How to negotiate a job offer

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​Offer negotiations are a normal stage in the recruitment process, though they can be uncomfortable if not managed well. What you’re offered is not only your living, but also a key way for your employer to acknowledge your value to the business.

​​It’s important that you feel fairly paid for the work you’re doing, that the package offered is commensurate with your skills, and your manager’s expectations of your performance are reasonable. Striking the balance and achieving a salary offer that everyone’s happy with is key to ensuring a sustainable relationship with your new employer. Our tips, including how to negotiate a salary, will help you reach a positive outcome in a professional manner.

1. Know your market value

Salaries vary greatly depending on the industry, employer, seniority of the role and location. Do your research to understand your market value. Use credible sources like reputable recruiters and salary benchmark reports like the PACE Survey.

2. Be transparent with salary expectations

Once you’ve completed your due diligence, be clear about your salary expectations as early in the process as possible to ensure no-one wastes their time. We recommend providing a salary range (for example, $80,000 to $90,000) to allow you to take into consideration any other benefits, should they be offered. Also, be clear as to whether your expected salary includes or excludes super.

3. Consider the total job offer, not just the salary

From perks like free car parking and bonus leave days to flexible work options, training and development, there are more benefits to a role than just the salary. When assessing a job opportunity, make sure you look at more than just the dollars and cents.

4. Be clear that you’re obtainable

If you embark on salary negotiations with a prospective employer, make it clear that you’re serious about working for them, and what salary will get you over the line. It’s not a professional look to be offered what you’ve asked for, only to say you’ll “think about it”. No employer wants their offer used as leverage against another. By providing a conditional “yes”, you’re much more likely to have your requests accommodated.

5. Be responsive

Don’t leave your potential employer hanging. If an offer is presented to you, ensure you respond in a timely fashion. Acknowledge receipt of the offer as quickly as possible and provide them with a clear timeframe as to when you’ll respond. While you don’t want to rush a decision, you don’t want to unnecessarily stretch out the negotiation.

6. Negotiate all issues at the same time

Take time to review the offer in its entirety. Make a list of all questions or concerns you have and address them all at once. Avoid asking questions one at a time as this will elongate the process, lead to ‘negotiation fatigue’ and risk frustration to everyone involved.

7. Be honest about other interviews

If you’re interviewing for more than one opportunity at the same time, be open about this with the companies you meet, without coming across like you’re using it as leverage. Coordinate your interviews to ensure that any offers arrive close together. Don’t be afraid to slow a process down to avoid receiving an offer that you have to sit on for two weeks while you start another interview process.

8. Remember, you’re both after a positive result

Negotiations will, by definition, involve some give and take. It’s possible you won’t get everything you ask for. A company not facilitating a particular request may be due to a constraint you’re not aware of, while delays in progressing an offer may be due to external factors. Be patient and remain professional – don’t forget, you’re both looking for a positive outcome.

9. Finish on a high note

Whatever the outcome of the negotiation, ensure you conclude the conversation positively. Even if the negotiation breaks down and you don’t accept the role, ensure you maintain your professionalism throughout and always keep the door open. Things may change down the line and you never know when you’ll cross paths again.

10. Use a recruiter

Using a recruiter that you trust can be an enormous advantage when negotiating job offers. Not only does it allow you to keep the negotiation at arm’s length, you get to engage an experienced professional who may have established rapport with the company. You’ll receive objective, educated guidance, counter offer advice, and likely achieve a better outcome than if you managed the negotiation directly.