s where our Interview Specialists take apart the Job Interviews and make sure you’re no less than your best.

Claim your tomorrow, today!


  1. lawrence - July 6, 2014


    tnx for info!