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Thinking about negotiating your job offer but not sure how? Tips from an HR insider.

You’ve done it; you have successfully navigated the recruitment process. Of the 100s of applicants the company received, your resume stood out, you got an interview, aced it, and are now being offered that great new job… congratulations! That’s no easy feat. But wait; they want to pay how much?!

Ideally you will have had a discussion about salary before getting to the offer stage: while most HR folks worth their salt will not disclose an exact salary range to a candidate (that’s best for THEIR negotiating position), if you have let them know what range you are looking for, and you are being offered the job it is probably safe to assume you’re within negotiating distance. So what can you do if you think you are being low-balled?


First of all, don’t take it personally. It is not a reflection of your skill set or how much they want to hire you. There are salary ranges for every job in a company, and a process for equity that cannot be thrown out of whack for one hire. The fact that you are being offered the job generally means they think you are pretty great, and is probably not a function of HR just trying to save the company a buck (OK, this is sometimes the reality- but it's the exception not the rule).

Second, the offer is almost always negotiable. I am going to repeat this for all the people who shy away from negotiation: the company EXPECTS you to negotiate, and often starts out a little low to account for this. As a hiring manager, I am always amazed when a candidate does not attempt to see if they can do better. Now, you don’t want to try to bulldoze your way through, putting your offer at risk, but typically it is anticipated you will ask for more than the opening offer. When making your request, in addition to adjusting salary, consider also asking for something else; (no, not a pony…) additional vacation time, a higher bonus percentage, or waiving a benefits waiting period would be good examples. Pick one.

Know how to ask for it. Framing your request as a reflection of your experience, and what you are going to bring to the table that will benefit the company is important here. You think you're worth more- great, but you will need to have a reasonable rationale if you are going to persuade us to agree. If you are able to access reliable market and salary data prior to negotiation, it’s a great idea to do so to make sure you are not off base in your ask. A site like Payscale can be a good source.

The company may accept your request, or come back with a counter offer on salary- or offer you a signing bonus in lieu, particularly if it is a larger company or a more senior job. If they cannot budge on the dollars front, you have a very good chance of getting your second request. They will not want to completely alienate you; you have some leverage at this point- try to get something.

Last step: get it all in writing. And, as obvious as it sounds, carefully READ through what you are about to sign! There are all kinds of clever clauses in contracts that will limit an employee’s rights, some of which can also be negotiated if you know what to ask for. It can help to have a professional review the contract with you, particularly if there is a clause that is of concern.

Following these steps will give you a great chance at negotiating the offer in your favour. Want to have your contract reviewed before you sign on the dotted line? Or get advice on negotiating the terms of your specific contract? Get in touch with us- this is an area of our expertise and we love getting our clients the best possible offer.


Salary Negotiations Gone Wrong

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