Should you accept their offer?
In this job market it is not easy to find a new job, so congratulations on getting this far, and being selected by the employer, but now the real work begins! You have been identified as the favourite candidate, the one the company intends to employ, and this is a great time to negotiate.
You can negotiate from strength, armed with a realistic assessment of the market value for the position. Research your value, research the job and the company. There is lots of online data about market rates. Look at free salary comparisons, surveys and databases. Consider the whole benefit package, not just the top line – salary, bonuses, benefits, flexible working, holiday package, an early salary review, and promotion opportunities. Take into account factors such as local market demand, and availability of suitable candidates.
The best way to negotiate in any situation is to let the opposition set the parameters and then bid up. So when the negotiation opens, wait for the company offer, or ask what they have budgeted. Again remember to look at the whole package, not just the cash figure.
Try to avoid giving a specific figure before they do. If you have to, talk in a broad band or range. “I was thinking in the region of £30 to £40 K”, or “I was planning for a minimum of £35K, depending on the package “, leaving yourself room to manoeuvre.
Once you receive a formal offer, carefully evaluate the package. Your job offer should include a job description, salary, hours and place of work, and details of the benefits package such as the amount of paid holiday, and pension benefits. From your research you will be able to make comparisons with the marketplace.
Ensure you are confident you know what you are worth, then don’t be afraid to ask for it. You have done the research and can justify your request, so this is the time to negotiate. You shouldn’t lose a job offer because you start the negotiation too high, but tread carefully to ensure you don’t offend, and lose the offer because of that.
Keep the negotiation open by taking the stance that you are sure there is an agreement to be struck, even if you seem to be at a deadlock.
But if their revised offer isn’t for the compensation package that you expected, you may decide to make a counter offer or decline the offer. Ask for time to consider the offer, but be aware companies are not keen on a prolonged negotiation. And leave yourself room for manoeuvre if you want the job and are prepared to compromise, and they are not prepared to go higher.
But don’t push your luck! Given the competitiveness of the job market, the high unemployment rate, and the number of qualified candidates for positions, be careful about over-negotiating, and if you are comfortable with the offer, don’t push too hard to get a little more, just because you might be able to. Strike the right balance.