3 Tips for Negotiating Your Salary in English

You've done your research and know how much you should be paid. Now how do you make sure you get this salary?

Whether you've already gotten an offer or are still in interviewing, check out these three tips for negotiating your salary in English.

1. Don't Be Too Direct

In English-speaking countries, money is a sensitive topic. You don't want to seem too eager to talk about it. So when you negotiate your salary, choose your words carefully. For example, instead of saying "pay" or "money," try less direct words. Here are some options:

  • "Compensation": Compensation includes everything the company pays you, including money (e.g. salary, bonuses, and commission) and other things (e.g. benefits and equity).
  • "Pay scale" or "Salary range": These phrases ask for a range instead of an exact number.

In addition, before bringing up pay, English speakers will usually say something positive first. For example, they might thank the interviewer or mentioning how interested they are in the job.

Thank you for the offer. I'm excited that your team wants me on board! However before accepting the offer, I'd like to address the proposed salary.

I appreciate the time you've taken to speak with me today. To make sure we're truly a good fit for each other, could you tell me a bit about compensation? I don't think I saw any specifics in the job listing.

You'll also hear people use the word "something" when they talk about money. This is a good way to be indirect: e.g. "I had something slightly higher in mind" or "I was hoping for something in the range of X and Y."

2. Don’t Name a Number First

When an interviewer asks about your salary expectations, it's better not to say.

  • If you name a number too low, you make it harder to ask for more later.
  • If you name a number too high (and haven't had a chance to show you're worth it yet), the company may stop considering you.

So even if you know exactly how much you should be paid for a position, it's better to avoid naming a number first. Generally, English speakers do this by saying that they need more information about the role to know what a fair offer would look like.

You can also ask the company what they expect to pay. All companies have a budget for the positions they're hiring. Knowing this budget will give you a better starting point for negotiations. Here are some ways to bring this up.

I think I need to know more about the role and the company to give you an accurate number. Can you give me an idea of the salary range you had in mind?

I'd be happy with a salary that reflects my experiences and qualifications. What can you share about the budget for this position?

3. Explain Why You Deserve More

Don't be afraid to ask for a higher salary.

It can be a good idea to ask for more money than you actually expect to get. Your boss may say no, but they may also consider something closer to the amount you suggest — or even offer exactly what you ask!

"How to Negotiate a Better Salary" | Engoo Daily News

However, avoid directly saying that an offer is "low," since this can sound rude in English. Instead:

  1. Say that you had a higher salary in mind.
  2. Explain why you're worth the extra pay.

Here are some reasons you can use to justify your request:

  • You have a very specific skill set or background that the company needs.
  • You have a lot more experience and expertise than the company originally asked for.
  • The proposed salary is lower than the industry standard, your current pay, or (if appropriate) the salary that another company offered you.

You may also want to tell the company that you understand why they made the offer (e.g. budgeting issues) and assure them that you want to be flexible. Here are some ways to do that:

I understand there are budget constraints and I definitely want to be flexible. However, since I have more than a decade of experience in corporate sales and a solid track record of managing client relationships, I'd like to explore whether a slightly higher salary of $100,000 would be possible.

Based on my research, similar positions in this area pay between £40,000 and £47,000. Given my experience, I'd expect something on the higher side, though I'm open to discussing other forms of compensation.

Bonus: Practice With a Tutor

If you need help preparing for a job interview in any field, try practicing with a professional English tutor. At Engoo, our tutors have worked in a variety of industries, from graphic design and music to accounting and finance. Many also have experience preparing students for job interviews. So you'll definitely get the help you need. Sign up here!