Congratulations, you got a job offer! All that research and preparation for the interview paid off. But your efforts shouldn’t end there — you still have to settle on salary, benefits and perks. You are planning to negotiate a sweet deal, aren’t you?
Well, if you’re like most professionals, chances are you’re ready to accept the first offer. According to a recent Robert Half survey, only 39 per cent of workers polled even attempted to negotiate a higher take-home pay when they received their last job offer.
Why should you try to negotiate with your soon-to-be employer? For one, some hiring managers’ first salary offer falls on the low side, possibly to try to save on payroll or in case the candidate counters with a higher figure. Plus, even if the company can’t bump up the salary, they may be able to offer you more in other areas.
Asking for more compensation can be awkward in any situation, but it doesn’t have to be if you prepare and know when and how to do it.
1. Time it right. Some employers prefer to discuss salary expectations early in the hiring process. After all, no manager wants to waste time interviewing candidates they can’t afford. From the job seeker’s perspective, though, it’s best to delay this conversation so you don’t price yourself out of the position. Once the company has decided you’re their top pick, they may be more likely to do what’s necessary to bring you on board. So avoid mentioning a specific salary figure until you have a firm offer in hand.
2. Do your research. Before you can decide how much more to ask for, compare the salary you’ve been offered against a benchmark. Use a trusted source like the Robert Half 2018 Salary Guide, which lists wage ranges for more than 270 full-time positions in the UK. For example, if you’re an internal auditor with four to seven years of post-qualified experience, the anticipated salary range a financial services firm in London should be offering is £67,000-£84,500 per year. If you get offered less than that, you know you have room to negotiate.
3. Build your case. You could simply counter with a higher salary figure and see what happens. But you’re likely to get better results if you can state why you deserve it. Let’s say you have both the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) qualifications, or you’re fluent in another language commonly used in business, such as German, Chinese or Arabic. When you can demonstrate why you’re worth more, the employer is more likely to increase their initial offer.
4. Practice negotiating. Ask a friend or mentor to rehearse the conversation you’re likely to have with the hiring manager. The ideal partner is someone from the corporate world — a business-savvy person who can coach you on projecting confidence and answering unexpected questions. Having run through your delivery several times can make you feel more confident during a salary negotiation.
5. Consider alternatives to salary. It pays to look at the big picture during salary negotiations. While more money is good, not every employer — especially small and midsize businesses — can offer salaries at the higher end of the scale. If the organisation really can’t budge on pay, try negotiating perks instead. Here are some extras you could ask for:
Additional holidays — See if you can negotiate an extra week of paid leave — beyond the standard days you’re entitled to per year — in lieu of a higher salary.
Alternative scheduling — It can be stressful to work full-time and take care of personal obligations. Try asking to work a 4-10 schedule (four 10-hour days) or a 36-hour week so you could leave at noon on Fridays.
Flexitime — You can request to work during times that mesh best with your personal preferences, such as 10 a.m.-6 p.m. or 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Telecommuting — With more finance functions moving to the cloud, you may be able to handle some or much of your job remotely. The ability to work from home is a highly sought perk.
Professional development — Looking to attain another professional qualification? Or perhaps get your MBA or Master of Laws? Ask the employer to pay for some or all of the tuition as part of your compensation package.
6. Keep it friendly. Your future employer is not your adversary. While your goal is to earn what you’re worth, the manager most likely has limitations on what they can offer. When negotiating salary and perks, be polite and tactful. If they can’t meet your demands, either accept the job or decline it gracefully.
Don’t leave money on the table. You may be tempted to take an initial job offer, especially if you’re not the type to make waves or you don’t want to come off as ungrateful. But employers seldom rescind an offer just because their top choice tried to negotiate their starting salary, so you have little to lose but much to gain.
This article is provided courtesy of Robert Half, parent company of Accountemps, Robert Half Finance & Accounting and Robert Half Management Resources. Robert Half is the world’s first and largest specialised staffing firm placing accounting and finance professionals on a temporary, full-time and project basis. For career and management advice, follow our blog at roberthalf.co.uk/blog.