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Underpaid? Discover key tactics for negotiating a higher salary at interview

Could you unlock negotiation techniques to maximise your earnings?

Applying for a new job? Dreaming of a large pay increase? To stand out from the crowd, many people exaggerate on their CVs, but would you lie about your current salary? It’s certainly tempting, if you know you’re underpaid.

Statistics suggest women are unlikely to apply for a role unless they fulfil 100% of the job specification. So adding extra responsibilities to your CV or increasing your salary by a few thousand pounds looks like an easy answer.

Whether you’re looking to jump ship from a stressful job or you’re trying to save enough cash to get that deposit for your first home, a higher salary is key to helping you achieve your goals. However, simple techniques can help achieve that higher salary, without having to resort to underhand strategies.

Interview tactics

Walk in to the interview with a confident mind-set

Accept that you don’t have to fulfil every single job requirement. Ideally, you’ll have 60 to 70% of the skills required, but then you will learn the rest on the job. Believe in yourself, because the man being interviewed next almost certainly does. Prepare well and get some advice from confident friends who are flying high in their careers.

Think outside the box when describing your experience

Re-frame your experience – do you volunteer, speak another language fluently or compete in a sports team? Can you show examples of leadership, tenacity or problem solving? Think about incorporating this into your CV and interview answers, so future employees get a complete picture.

Dealing with awkward interview questions

‘So, what is your current salary?’ Do you keep your answer truthful or avoid answering the question? Worries about being offered a low salary can make fibbing an attractive option, but should you exaggerate your salary?

To be blunt: no.

Your new employer could ask for a pay slip or contact your current employer and revoke your job offer if they found you’d lied. There is a better way. Firstly your current employer may have confidentiality agreements in place that stop you from disclosing your salary, so ensure you check that out prior to any interview.

You could also use this time to briefly describe your career journey so far – the choices you’ve made and how they’ve led you to the position you are in now. It may be wise to take charge of the discussion and offer to supply your pay details after you’ve had a job offer.

For example ‘I’d be happy to share my pay slips once we get further in the recruitment process.’ Striking first and putting your salary information out there on your terms could give you an advantage. However, it’s best to wait until you’ve been short-listed for the position before doing this.

Doing your homework researching the market rate for your position is vital. This combined with your unique experience will guide you as to what salary you can realistically hope to achieve.

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