Negotiation Tips for Candidates with Work Experience


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So, your interviews have gone well and you’ve now been asked to discuss terms incl. salary. You feel confident because you know you impressed the interview panel – they kept nodding in agreement every time you answered a question – indeed some even smiled. You sit back as you wait for their salary offer – they would be silly to lose a candidate like you, you assure yourself. You are perfect for this job and you bring experience to the table. Someone then repeats your name and asks what you think about their salary offer. Is someone giving you smelling salt? Did you really faint? Was their salary offer really what you heard? How do you get out of this negotiation maze?


  • PREPARATION – Like most things in life, preparation is central to your success; even more so than how you perform at the negotiating table. Therefore leave no stone unturned in your research. Do your homework, because with greater knowledge, you will be able to set the parameters of the discussion in your favour.
  • WIN-WIN SITUATION – Ensure that you listen very carefully to what the other party has to say. If you are able to quickly determine their need, you will then be better able to negotiate a fair outcome for both parties – a win-win situation.
  • CONFIDENCE – Interviews are never a waste of time. If you made the necessary preparation, then confidence will come naturally. But whatever the outcome, remain upbeat at all times and take something away from each and every experience.
  • CONCEDING TOO EARLY – Remember the above quote: “you get what you negotiate, not what you deserve.” Therefore under no circumstances should you sell yourself short by using words such as “between”. That is to say that you are looking for a salary ‘between’ KSh 120,000 to KSh 150,000. Most negotiators will immediately zone in on the lowest point of your quoted figure and not move from there. This is why extensive preparation is vital, prior to entering any negation. Every candidate should have a firm grasp of their skills set, leading to a solid understanding of the salary they can command.
  • REMAIN CALM – This is self explanatory. In the event that you are offered an impossibly low salary, remain calm while you reflect on the offer. Try not to show your disapproval and instead put forward your required figure. If they refuse to budge from their original offer, and you feel the discussions are not moving anywhere, then politely bring the matter to a close by proposing that you need time to reflect on their offer overnight. This would allow you more time to take stock of events and possibly reject their offer if it’s not feasible. Should you reject their offer, then ensure that you do so in a polite and professional manner, that is, a telephone call followed by a confirmation email, referring to this call.

Please be advised that in the commercial world, at no point will you be reminded of your true worth. That is a factor only you can determine.

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