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  • Negotiating the job offer

  • The verbal offer
    Congratulations! The good news of the job offer has been conveyed to you either through us or directly from the employer.
    The time invested in researching, preparing and practicing for the interview has paid off. You’ve succeeded! So what’s the next step?


    Time for reflection
    We recommend that you take time to consider your response to the offer and give yourself at least 24 hours to respond. This allows you to overcome your initial joy at being selected and reflect upon the opportunity in a considered manner.

    If you feel the salary is insufficient, express your concern to us when asking for time to consider the offer. We will advise immediately whether there may be some flexibility or not. Some employers simply do not engage in salary negotiation. Some do, but whether they do or not will largely depend upon a combination of factors, e.g., their company reward guidelines; how well you performed at interview and how much they could benefit from your skill set. In other words, they need to internally answer the question: ‘Do the benefits of  hiring this individual exceed the cost of doing so?’

    Evaluate the offer
    Remember, for most people, financial reward only makes a small contribution to job satisfaction. Although no one can argue the importance of money, there are other significant factors that also play a part in making the workplace an enjoyable and satisfying experience. All such factors need to be evaluated in arriving at your decision whether to accept the offer or not.

    Office environment, corporate culture, office location, flexible working, commute time, peer group and line management personalities, potential for promotion, car allowance, holiday and other entitlements, pension scheme, bonus structure and timing of payments, and other corporate benefits such as life cover and medical insurance are all important considerations.

    The importance of negotiating the job offer
    Never underestimate the importance of negotiating salary in an interview. Employers tend to prefer those candidates who already earn a greater income. While these candidates cost more to employ, their higher incoming salaries are assumed to reflect greater competence, initiative and achievement. So it's in your interest to pursue income increases at every legitimate opportunity.

    Preparing the negotiation
    If you have concluded that you are keen to accept, but seek an improvement to the offer then you must agree how best you want to be represented by us. We recommend you consider the question, ‘Why should the employer improve the offer?’. Consider also your priorities; what’s more important to you? The opportunity and career progression the role offers or the improvement to your remuneration package?

    Finally, have in your mind a salary range that you would consider favourably. This should reflect your worth to the employer and incorporate your absolute bottom line, below which you would not accept. Make a note of these points and summarise also the key benefits you can bring to the role and the employer.

    Your expectations: Ensure good, open communication with your consultant
    We should have qualified your current salary details, future expectations and of course the key drivers behind your search for a new job well before the interview process. Now that you’re at the offer stage, it’s imperative that you have been absolutely clear about any change in your salary expectations during the process.

    Ensure that we have a very good understanding of your total package including bonuses, pension and other benefits. Explain whether certain elements of the remuneration package you seek carry precedence over others. Explain if you are prepared to trade any part of the remuneration package for other benefits the employer or job presents; e.g. opportunity to travel; expand your responsibilities; improve your skills set etc.

    Finally, briefly discuss and review with us the key benefits you can bring to the job and the employer.

    The negotiation loop
    Armed with the above information, we will prepare to negotiate with the employer on your behalf with the employer. Remember, we have forged a strong relationship with our clients; we understand their business needs and have an acute appreciation of their reward framework and benefits policy. 

    Likewise, with the information you have provided, and the vested interest we have in helping you upwardly manage your career, we are best placed to facilitate the ensuing negotiation. This process may involve several back and forth negotiations, ultimately concluding in the employer making a firm and final offer.

    Direct negotiation
    Some of our clients may prefer to negotiate directly with you. We will always seek your agreement before we give your direct contact details to the client. If you would rather prefer for us to negotiate on your behalf, then we can do so – but this may be frowned upon by the employer for certain types of roles i.e. Senior Management and Sales.

    The verbal acceptance
    Only once you are happy with the revised offer should you accept it. But at this stage, your acceptance should be verbal and in principle only and subject to reviewing a written offer. This is the trigger for the employer to draft a written contract.

    The written offer
    Once you receive the written offer, be sure to read it thoroughly and make a note of any points that require further clarification. Ensure clarity (where applicable) on the following: start date, job title, details of commission and bonus structure, bonus guarantees, benefits package, basic entitlement, car allowance, Reporting Line, Notice Period, Location and Flexible Working. From our experience, these are the most common areas of discussion. You may wish to raise these questions directly with the employer or through us. Only once all your questions have been answered satisfactorily should you sign and return the offer.

    The written acceptance
    It is always a good idea to send a covering letter with your signed acceptance. Write to thank the person making you the offer, using any reference number they have given and enclosing any information that has been requested. You should also mention the date of the letter and quote the full job title and starting date, if stated. Accept the offer and say that you are looking forward to starting work with the organisation.

    References and resignation
    Never provide the new employer with current employer referees until you have resigned. You’re better off safe in the knowledge that your current employer will not be approached by your prospective employer until you have either advised them of your intentions to leave either verbally or by a formal resignation letter.

    Declining an offer
    If you decide not to accept the offer, make sure you remain on the best of terms. Treat every offer seriously and graciously. You might find yourself working with or applying to that organisation again sometime in the future. Follow up any verbal declination you make through us with a written letter to the prospective employer. Do this without delay so they can offer the position to someone else or open up the assignment to new candidates.

    Back to Career Advice

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