This article is predominantly focused on the critical part of the journey towards being offered and accepting your next role. You will however, be able to leverage some of the tips below when negotiating at salary review time. No matter how comfortable an individual may be with negotiating a successful deal at work, or buying a new car, the thought of negotiating their own salary either during an employment selection process or at salary review time can be a cause for considerable concern.
You are most likely presented with one opportunity, during which you state your position and attempt to achieve the best possible outcome. If things go
perfectly your expectations will be met (or even better, exceeded) or in the worst case scenario the prospective employer finds your demands to be
unreasonable and negotiations break down irreversibly.
Here we explore the methods behind ensuring the negotiation process gets the right result:
What are you worth?
This is very important to establish prior to applying for your next role. How does your current level of remuneration compare to what is currently happening in the market for similar role profiles and levels of experience?
Seek out relevant opportunities
Now that you are clear about what your expectations are (financially) for your next role, the search is on to uncover opportunities that meet your requirements. Of course you will be clear in your own mind about these ‘parameters’, however if you are engaging with specialist recruitment consultants it is imperative that you outline your expectations early on in the process. Assuming the recruiter understands your aspirations and the types of roles and organisations that could be an optimum fit, a benchmark level of remuneration expectations will ensure you are contacted regarding positions on the right pay scale. If you have sourced an opportunity yourself through your network or have applied to a position directly with an employer then it is likely that the employer will be keen to establish your expectations prior to inviting you for an interview.
Key points to remember:
- Try to avoid discussing salary until you have a job offer. It is certainly important to understand what the role is paying so get the employer to disclose the remuneration details before you do.
- When pushed to disclose your salary, focus on expectations and even then you should try and counter that with a question to uncover the
client’s desired pay scale for the position.
- Be clear on all the elements of your desired package – if you expect health are, gym membership, shares and stock options then tell the employer. If
they are not offered by the employer then they will have to be compensated in a different way.
- If the word ‘package’ is mentioned by the employer, ensure you have a clear breakdown of the fixed level components i.e. Base salary, car
allowance, superannuation, health care, annual leave loading etc.
- You may discover that a significant portion of the package is made up of a highly geared bonus that is indexed around overall company
- Establishing rapport with the employer from the point of first contact will make the experience more enjoyable for both parties.
The interview process
The steps above outline the setting the tone for the‘face to face’ parts of the selection process. Let’s consider that both you and the employer have
established that there are now grounds to meet in person. It goes without saying that in order to secure an exciting opportunity and a pay rise you will need to sell yourself to the best of our ability during an interview. Instead, let’s focus on a couple of key points to remember for when those interviews take place:
- Be consistent – if you are asked to confirm your salary expectations during an interview then this MUST be in-line with what you have previously communicated throughout the process. It doesn’t look good when your expectations suddenly increase from one stage to the next without a
really valid and well thought-out reason.
- Don’t become irritated if the employer asks to re-confirm your salary expectations. There could be new stakeholders involved in the process who have genuinely not been provided with this information.
- You may, when prompted, outline your involvement in other interview processes and at what stage of proceedings these currently stand. This will
provide the employer with a clearer view of which candidates they potentially are at risk of losing from the interview process.
- Avoid being too aggressive by outlining this at the start of an interview. Sell yourself and ultimately win over the client before broaching the issue.
Most employment offers are made after the final interview has taken place and the necessary background checks and testing has been completed. If you find yourself being offered a job during the final interview, try not to get caught up in the experience by being too impulsive and accepting on the spot. Be courteous and polite, thank them for the offer and communicate you will be keen to review the offer in writing and digest the entire situation.
When you have received the written offer letter/contract through:
- Consider all aspects of the offer – both monetary and non-monetary. This is especially important for opportunities whereby you may be relocating or if you are considering moving into the NFP or public sector. Write down all the pros and cons associated with the role and company, and furthermore
work/life balance, commuting distance and costs, industry sector, professional development etc. Each aspect requires a weighting based on your own values.
- Take your time – you have demonstrated throughout the process why you are the best candidate for the role, now take the weekend or a couple of days
to make the right decision.
What if the offer doesn’t meet your expectations?
It could well be that the sum total of the package on offer falls short of what you were expecting. Avoid any emotional reflex of calling to discuss the offer if
you are particularly angry or feel hard done by. Reflect, and analyse the components that are potentially missing and write a list of possible options that could make up the shortfall.
If the offer was made via a recruitment agent then it is important they understand your exact positioning in this regard. The conditions towards which the offer will be accepted should be crystal clear, and you should obtain an understanding of what elements are non-negotiable.
When receiving an offer via an employer that you deem unsatisfactory, try to arrange a face to face meeting. You should already have developed significant rapport during the interview process and this demonstrates your commitment to driving a successful outcome. If this is not an option then decide on the best form of communication. Stay positive and reinforce your enthusiasm for the role and company throughout.
Once you have arrived at a point that signifies ‘the final offer’ when all negotiations have been completed, it’s decision time!
If you are happy to accept the offer, request the contract through to double check on everything that was agreed.
Conversely, if the final offer still falls short of expectations then decline gracefully and thank the employer for their time and investment in the process. You never know if further down the track a more senior opportunity may come up that meets all your requirements!