6 Tips For Smarter Negotiation Of Salary & Fair Compensation

The complexities of the Singapore job market today should never intimidate you from negotiating a fair salary and compensation. Anyone who contributes work of value increasing a business’ revenue should be fairly compensated and it can be done through careful evaluation of the company you choose to be in and understanding who you’re dealing with. Be flexible with the terms offered, negotiate requests with justifiable reasons and work for the rewards you desire.


Here’s what everyone knows but chooses to ignore: the modus operandi for each business differs and they don’t all play by the same rules. Some have constraints in areas that aren’t revealed to the public, and some are seemingly more generous than others. Though distinct, they work to compensate their employees the best way they know how. But there’s a different breed of people who want more than what’s offered and will take a different route than others through smart negotiation. 


There’s a difference between negotiating to get the things that you want and the things that you deserve. Complexity creates opportunities for the shrewd whose skilful negotiations seep through the cracks of the terms and conditions of an employment contract for they shall reap the benefits that come with it. 


[1] You don’t get two shots at first impressions. 

You don’t get a second chance at first impressions. It matters because that’s how the hiring committee will see you from here and now. If they like what they hear and see, they will fight for you. Henceforth, whatever approach you take from here determines your leverage between the prospective hirers and yourself. Carry yourself with humility and confidence as you negotiate to seek common ground in an offer you disagree with. Negotiate, not demand, lest make you sound arrogant and entitled. You can avoid such negotiations by practising with experienced colleagues in return for constructive feedback. 


[2] Be intentional, not play hard to get.

There’s no hard and fast rule against having multiple job offers and simultaneous interviews, after all, you’re looking for the one that best fits you. It’s best to make your intentions known from the beginning because no interviewer wants to break their backs negotiating with the higher-ups just to get what you asked only to receive a “Sorry, I’m not interested.” Refrain from rubbing it in their faces though you may have multiple offers under your belt. Initially, it may seem like leverage but overdoing it might send them a message that they might not get you and retract the offer altogether. If you are interested, make it known. State what sort of benefits or conditions you can agree on, enough to forgo the other offers you have. 


[3] It’s not always about you.

Everything about you might look and feel good but it doesn’t dictate that they’ll give you what you want. Consider this: every company has budget constraints that are non-negotiable, but tactful negotiators take note that though one component is inflexible, they begin searching for ones that are through a little probing. As you understand the other party’s constraints, you will be able to propose options that work to solve the problem between you and your prospective employer. 


[4] Ask anything, everything, all at once.

Most times in the midst of negotiating a fair offer, having tunnel vision when it comes to getting what you want lands you at disadvantage. You’re better off thinking thoughtfully about everything you want before an offer is finalised. Remember this: prior to stating any request during the negotiation stage, list out things that you require and state the relative importance of each to you. Set aside time to list them all at once instead of coming up with new ones every time changes have been made. This not only robs someone of their giving but turns off those who seek to be understanding of you. The ones making the offer don’t have time to figure out what you want and probably will pick the ones that are pretty easy to give you. You’ll end up with an offer that’s no better than the initial. 


[5] Think beyond the money.

Never allow money to cloud your judgement, especially in any decision-making. Think of the job prospects—what it offers, the room for growth and development, job flexibility, location and work hours, perks, and certification courses that upskill and increase your market value. Consider not only what but when you want to be rewarded. Perhaps the beginning of your career journey might seem less than glamorous but working strategically towards it gives you the leverage to reap the exquisite rewards later. Think ahead and beyond as you map out your career course.


[6] Calculated Persistency with Consistency. 

Nothing’s ever set in stone. What’s non-negotiable today may be negotiable tomorrow; give it time. Direction changes and constraints loosen—learn to wait it out. Suppose you suggest to your bosses that it’s time for a pay raise, considering the amount of time you’ve been with them and the kind of tasks you take on. Bear in mind that a decision as such means the answer is never immediate, sometimes, it’s an irrefutable ‘no‘. Have the patience to put off hasty judgement before making any rash decisions. Prove to your bosses why you deserve what you requested. Be bold to revisit the conversation that was left unresolved, because some time down the road, the person may be able to do something he couldn’t do before. But beware of incessant persistency that puts off the decision-maker, you want the scales to tip in your favour, not the opposite. 



Written & Illustrated by Destiny Goh
Marketing Communications Executive