How can a recruitment consultant help negotiate my salary?

How can a recruitment consultant help negotiate my salary?

Talking salary with a new employer can be a tricky time – you don’t have a job offer yet, you don’t want to seem greedy or jeopardise the opportunity, but at the same time, you need to maximise your worth.

To do this there are some key points to remember

  1. Know your value
  2. Have the salary discussion early and be open
  3. Ask the budget!
  4. Consider what else is on offer
  5. Any deal breakers?

You will find lots of information out there on all of these points and more, but there is one way that is frequently left out...

Use your recruitment consultant

Why is that helpful? It's in the title – they're a consultant. An unbiased third party with whom you can have factual and honest conversations without worrying about how you will come off to the company you’re looking to impress.

You can put yourself at a real advantage by utilising the consultant’s existing relationship with the company and valuable inside knowledge, but before you start any negotiations, here are some points to consider.

According to our 2019 Games and Interactive Salary & Satisfaction survey, 15% of people had to turn down a job offer because the salary wasn’t right. Make sure you don't go through the whole process and fall into this trap by following these rules and find out how your consultant can help at each stage.



  1. Know your value

Before you even talk to your consultant, gain some market knowledge. There are a tonne of sources on average salaries split out by seniority, location, job title etc. Do your research and find out what you think you could look to expect.

Then speak to the consultant. They should be able to give you this information better than anyone – it’s their job to know! All their salary knowledge will go deeper and be more up to date than anything you can get from a table of numbers. They see in real time what salaries people have got in similar areas and know which skills have boosted or diminished their clout in the negotiations. This will help you to figure out what to aim for.


Take a look at our 2018 Salary Survey Results for Game Designers, Artists & Designers and Programmers to see what numbers you’re working with.


  1. Have the salary discussion early and be open

With the recruiter - not in your first interview! Don’t feel as though you need to have a definitive salary figure decided in your first conversation but it’s good to be completely honest with the consultant about what you’re looking to get in your next job. This also allows them to start discussions with the company much earlier than would be reasonable coming directly from you.

Remember - it is perfectly fine for your expectations to shift once you go through the process and start to learn more about each job/company, but it is useful to make sure from the get go that the salaries on offer are at least roughly on target.


  1. Ask the budget!

This is where the recruitment consultant can really add value – they will know exactly how much the employer is looking to pay for this role! Not all companies will have a specific figure to provide, but at the very least will have given a ballpark with which to work within.

Don’t shy away from asking what this is! (Again best to ask your recruiter not the company directly…)


  1. But what else is on offer?

During the application process you’ll rightfully be focusing on the salary on offer but we all know that isn’t the only thing that makes us happy in a job.

Most companies have set benefits for all employees but it’s always worth knowing what else your potential package could include.

The recruiter will know in full what is offered as standard and most importantly will have an idea of which benefits are open for negotiation. Would you take slightly less base salary if the right bonus was on offer? Or if they could tailor their relocation package/holiday offered to your needs?

Remember that you want to walk away happy with the whole package and finding out from the consultant where the wiggle room is will give you the best platform to flesh out your ideal situation. 


  1. Any deal breakers you need to get in?

Salary and benefits aside, establish what else is important to you. What are you getting in your current job, that you’re not prepared to give up on?  Flexible working; remote working; commuting time; training and career progression assurances or even visibility to leadership.

Your recruiter will have had the same honest discussions with the hiring managers as they have had with you and know what makes you most valuable to them as a candidate. They can therefore build the best case when asking for ‘extras’ but you need to know which aspects are non-negotiable for you.


  1. Timescales - who am I up against/who are they up against

Use your recruiter to establish where the employer is with this hire – which is again something that isn’t always acceptable to ask the company outright. Are there other people in contention? Have they been looking to fill this vacancy for a long time? It’s not ideal but the company’s situation will affect their attitude when negotiating and it’s helpful to know where you stand.

Likewise, if you have other opportunities in the pipeline don’t be afraid to share this information with the recruiter. You can become more attractive if employers know you have other offers, but if they’ve only just started looking to fill the role then they might not want to be pressured by external deadlines! So be honest about your situation as trying to make yourself look more attractive could backfire and the recruiter will know when is best to pass on the information you give them.



The salary negotiation will ultimately come down to what you, the future employee, is happy to accept. Letting a recruiter help you negotiate your salary will give you certain advantages but however you do it, just be honest and know where you’re willing to bend and where you’ll stand firm.

If you want to talk to us about your job hunt and how you can negotiate the best possible salary get in touch!

Check out our latest Games & Interactive jobs and our latest Enterprise Systems jobs.

Operations Manager Catrin Jones

Catrin is a jack of all trades at Skillsearch, but she's master of them all too! The unflappable, enthusiastic face that will be your go-to for any questions - that's for contractors, clients and us in the office as well. She's always ready and willing to help and we haven't yet found a problem that she can't solve. She does have an Achilles heel though as she hasn’t yet worked out how to whistle, which would really come in handy when it comes to her new fur baby – Evie the Cockapoo! 

View all Catrin Jones's jobs

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