Employers rarely make their best offer the first time around.

That’s the word, according to recruiters worldwide, who say that, more often than not, job candidates who negotiate their salary offers walk away with bigger packages and better perks than those who don’t speak up.

Jim Hopkinson, author of Salary Tutor: Learn the Salary Negotiation Secrets No One Ever Taught You, says the most crucial aspect and rule of thumb for job-seekers when it comes to salary negotiations is: Never be the first to name a figure.

Instead, he suggests that you get creative with your responses to the inevitable question with things like filling in “competitive” when asked for your previous salary or “negotiable” when asked for your desired salary. Whichever way you do it, Hopkinson says it’s important not to be the first to throw a number out there.

Here are four other strategies to consider implementing in your quest for a better salary.

  1. Make the employer fall in love with you first

Before an interview gets to the point where numbers are discussed, career coach Ellis Chase says you need to charm the socks off a potential employer and make them fall in love with you as a candidate, first and foremost.

The best way to accomplish this is to be prepared. Research all you need to know about the value of your talent in the job market space. If you can, find a source from within the company you want to work for who can give you some insight into the remuneration package related to the position.

READ MORE: The dos and don’ts of salary negotiation

Alternatively, you can seek the advice of an industry insider who can advise you on market-related salary brackets.

  1. Ask for time to consider an offer

Don’t be afraid to ask your potential employer for more time to consider an offer once one has been made.

“When you get the actual offer, you’re in no emotional shape to negotiate. All you’re thinking about is that you got the offer and you just want to lock it,” Chase was quoted saying in a Forbes report.

He suggests that you respond by saying: “I’m thrilled you want to hire me. Could you just give me a couple of days to think about it?”

Then go home and do as much research into what the organisation typically pays for the post and create a list of priorities that include the scope of your responsibilities, your base salary, bonuses, retirement fund contributions and the frequency of reviews.

  1. Present your priorities list as a set of questions

Once you are re-contacted about a meeting or conference call to discuss your salary package, present your list of priorities as a series of questions woven within a few straight-forward, standard questions.

READ MORE: How realistic are your salary expectations

Chase’s advice is to start with a soft question pertaining to retirement fund contributions, followed by a couple other light-weight questions before hitting your employer with a question that should be about the top priority on your list.

This is a good stage to open up negotiations into other aspects beyond the base pay, like performance expectations, additional benefits and salary increase review schedules.

  1. Continue to sell yourself even once you’ve clinched the job

“When you’re trying to get the base salary up, resell yourself,” advises Chase.

Think of the negotiating process as an extension of the job interview, so take the opportunity to remind your new employer of the number of years of experience you have and about your highest qualification.

Bear in mind that most employers (and recruiters) are almost always willing to go higher than what they initially offer, so don’t forget to ask… you could be pleasantly surprised!

Sources: Forbes, careerattraction.com