How to Negotiate a Job Offer

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How to Negotiate a Job Offer
Thomas Ramsey

3 mins

How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Read more on how to handle a job offer negotiation with Thomas Ramsey, Senior Account Consultant.

Receiving a job offer is a definitive cause for celebration! You’ve submitted your CV, aced your interview, and impressed with your abilities, leading your prospective employer to see that you’re thoroughly fit for the role. However, now it’s over to you - the floor is yours. The employer is no longer in the driver’s seat, their focus has now switched to moving you into the role, as seamlessly as possible.

Negotiation leverage is now in your hands. As the future employee, it’s now your right to open conversations surrounding negotiations around topics such as salary, severance pay, work-from-home, time off, and more. Nevertheless, timing is key. Before beginning negation talks, allow yourself to pause and comprehend all aspects of the job offer, and take the time to produce a negotiation strategy plan. 

It’s not uncommon to require extra time when evaluating the job offer, especially when it comes down to deciding between accepting and declining. However, providing yourself with the time to construct negotiation propositions correctly means the employer is more likely to agree to them, if backed up with sufficient evidence and cause for change. As you are yet to sign the employment contract, the ball is in your court to open up negotiation discussions before your pen touches the paper. 

In this article, we will guide you on how to handle a job offer negotiation.

Read on to discover:

  • How to negotiate a job offer
  • How to negotiate a start date
  • Negotiating your salary 


How to negotiate a job offer

Upon obtaining a job offer, the employer should provide you with a timeframe in which you have to accept or decline the position. It’s important not to make any rash decisions, but rather take the time given to read through the employment contract in detail, ensuring you are in firm understanding of everything the role encompasses. 

When identifying aspects to negotiate with the employer, rather than simply requesting changes, construct a negotiation strategy plan. Similar to a business case, a negotiation strategy plan provides the employer with reasonings backed up by evidence, to justify the changes you’re requesting. Alongside this, creating a negotiation strategy plan shows the employer you have read their contract, and taken time to deeply consider the position, exemplifying is importance to you. 

In the course of constructing your negotiation strategy plan, pay close consideration towards factors such as: 

  • Requirements: When making any important decisions, it’s constantly advised to consider both short and long-term goals, this should be no different when it comes to your work life. Every one person’s priorities will differ, we are all individuals meaning what you may consider crucial, another may not. However, a sole reason to assess your employment contract prior to signing is to make certain the things you consider priority, your future employer will honour. Ask yourself; What are my main professional goals?, What type of work environment is healthiest for me?, What values do I regard highly in my work?
  • Perks: Be sure to analyse the job perks before accepting the position. Assess what aspects are crucial to your work-life balance, healthcare coverage, additional holiday, flexibility, hybrid working etc. Make it a priority to explore these conditions and negotiate where needed to suit you. You wouldn’t want to neglect vital matters for yourself, only to find out they’re non-negotiable after signing the contract.
  • Indemnities: Although salary negotiation is an essential factor to consider, there may be other indemnities to evaluate. Take time to delve into the company’s pension scheme, study their stock options, anything that could provide you with extra financial security is always worth taking extra time to read through. 
  • Benefits package: Many companies tend to offer a benefits package, something that proves to be a real selling point to potential employees. Everyone loves an incentive no matter how big or small. Although the benefits package does not relate directly to the job in question, it’s still a valuable section to read up on. Benefits can range from travel opportunities to gym memberships, or even discounts in stores. 

How to negotiate a start date

More often than not the hiring manager will have a pre-planned start date in mind for new employees. Often, this is calculated for reasons such as payroll alignment. However, they must take into consideration their new hire may have prior commitments meaning sometimes the date may need to be pushed. If this is the case, and the proposed start date might not work for you, you'll need to open it up for negotiation with your new employer and agree on an alternative that suits both you and the business mutually. Don’t forget, they have already chosen you for the position, they want you. Therefore, don’t be afraid to be honest with them about what works/ doesn’t work for you. 

As long as what you’re requesting is justifiable, and not a negotiation for negotiating sake, you are well within your rights as a new employee to open it up for discussion.

Negotiating your salary 

Before beginning negotiations on salary, it is highly important to do your research. Consider the salary you’d be happy to sit within. Would you feel underappreciated on minimum wage? Do you feel the knowledge and skills you’d be bringing to the role deserve more than the expected salary? Be sure to perform research, during your consideration time, into current market rates for your chosen field. 

When asked what your dream salary is, it can be hard to name a price. Naturally, we become reluctant to pinpoint a cap on our dream salary, as most of us struggle to regulate our wage aspirations whilst also keeping them reasonable logistically.  Although we all want to neglect boundaries sometimes, it’s crucial to remain realistic when discussing salary. Your dream wage should continue to be the highest you can expect to earn with your personal levels of knowledge, skills, and experience within the position you’ve applied for.

When searching for a realistic salary to negotiate, begin by seeking out the top-tier salaries currently being advertised for roles in your sector.  Consider the level of experience each role deems as essential, the cost-of-living rate in the specified location being advertised, as well as the number of responsibilities the role carries. If your dream salary exceeds the amount given on any of the jobs you’ve found, the odds are you’re most likely asking too much. Keep your negotiations realistic and explainable. 

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