How to negotiate salary - and where a recruitment consultant can help!

How to negotiate salary - and where a recruitment consultant can help!

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 make sure you’re paid what you’re worth. 

To do this there are some key points to remember: 

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


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

Use a recruitment consultant 

That may seem rich coming from a recruitment company but it's true. A recruiter is 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 also put yourself at a real advantage by utilising the consultant’s existing relationship with the company and valuable inside knowledge so this article will go through what you can do yourself, and also what your recruiter can do to support you. 

According to our 2021 Salary & Satisfaction survey, 17% of people had to turn down a job offer because the salary wasn’t right. So to make sure you follow these rules to make sure you don't go through the whole process and fall into this trap!


1. The Covid factor 

At the moment a lot of people are discussing whether the offer of remote working following covid restrictions is a reason to accept a lower salary than you might have expected pre-covid. While you can take into consideration any reduced travel into your salary expectations, you should also be aware that remote working can benefit companies financially too. Moving to even a partly remote company structure can save companies as much as $11,000 per employee per year. Especially in the games industry where sales have skyrocketed, make sure you don’t sell yourself short.


 2. Know your value

First, 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. 

But to get the most up to date information this can be when it’s helpful to start talks with a recruitment consultant. They see in real time what salaries people have recently got in similar areas which will help you to figure out what to aim for. 

Take a look at our 2021 Salary Survey Results to see what numbers you’re working with.


 3. 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 a recruiter 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. 

But even if you go through the process on your own, you need to be as honest as you’re comfortable with about your expectations Remember - it is perfectly fine for your expectations to shift as you go through the process and start to learn more about the job/company, but it is useful to make sure from the get go that the salaries on offer are at least roughly on target.


 4. Ask the budget! 

Not all companies will have a specific figure to provide but especially if you’ve provided your expectations, they should be able to give some indication of where that fits with their budget. In our experience even companies that say they are completely flexible, can end up dismissing some applications if the salary is ‘too high’. 

This is where the recruitment consultant can really add value – if you want to avoid the stress of pricing yourself out of the job then a recruiter will be the best person to help. While we can’t tell you exactly what other people have asked for, we can advise on how your requested salary and skills compare to others.  

So don’t shy away from asking what the budget is!


 5. But what else is on offer?

This whole article is of course on salary negotiations 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 and whether that would change your salary expectations. Would you be happy taking a lower salary if there’s private health insurance? Or if there’s a tailored relocation package? 

Helpfully, a recruiter will know in full what is offered as standard and most importantly will have an idea of which benefits are open for negotiation.  

Remember that you want to walk away happy with the whole package and finding out where the wiggle room is will give you the best platform to make this a reality.


 6. 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. These again can make changes to salary expectations but you shouldn’t necessarily feel that they’re reasons to accept a lower offer. 

Your recruiter will have had honest discussions with the hiring managers about these kinds of offerings – probably more honest than you’re able to have when applying solo. As with benefits some studios will have these things set in stone for all employees but it’s still worth knowing which questions to ask, or having a recruiter by your side who has knowledge of what other people have been offered, to make sure you’re getting everything you need.


But remember… 

The salary negotiation will ultimately come down to what you, their future employee, are 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. 


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

Catrin Jones

Operations Manager

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! 

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