Advice Learned Along The Way
Negotiating Salary for New Hires

Mastering Salary Negotiations: The Hiring Manager's Playbook

Mastering salary negotiation as a hiring manager or team lead is critical for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it's about getting the best talent onboard. In an industry as competitive as tech, top talent has options. Being able to negotiate effectively means you're more likely to secure the right people for your team. You can sell them not only on the salary, but also the broader benefits and opportunities that come with the role in your company.

Secondly, it directly impacts your team's satisfaction and retention. Salary is more than just a number - it's a measure of an employee's worth in the organisation. If your team feels they're being fairly compensated for their skills and efforts, they'll be happier, more productive, and more likely to stay with the company for longer.

Lastly, it benefits you as a leader. Being able to successfully navigate these discussions shows your team, and the company at large, that you possess the necessary skills to advocate for and manage your team effectively. It earns you respect and credibility, which are crucial for any leadership role.

Heres a few tips to help you master salary negotiations.

1. Understand Market Rates

Stay current with industry salary benchmarks for similar roles, experience, skills, and location. Websites like Glassdoor, Payscale, and industry surveys can provide useful insights.

Case Study: Fair Compensation

Tech Lead position opened up in your team. After doing research, you understand the average salary for this role in your city is £120,000. This benchmark informs the salary range you offer, maintaining competitiveness while staying within budget.


  • Regularly update knowledge of market rates
  • Balance between budget constraints and competitive salaries


  • Offer below market rates without good reason
  • Inflate the salary beyond your budget

2. Offer a Comprehensive Package

Consider the total compensation package. Include bonuses, stock options, insurance, flexible work arrangements, professional development opportunities, and other benefits that could attract and retain talent.

Case Study: Compensation Package

You offer a base salary of £110,000, slightly lower than the average. But your package also includes health benefits, annual bonuses, and stock options, making it attractive to potential candidates.


  • Highlight the full range of benefits you offer
  • Tailor packages to the needs and preferences of potential employees


  • Focus solely on the base salary
  • Ignore the impact of non-monetary benefits

3. Respond to Competing Offers Tactfully

When a candidate has competing offers, handle the situation with care. Weigh the value the candidate brings against your budget.

Case Study: Negotiating with Competing Offers

A candidate mentions a competing offer of £125,000. You value this candidate highly and decide to raise your offer to £130,000.


  • Evaluate the worth of the candidate carefully
  • Show the candidate their value to the company


  • Get into a bidding war you can't sustain
  • Dismiss the candidate's worth based on competing offers

4. Avoid Salary Anchoring

Let the candidate state their salary expectation before you make an offer. This prevents the negotiation from being anchored to a specific figure.

Case Study: Avoiding Anchoring

The candidate does not disclose their current salary or expectations. You make the first offer at £120,000, based on your budget and their qualifications.


  • Let the candidate state their expectations first
  • Base your offer on your budget and their qualifications


  • Insist on knowing the candidate's current salary
  • Lowball the first offer excessively

5. Be Transparent and Fair

Transparency builds trust. Be open about the constraints and considerations that shape the offer.

Case Study: Transparent Negotiation

You explain that while the base salary is £115,000, the comprehensive benefits package, positive work culture, and opportunities for growth add significant value.


  • Be honest about what you can and can't offer
  • Highlight the benefits of your company and the role


  • Hide aspects of the compensation or role
  • Misrepresent the company culture or job requirements

6. Be Flexible, But Ready to Let Go

If a candidate's salary expectations far exceed your budget, be ready to respectfully let them go. There will always be other suitable candidates.

Case Study: Agreeing to Disagree

A candidate insists on a £130,000 base salary, which exceeds your budget. You politely decline and express hope for possible future collaboration.


  • Show flexibility within your constraints
  • Maintain good relations with all candidates


  • Overstretch your budget
  • Burn bridges with potential future hires

Just as candidates have tactics in negotiations,

so do companies. It's about balancing the needs of the company with the expectations of the candidate, to foster a mutually beneficial relationship. It is not a battle to be won but a negotiation to be mastered.