It’s not every day that you get a phone call with your dream job, so among the euphoria, you have to be clear on what the job offer entails so you can properly evaluate it. It is important to express your enthusiasm and appreciation and always ask for the job offer in writing. This way you can clearly review the offer and ensure there are no loose ends. Don’t just consider the salary; evaluate the benefits package, working conditions, etc. Make sure you agree a timeline to respond back to the employer, one to two days is reasonable, however, you do not want to leave your potential employer waiting too long as it may get you off to the wrong start with them. If you have queries on the job offer, find out who you can speak to in order to get any issues clarified.
If the job offer doesn’t meet your expectations, here are some tips on how to handle contract negotiations:
- The first step to negotiating is research – you will be confident in asking for what you are worth when you know what you are worth – utilise all the online tools available such as salary surveys, cost of living differences, etc. You need to be realistic; otherwise you lose credibility from the outset.
- Don’t push on things that are non – negotiable. Some employers may not have the ability to offer higher pay, however, they may be able to meet your needs in other ways e.g. additional holiday entitlement, more flexible working schedule, etc.
- How you deal with a job offer can strengthen or hinder your relationship with an employer. Keep your approach courteous and professional. There is a skill in asking for what you deserve without appearing greedy, pointing out insufficiencies in the offer without appearing petty, and being determined without being a nuisance!
- When you identify the areas you can negotiate on, explain why you deserve what you are requesting, give your reasoning behind it. If you have no justification for a request, maybe think twice about making it.
- If you intend to negotiate for an improved package, make it clear that you are serious about working for this employer. Bosses don’t want to get approval for an improved offer if you are still going to decline it. Outlay all your concerns at once, don’t do it one by one, as no employer wants to think of having met your proposals for you then to come back with more.
- Be prepared for tough questions. Don’t lie in a negotiation, it may come back to harm you and even if it doesn’t, it is unethical. Do you have any other offers? If we make you an offer tomorrow will you say yes? Your goal is to answer honestly without making yourself out to be a less attractive candidate.
- Consider the whole package – not just the salary. Focus on the entire deal, responsibilities, location, travel, flexibility in working hours, opportunities for growth and promotion, support for continued education. Think strategically – you may take a lower package now, however, will that put you in a stronger position later?
- Avoid ultimatums of any kind and always stay at the table. Remember what is non-negotiable today may be negotiable tomorrow when you have built up trust with your boss.
Finally, maintain a sense of perspective. Experience and research demonstrates that the industry and function on which you choose to work, your career path, your bosses and co-workers can be more important to reaching the ultimate job satisfaction that the particulars of an offer. These tips should only come into play after you have ensured your job search has resulted in a path where you want your career to go.
Aideen Cummins – Senior Recruitment Consultant
Collins McNicholas Recruitment & HR Services Group – Sligo