One of the most rewarding aspects of being a career transition coach is when a client lands a job. It’s even more rewarding when that client’s job offer is for the ‘dream’ job.
Sometimes, if they’ve been seeking a new role for a long time, they are tempted to say, “Yes!” right away without thinking about negotiation. However, it’s important to consider the offer and whether there is room for negotiation before accepting any offer.
With the number of professionals ‘in transition’ due to outsourcing, restructure, downsizing, off shoring, etc and the transition process taking considerably longer than most people wish, the temptation to say, “Yes!” right away is strong.
I would suggest that you express your enthusiastic ‘thank you’ and ask for a little time to consider the details. Whatever you hear from the person who made you the offer will always sounds better than it actually is when you are, at that moment, in a state of excitement at being ‘The One.’ Remember that you are in the strongest position to negotiate when the offer is on the table. Before you sign. Once you are an employee you will have less leverage. Asking for at least 24 hours to consider the offer and go over the letter of offer and contract is perfectly acceptable.
If you are confident of your abilities and your value add to the organization, there could be room to maneuver with the compensation package. Of course, that is assuming that you want to accept the offer. It that is the case, let’s see if you can improve upon it.
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If you are dealing directly with the Hiring Manager and HR this is your opportunity to plan your negotiation strategy yourself. If you are going through a search firm consultant or recruitment agent then you will need them to negotiate on your behalf. The more senior your role the more variables there may be to negotiate in the Package.
Doing It Yourself
In order to justify that you are worth more than the existing offer on the table, you need to be clear about your relevant skills, experience and expertise as well as what you can offer in this role – the type of contribution you can make that will be of value.
Make sure you are specific with the benefits you bring. A reminder of your past accomplishments is always helpful when negotiating. You won’t get more just because you want it, you may get more because you deserve it.
Doing It Through a Search Consultant
It’s important to have a good relationship with your recruiter. Throughout the entire process the recruiter is on your side (and the side of others he/she may have put forward for the same role) however once you have an offer on the table, the recruiter will want the best deal for you (it will become a better deal for them too.)
The recruiter is the middleman in this process, the messenger. Make sure your recruiter is fully briefed on your accomplishments and your value-add to the organization so that he/she can sell you for an improved offer.
What to Negotiate
Once you have the offer in writing then you can analyse what needs to be negotiated. Most people don’t look past the base salary.
Consider all aspects of the package that are important to you. These can include your job title, salary, incentive bonus, sign on bonus, paid holiday, phone, car, stock options, provision of outplacement should redundancy occur, relocation costs, accommodation if relocation overseas is required, etc. In the case of an expatriate package if you are to work overseas, there will be even more to discuss (school fees, club memberships, home leave.)
One of my past clients successfully negotiated an additional 5 days paid leave per year even though the company did not budge on anything else. If he hadn’t made the request he would never have known there was this leeway. If there is little room to move on the offer then ask for an early performance review or shortened probationary period after which a salary review will occur if you meet or exceed your KPI’s. This will give you time to prove your worth to the organization and management may be more open to this compromise.
Open Negotiations and Make it a Win-Win Situation
Once you have considered the offer in writing and planned what you wish to negotiate (consider what is most important to you first, then the other few items that are more a ‘nice to have’ than a make or break situation.) Decide what is your ‘walk away’ point and whether you will accept the offer even if negotiation is not possible.
Make contact, express your enthusiasm about the company and your appreciation of the offer, and then mention that there are a couple of items you’d like to discuss. Ask if there room for negotiation. If they are interested in what you would like to discuss then set a meeting, face to face, to conduct the negotiation. Negotiations are always easier in person as you can read the body language and gauge how far you can go.
You are not going in to do battle when negotiating. You are looking for a win-win for both parties. You want to be adequately compensated for a job well done; they want to get value for money.
If you improve upon the original offer, congratulations! I wish you much success in your job search, your new role and an exciting and challenging new career.
I’d love to hear your experiences so drop a comment below.