Negotiating A Job Offer

On a receiving a job offer, before anything else, take a moment to pat yourself on the back and smile. Regardless of level, skills and salary, making it through an interview process and getting a job offer is a great achievement – enjoy it!

However, before accepting, declining or negotiating, take your time to consider all the details of the offer fully. Don’t just look at the salary or the remuneration package but consider the company, job, potential for future fulfilment of your ambitions etc.

How does this offer compare against all the criteria you set out at the beginning ( see How to find your dream job)? Does the offer fulfil all these?

Personal Factors:

  • Your reasons for leaving your current employer
  • Do you have any particular personal requirements? (close to home or part time etc.)

Company Factors:

  • Did you have any preferences for the type, size, scale, set-up or reputation of your next employer?
  • If you are wanting a long term career move with future prospects

Job Factors:

  • The day to day duties that you wanted to be doing in your next role.
  • Were you seeking a particular level of job or responsibility?
  • Is it the type of challenge you were after?
  • A new culture or type of boss to work for

If you can answer ‘no’ to any of your criteria not being met by this job offer, it may not be advisable to accept the offer regardless of the salary and package involved.

Salary/ Package Negotiation:

This is a highly emotive and sensitive subject because salary/ package is the most important element of any job offer to the majority of people (alongside the job itself of course!)

Generally, an employer will have asked at interview (normally at the later stages) for your current salary or your salary expectations for your next role so there is usually some logic in what has been offered.

If the offered salary/ package matches your expectations and the other elements of the offer match your search criteria then accept the offer with joy and don’t try to be greedy negotiating.

If the salary/ package isn’t at your desired level, what should you do?

  • Ideally tell the employer immediately on receiving the offer in order to manage their expectations as to the likelihood of your acceptance. Starting this conversation by asking,”Is there any flexibility on salary?” is a good method to not come across too bluntly.
  • However, also state that you would like 24 hours to review the offer in detail and you will contact them within this time with your decision.
  • If they have phoned you with the offer, ask them to email you the full details so you can read through them. 
  • Be polite and stress you are very interested in the job so as to soften the blow to the employer – as they may have been expecting an immediate acceptance from you.

This 24 hours allows you to weigh up the lessor salary/package against other aspects of the job offer which may counter balance the salary. It may be that the company is on your doorstep and less travel (and less petrol costs) mean the decide to accept the job at this salary.
However, if you will only accept if the salary is higher, you will have to negotiate with the employer.

  • Decide on your bottom line salary figure for the job. If the employer were to offer you this, you must be happy to accept it.
  • However, go back to the employer with a salary range – the bottom of which needs to be your bottom line. By doing this, the employer may come back and offer you more.
  • After a negotiation, an employer finds nothing more frustrating than reissuing a job offer only for it to be rejected again. If this happens, it is likely there will be no 2nd negotiation and the employer will withdraw the offer.

In any salary negotiation remember the following 4 points:

  • Know your realistic value in the market. Don’t lose the job by over-pricing yourself.
  • Whatever salary you expect, ensure you can justify why you should receive that amount. Examples of this: your unique skills, your knowledge of similar jobs paying this amount, your pay review or bonus due in your current employer etc.
  • Don’t get greedy. Just because you have received an offer doesn’t mean you can abuse your position as the preferred candidate. The offer can still be withdrawn and given to the 2nd choice applicant.
  • Some employers do not negotiate at all so tread carefully in case you end up accepting the original offer (having tried to raise the initial salary). Many companies have graded salary structures that can’t be altered so they aren’t doing this through stubbornness.

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