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How to negotiate a salary after the probation period

Following your probationary period, you might be expecting your manager to invite you into her office to discuss your salary. If it doesn’t happen, you’ll need to do something about it. Take action sooner, rather than later. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your manager for a meeting about your remuneration package.

Prepare for the meeting by talking to friends and colleagues in similar roles and with similar levels of experience. Try to determine what your salary should be. This is called establishing your personal market value, according to recruitment service Monster. People are cagey about admitting their actual salaries but you may be able to arrive at a ball park figure with “cat and mouse” techniques.

Tell your manager, in the meeting, how much you have enjoyed your probationary period. Show gratitude for the support you received from colleagues during that time. Explain you are keen to become a valuable member of the team. Say you would like to talk about salary as a natural part of this.

Listen to how your manager responds to this carefully. If she says it is likely that some workers are about to be made redundant, trim your expectations accordingly. If she says she is very pleased with your progress and looks forward to a long and happy working relationship with you, slightly increase the salary figure you have in mind.

Explain what you can bring to the organisation. This is called proving your case, according to former director of jobs.ac.uk, Andrew Gordon. Now you have successfully passed your probationary period, you are in prime position to serve the organisation well. Talk about how you see your role developing in the next one to three years. This will impress upon your manager your commitment to the organisation, your maturity and your vision.

Specify the figure you have in mind and see how your manager reacts. If her jaw drops and she falls back in her chair, this probably indicates you have asked for to much. However, according to PsyBlog’s Jeremy Dean, asking for a higher figure is often a better strategy than the opposite approach. At least you have room to manoeuvre in the ensuing negotiations. If your manager immediately grabs your hand and shakes it, it might mean you have asked for too little.

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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.