Negotiating a job offer

Tatenda Sayenda / Posted On: 21 September 2021 / Updated On: 25 May 2022 / Human Resources General / 561

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Negotiating a job offer


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You recently got a job offer for the position you have been longing to get. Still, at the same time, you are not sure if you are ready to leave your current job. Are you considering negotiating your current salary to see if your current employer will be able to exceed your new offer? Or you recently attended an interview where you were asked how much you are expecting to earn. A recent study by Robert Half showed that 36% of managers surveyed are more likely to negotiate starting salary with new hires than they were a year ago. And another 50% said that they are as likely to. Job offer negotiations are never easy and require a certain skill. This is your best chance to increase your salary and improve the conditions of your new job. Once you have accepted a job, you lose your leveraging power.


To succeed in negotiating, you need to be well informed about what is negotiable and to what extent. Before going for your interview, you should begin thinking about what conditions are most vital to you and what you want from your new job. Companies differ when it comes to what is considered to be negotiable and what is not. Therefore, it is essential to research specific companies before the interview process.

 

Knowing what is negotiable

Salary is not the only item you can negotiate when considering a job offer. Based on what you need and want, any of these items may be negotiable. In most cases, compensation packages always come with other benefits. The benefits that are available to you will vary based on your experience level, role, and the organisation. According to an article by the Harvard Business Review, below are benefits that you can negotiate:

 

  1. A different start date (if you want a little break before you begin)
  2. More vacation or paid time off (PTO)
  3. Flexible hours or work-from-home days (post-Covid)
  4. Relocation to another branch or office
  5. A signing bonus (this may be tied to relocation if that isn't covered)
  6. A performance bonus later in the year
  7. Equity percentages or stock options
  8. Home office set-up stipends
  9. Phone, Internet, or co-working space reimbursements
  10. Professional development or external training opportunities
  11. Ability to present at industry conferences
  12. Onsite child care
  13. A direct report or budget for freelance talent
  14. A better job title (to boost your resume)
  15. Reimbursement of travel expenses

 

Essentials for Negotiating an offer

Negotiating is not easy hence it is essential to have the right skills and knowledge. Below are some essential tips to take into consideration when negotiating:

 

1. Do your research

Before starting any negotiation, it is essential to do your homework first. Start by researching your prospective employer. Research can give a glimpse into what it is like to work at most organisations, including salaries for various roles, benefits, and culture. But if you put in a little more effort, you can learn much more about what factors go into a job offer. According to Fotini Iconomopolous (a negotiation coach and author of the forthcoming book Say Less, Get More), "Before going into the negotiation, try to get advice from a diverse group of professionals. If you are a woman, don't only seek advice from other women about salary ranges. You want to learn what a variety of people are making to avoid further widening the gender pay gap. If you come from academia, find someone with corporate experience to give you a few tips. It will add another angle to your strategy." Make use of the connections you have in your network.

 

Career and negotiation expert Alexandra Dickinson goes on to say that becoming a good negotiator is like working out (exercising)/ weight lifting, the more you do it, the better you will become. Dickinson recommends that when doing your research speak to at least three men and three women in a role similar to the one that you are seeking. The more knowledge you have, and the more you practice, the more confident you will become.

 

2. Research industry average salaries

Furthermore, do your research on the company's benefits and culture to see how likely you are to get what you are looking for. Look at salary survey reports to see what the market is offering. Before your interview research the industry average salaries for the role before you go in and then be bold enough to ask for the number you want. To show you how valuable you are, come to the table with examples of what you have accomplished for previous companies that you have worked for and what you are excited to do in your new role. Go on to show interest in what's currently happening at the company and ask how you can be involved. You can then state that you believe your proposed figure is a reasonable salary and list the reasons why you feel it is so.

 

3. Take the right approach

The negotiation process should be collaborative and result in a win-win situation for the parties involved. Emphasize the value that you would add to the team. Be considerate of the fact that there may be less room to negotiate than in the past. And try to be amicable throughout the process—especially during these difficult times when everyone is trying to do more with less. Employers appreciate candidates who are confident but also thoughtful. Don't underestimate the importance of likeability.

 

4. Don't sell yourself short

Do not assume you need to take a pay cut! In spite of the pandemic, your skills and value are the same. If you are unemployed, you have the same ability to negotiate as someone who has a job. Decide on a salary range that you won't go below and stick to it. Negotiation also shows your potential new manager that you know your worth. Finally, remember your career goals and ask yourself whether this position will help you get there.

 

5. Have a plan

Know what you want to negotiate. Would you like to work from home, a higher salary or more vacation time?  Prioritize your requests and remain flexible. When it comes to salary negotiation for a new job, you'll never have more leverage than before you sign on the dotted line. If there are other items or benefits that matter to you, ask for them. All they can say is no. You would be surprised at how amenable companies can be in today's environment.

 

6. Build your case

"Don't immediately say "yes," and don't accept the first offer," advises Charlotte Westerhaus-Renfrow, clinical assistant professor of business law and management at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business. "Formulate a counteroffer to see if you can improve the offer," she says. Despite the fact that there are many people seeking employment, if you get a job offer, it implies the firm has found you to be the greatest match. You are their first choice. Build a case that shows you are the ideal candidate and that you a valuable addition to their organisation. Discuss your experience, skills, and accomplishments, and the value you'll bring to the table. This approach will help explain exactly why your requests are justified. "Ninety-eight percent of the time, we begin by pushing, believing it'll lead to the other side budging," said Dr. Jonah Berger, a professor of marketing at the Wharton School and author of book The Catalyst.

 

7. Negotiate your offer

When you meet to negotiate your offer, it is important to show how interested and enthusiastic you are about the offer. Not showing much interest might put off the potential employer leading them reconsidering the offer. Begin by negotiating the salary offer first. Should you succeed in this, you should be willing to make compromises on other items you wanted to be negotiated. If you do not get the salary you are looking for, you can push harder for the other items you are interested in.

 

Many people find the negotiation process to be stressful and difficult. Yet it is not as complicated as it seems. According to experts, not negotiating now can affect your earning potential and personal finances down the road. With the right skills and information, you should negotiate for the offer you deserve effectively. Make sure the offer is put in writing. But on the other hand, should they offer not to meet your expectations be prepared to walk away. Accepting it might lead to unnecessary stress and possibly resentment.

 

Tatenda Sayenda is a consultant at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd a management and human resources consulting firm. Phone +263 242 481946-48/481950 or email: tatenda@ipcconsultants.com or visit our website at www.ipcconsultants.com

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