Tips On....

Salary Negotiation

If the interview process has gone well and it looks like you will be offered the position, it’s vital that you negotiate the right salary for the role. This figure will be the basis of further rises or promotions, so it is crucial you maximise the remuneration package at this initial stage.

If you applied for the job via a recruitment agency, always conduct any salary negotiations through your consultant. Their intermediary role will keep the negotiations between you and your potential employer impersonal. Your consultant will have discussed your current salary and salary expectations with your potential employer, so you can be sure there are no surprises when the final offer is made.

If you applied for the job directly, you need to negotiate the salary yourself. Below are some handy tips for securing yourself the best deal. 

Before the offer

  • Don’t enter into salary negotiations too early in the interviewing process. If questioned about your salary expectations, don’t be too specific. Name a ballpark figure, emphasising that its “negotiable” and based on the responsibilities inherent in the role.
  • Only ask about the salary range if you are set on earning a specific figure and don’t want to waste your (or the interviewers) time discussing a role which will not meet your expectations.
  • Research your market value. Have a good idea what of the salary range in comporable jobs, rather than base it on of your currently earnings.

The offer (verbal & written)

  • Never accept a verbal offer on the spot. Ask your employer for an offer to be made in writing and discuss it once you’ve had time to review the details.
  • Examine the entire package. Be sure to weigh up factors like vacation pay, bonus schemes, company car, holidays, health insurance pensions, salary plans, relocation and children’s education so you can assess the total value of the offer. This is particularly important when evaluating offers from two or more companies. You cannot compare apples with oranges.

Negotiating the final offer

Set up a face-to-face meeting when you are ready to commence negotiations or discuss the offer.

If the offer is unsatisfactory:

  • Begin on a positive note. Reiterate your interest in both the position and the company before shifting to the reasons why you cannot accept the offer in its current state.
  • Be honest. Tell them if the offer is less than what you expected.
  • Identify the salary range you had in mind.  Back it up with concrete (and real) examples of the salary rate in comparable jobs in other companies.
  • Ask what they can do to improve their offer.
  • Be prepared to reject the offer if they cannot meet your requirements.

If the offer is OK, but could be improved:

  • Explain that you reviewed the offer carefully and, while acknowledging it is competitive, identify by what percent it is too low.
  • Point out that while the benefits package goes some way towards compensating for the reduction in salary, you want x as a base rate.
  • If they are unwilling to budge on salary and you still want the role, look for a mutually acceptable compromise such as an earlier salary review date, a guaranteed bonus or signing bonus.

If the offer is good:

  • Thank them for the offer and let them know you think the offer is competitive for the role and marketplace.
  • Tell them you had ideally been looking for x amount.
  • Ask if there is much room for negotiation.
  • Remember some negotiation is expected. You’ll have to work with these people so always be polite, forthright and honest.

Agreeing the final offer and start date

  • Once you have agreed to the final remuneration package, thank the negotiator for their help and reiterate your enthusiasm for the role and the company.
  • Suggest an acceptable start date. Be prepared to negotiate on this as well.

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Karen GordonConsultant