Starting a new job is exciting, but it often comes with more questions than answers. One of the biggest questions you’ll likely have is around remuneration - how much money am I being paid, and what can I do to earn more money?
Because money is such a driver, many job seekers sign contracts quickly to get themselves locked in. Jangan! Did you know that you can not only negotiate any job offer (even if it’s your first ever job) but you can continue to negotiate during your entire time in the role?
Salary talk can be intimidating - some companies might even think it’s taboo for you to bring up too often - but it’s completely acceptable to discuss the offer you’re made in detail. Employers normally leave some room for bargaining in their initial offers in case applicants do negotiate.
Here are some questions you can ask in the interview to begin your salary negotiations.
1. “Are you open for a salary discussion?” It’s a good conversation starter, instead of immediately asking to negotiate. You’re giving the employer ample time to prepare for your next questions and it also sets a more relaxed tone for a sensitive topic.
2. “Is there a chance of negotiating the offer?” Since you’ve already set an expectation, go ahead and ask this question - it’s better than beating around the bush. If the employer says yes, then good! But make sure that your asking is reasonable and on par with your actual worth as an employee. In case the employer answers no, accept it and move on to other things you can still negotiate.
3. “How and when will my salary be reviewed next?” This is a good follow-up question if you were unable to negotiate your salary. This’ll give you an idea of your chances to get an increase. Some companies offer appraisal after 3-6 probationary months, while at others it might be one year. By asking this question you will know what to expect. You might be happy to accept a lower offer for a really great job at a desirable company if you’re guaranteed an evaluation and possible salary increase in a few months. Also, knowing whether you’ll be stuck with a salary you’re not satisfied with will help you decide in the end if you still want to be part of their company.
Salary Negotiation Tips [Video]
4. “Is there a 13th month bonus?” While this is a given in some industries, it’s not the norm in others. A guaranteed annual bonus might be a good alternative to increasing the base offer. Plus, there might be other options for additional performance bonuses, which could net you quite a bit more cash if you’re a good worker.
5. “What other benefits do you offer?” Beyond your base salary and bonuses, what else makes up your entire remuneration? Will you be getting health coverage? Is your working schedule flexible, or are you allowed telecommuting when necessary (we all know how bad traffic gets in Malaysia!), or does the job involve travel? Some employers might give minimal allowances for transportation or food, and others might give you a company phone or vehicle. If negotiating pay isn’t something on the table right now, the benefits might be enough to get your over the line.
6. “Can I get the offer in writing?” Getting a very good offer verbally is one thing, but always ask for any negotiated terms to be sent to you in writing - ahead of the actual contract. Ask for a copy of the offer and have the right people sign it for authentication. Documenting is important especially in job offers and negotiations to make everything official. In the event of a dispute, you have something binding you can use to prove your case.
7. “When will I hear back from you?” Yes, you’re eager to start work and earn, but sometimes you’ll have a little more time to think it over. Knowing when to expect to hear from them (or when they can expect to hear from you!) will give you a good guide on how quickly they expect things to move.
While all these questions are useful, keep in mind that if you do successfully negotiate more money up front, this comes with increased responsibility. Because you’ll be earning more, your employer will be expecting more of you, and if you don’t deliver, you can expect to see consequences very fast.