How to negotiate for a better starting salary

May 11, 2015

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According to a recent survey by Corporate Staffing, 60 percent of Kenyan employees are looking to move jobs with a majority (37 percent) looking for better pay. While most candidates ace job interviews, most people don’t know how to negotiate for a higher salary.

When attending a job interview, it is important to research on the size of company, industry and the market share. This information will assist you in negotiating for a better pay. For example, it is highly unlikely that an SME will pay better than a multinational. You will also not get a competitive pay if it’s an entry level position.  Established companies pay better than new companies.

When it comes to job interviews, salary is normally the last thing to be discussed. When you are asked about your expected salary, always have a range in mind. The lower limit should be the figure you are most comfortable with while the upper limit should be 20 percent above the lower limit. You don’t want to give a range that is too wide i.e. 50-120K. For example, if asked what I am looking for, my answer can be: ‘Based on the job description and responsibilities I am looking for a salary range of 100-120K’.

If you truly want to earn a good salary than what the employer has budgeted for then you need to demonstrate to the employer that you possess extra skills beyond what is specified in the job description. Assume that you are being interviewed for a customer care job. While the job is for customer care, you can demonstrate to the employer that you possess other skills i.e. sales and marketing. In short, you are proving to the employer that you can do more than a candidate who only possesses customer care skills. This is how individuals end up earning higher salaries. They are able to prove the extra value they are bringing to the company.

To negotiate for a better salary, you have to know what you want, what you can deliver, and the specific value you are bringing to the company.  Unfortunately, most of us don’t do enough research and thereby end up at the mercy of employers when it comes to salary negotiations.

Perminus Wainana has over ten years experience in human resource management working with employers from different sectors.  Email 

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