Negotiating Your Wage: Job Seekers

Applying for jobs can be tough, especially in today’s economy. There is a plethora of job vacancies out there, but in some cases, the wage may not necessarily reflect expectations. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, analyzed data from a recent Statistics Canada temporary labour force survey and found 63 percent of job postings aren’t meeting the minimum worker expectations for wages. The cost of living has also risen in BC, with Victoria now sitting at $24.29. If you are looking for a job, there are things you can consider before accepting a new position and its wage rate.  

Fully understand the job, before you accept any wage 

Make sure you understand the responsibilities, requirements, and expectations for the position. If you are asked about wages in the interview, try not to talk about any set ranges and never disclose how much you made in your previous or current position. It’s best to ask for a wage increase after the interview, as you don’t want to get pinned down to a specific number without knowing all the details of the position. Once you’re further along in the process and have given a good impression, you’ll be in a stronger position to negotiate your salary. 

What to say: “I would prefer not to discuss wages this early in the process until I fully understand the scope of this role.” You can also flip it around and ask the employer what their range is for the position. 

What if the job requires an application before the interview asking for your salary range? According to Tori Dunlap, Author and Entrepreneur, there is no need to put anything down and you can simply put a “0”. Employers should not be hiring solely based on what a job seekers wage range is.  

Stay cool and confident during the negotiation 

A lot of people associate negotiation with conflict to some degree, which can be frightening. Instead, try to think of negotiation as working together to overcome the barriers that stand in the way of what you and the employer want to accomplish. After the job is offered to you, resolve to stay calm about the negotiating process. Ask for a couple of days to consider the job offer so that you can calculate your counteroffer and build your case. When you come back with your counteroffer, don’t get stuck on a hard number, instead have a range in mind. Don’t forget to factor in benefits as part of your total compensation range. Once you’ve determined your counteroffer, you can either email or call the employer.  

What to say: “Thank you for considering me as a candidate and the job offer. From learning more about the position during the interview, I know that my skills and experience will allow me to be a great fit for the team. With that in mind, I’m wondering if we can explore a slightly higher starting salary? My market research shows that this position should be making x to x.” 

Other things to think about 

  • Be sure to ask if the company conducts employee performance reviews. If the company holds reviews, this is a good sign for wage negotiations in the future. There is nothing worse than getting into a position with little to no growth. 
  • You can also negotiate other perks like extra vacation days, flexible hours, a work-from-home or hybrid schedule. 
  • It can be nerve racking asking for more compensation, so try to practice your conversation with a family member or friend. If you are sending the request via email, write it out and ask someone to proofread it. Grammarly also has a tone detector which can let you know if your email is coming off confident, egotistical, worried and other tones! 
  • Make sure to get everything in writing with your updated wage and other employment terms.