Business people talking at meeting room.

What your recruiter wants you to know: negotiating salary

It’s no secret that salary affects your decisions when looking for a new job.

Negotiating compensation that is best for both the employee and employer can be a stressful and tricky situation for all involved. Sometimes the offer may not be what you are expecting, but there is always room for compromise.

Many people are under the impression that the job of a recruiter is simply to match a candidate to a role and once the interview is over, let them work it out – but that isn’t at all the case (at least not here at Mainstay!). A recruiter can be extremely beneficial when negotiating, helping everyone get the best possible outcome. 

In this article, we’ll look at how a recruiter can help you negotiate, how you can help your recruiter come to the best outcome and how else you can be compensated for your time.

How can a recruiter help you negotiate salary?

Set salary expectations

We’ve all seen the phrase ‘competitive salary’, but how are you supposed to know what is classed as competitive? Or even suitable for a person of your skill level? Recruiters have the ultimate insight into what an appropriate package looks like and can advise on when your expectations are high or low.

With experience comes skill

Negotiating is a skill that comes with practice, and recruiters are negotiating on the behalves of both employers and employees daily. You need to trust that your recruiter knows what they are doing when it comes to getting you the best outcome.

An ‘in’ with the company

It’s difficult to know how much a company is willing to flex from their initial offer. Your recruiter has been speaking to them from the beginning of the recruitment process for this role, and possibly longer if they have a long-standing relationship. If anyone knows what is possible, it’s your recruiter.

A recruiter will work hard to get you what you are worth

Ultimately, your recruiter wants the best deal for both you and the company you’re applying to. Not only do they want you to be happy in your role, but they also want to maintain a strong relationship with their client, which means delivering a worker that aligns with their company vision.

Smiling young African American businessman discussing work while sitting with a diverse group of colleagues during a meeting negotiating salary.

How you can help your recruiter

A good recruiter will do everything they can to facilitate a seamless process with a positive outcome, but there are many things you can do to make this run even smoother and heighten the chances of a successful process.

Only negotiate if you are serious about accepting the role

Not only does it look bad for your recruiter, but it also can tarnish your reputation if you are negotiating job offers with no intent to accept.

Be clear about what you want and what your dealbreakers are

Decide what it is that you want and make it clear what it would take for you to accept the role. Try to avoid back and forth by presenting everything at once rather than agreeing on one thing and then asking for another, as this can appear unprofessional and ultimately make the employer lose interest.

Communicate any conflicts you have that could affect jobs you would consider

If you have any specific requirements such as remote working or needing to finish work in time for the school run, make sure you have communicated them as soon as possible, so you aren’t interviewing for roles that aren’t going to work out.

Evidence why you think you deserve what you’re asking for

The more your recruiter can big you up, the better. The more value you add to a company and the more of the job specification that you fill, the more likely you are to get a better offering.

Be honest and open about other opportunities

If you are interviewing for other positions, let your recruiter know. They’re not going to use it against you, but they are going to appreciate you being honest with them.

Understand that a company may have limits on what they can offer, despite your recruiter’s best efforts

Just because a company can’t meet your expectations doesn’t mean your recruiter isn’t working hard enough. Sometimes, they simply can’t offer anymore. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t find you a role that does, so don’t burn any bridges.

If the salary can’t budge, what can be done?

Sometimes an employer may not be willing/able to offer an initial salary at your desired rate, but there are a variety of ways around this to offset a lower salary. These include:

  • Increased allowance for paid holiday, ‘work-from-anywhere’ allowance, and holiday ‘buy-back’ schemes.
  • A car, van, car allowance or fuel card with options such as personal use.
  • Remote and hybrid working.
  • Bonus schemes, such as health and life insurance, company discount offers, childcare options etc.
  • A higher commission rate or lower targets to achieve a bonus (if relevant).
  • Initially agreeing to lower pay, but agreeing to an increase based on completion of a probationary period or hitting specific targets within a set period.
  • Agreeing to increase salary on completion of training or qualification. Hours can be allocated to study or the courses paid for in addition to this.
  • Organise for a salary review to take place a set amount of time after beginning the position.

When deciding what is right for you, remember to always ask for benefits that are proportionate to your role and realistic. For example, there is no point in asking to remote work if you are a delivery driver. Read more about benefits here.

Finally, if you have to, be prepared to walk away. It may sound controversial, but if the role isn’t going to work for you, there are always other roles.

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