Let’s be honest – The lure of high salaries is one of the biggest attractions that brings expats from all around the world to the UAE. And given the fairly high cost of living in the country, a decent paycheck is a prerequisute for making the most of your life here.

Unfortunately, not all of us land that dream job with that larger-than-life paycheck. That’s where your negotiation skills come into the picture. 

If you dread negotiating your salary during an interview, you’re not alone. Most people struggle to create a balance between asking for the salary they think they deserve and getting the employer to up their offer and actually give them the job.

To increase your chances of getting the salary figure you have in mind, make sure you go into the meeting prepared. Here’s how…

  • Build a strong case: You would have to demonstrate your potential of being an asset to the company. Be ready with some examples of what value you bring to the table. Cite past achievements and provide some interesting insights on how you can help the company grow.
  • Deal with resistance: You would also have to be ready to answer some tough questions about why you deserve the salary you are asking for. To be fair, it is a two-sided negotiation. The employer may want to stick to the salary they have in mind. So prepare your responses well in advance.
  • Be balanced – Not too firm yet not too flexible: You can’t expect a negotiation to go your way if you say yes to a negligible salary increase. Be ready to go back-and-forth in your negotiations and try to meet the employer mid-way.

[Related: Feel Underpaid? Here’s How to Ask for a Raise]

How to steer your salary negotiation  

1. Understand the industry benchmarking

Benchmarking will help you understand how the salary offered by the organization you are applying to compares with that offered by its competitors or similar organizations. So find out the average pay at other organizations in the industry or average salary for professionals who carry similar experience and qualifications.

2. Don’t get overwhelmed – Be patient

Never send the signal of desperation to your new employer. Always wait for the company to make an offer and wait for them to start the salary discussion. 

3. Negotiate your performance-based incentives

Some organizations, especially start-ups, might have limited financial resources and wouldn’t be able to offer you a raise. But if you really want that job, you could ask them about incorporating a performance-based incentive within your employment benefits. Talk about measurable results as these would enhance your earnings. Also remember to get anything that’s been verbally communicated in writing when you get the final offer.

4. Discuss additional benefits and perks

A salary discussion is always about the total compensation. Don’t forget to ask about the additional benefits and perks the company is offering. You can also negotiate non-cash benefits. These could help you bridge the gap between what you are asking for and what the employer is offering. 

5. Be prepared for blatant money-talk

Money is not such a taboo topic. Don’t be uncomfortable when talking about the salary and benefits. Be prepared to ask questions about all the components of the salary that is being offered to you.

 6. Be confident by training yourself

Do your ground work and train yourself well in advance. Maybe try role playing with a friend or family member if you find salary negotiation tough. Leave all awkwardness at the door. Understand that counter-offers and negotiations are simply a part of the larger process.

[Related: Retirement goals: When’s the best time to quit your 9-to-5?]