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How to negotiate a job offer


After successfully impressing a prospective employer with a great CV and outstanding interview, you will hopefully have secured a job offer. However, before accepting the job, there may be an opportunity to discuss the salary and benefits. Tom Bunkham from, shares his advice on how to negotiate a job offer.

Once you have made it through the interview with flying colours and secured a job offer, you will be at the stage where you can discuss salaries and benefits. From the basic pay to your benefits package, itís important to know the most effective way to negotiate an offer.

Should I negotiate a higher salary?
The first question you need to ask is whether you accept the salary being offered, or try to negotiate for more. The best way to do this is researching into the remuneration package you expect, as well as the current market rates for the type of role you've been offered. It is helpful to have an idea of what your minimum, expected, and dream salary would be.

Minimum salary
Generally, your minimum salary should equate to your minimum cash requirements for a role, based on your circumstances. If itís your first job, that might mean enough to cover your costs and give you some extra spending money. If youíre currently working and you are moving jobs, your minimum will probably be at least the same as youíre earning now.

Expected salary
Your 'expected' salary will naturally sit in between your minimum and dream salaries. But how do you calculate this? Looking at equivalent salaries is usually the best place to start. You should also look for job specs with similar requirements to what you've been offered and check what other employers are currently offering. Of course, if you are particularly well qualified or experienced, you may well expect higher than average market rates.

Dream salary
Most of us would like more money, so, naturally, we are reluctant to put a cap on our 'dream' salary. It is easy to get carried away, but you should try and remain realistic. Your dream earnings should be the most you can expect to be paid given the job you are applying for and your own level of experience.
You can check your salary against averages for different roles within different sectors to help work out what you can expect in your circumstances.

What about the benefits package?
While take-home salary is clearly important, there are other elements to consider. Namely, the benefits package. For example, your prospective employer might offer one or more of the following benefits:
  • Health care
  • Pension scheme
  • Stock options
  • Free gym membership
  • Travel schemes
  • Flexible working options

Consider how much flexibility you are willing to offer for all of these benefits. This should take into account the monetary value of each benefit, but you should also consider some of the lifestyle and time-saving benefits. For instance, flexible working hours might allow you to spend more time with your family, whilst the provision of a company pension scheme will mean you do not have to organise your own.

How to negotiate
Your prospective employer is likely to have a figure in mind for your salary, but don't simply accept or reject the first offer.
  • Ask if there is any flexibility in the offer, as well as how regular salary reviews will take place - taking a lower salary will be more acceptable if there will be regular salary reviews.
  • If the salary is below your minimum expectation, explain that the offer is below what you were expecting, backing it up with why.
  • If the package is around your expected salary, you should still attempt negotiation, explaining how your experience, knowledge and qualifications position you in the market.
  • In the event of being offered your dream salary, you'll probably want to discuss room for future growth in earnings and career development; remember, although this is your dream salary, as you progress your expectations are likely to increase.
For any of these scenarios, you should never flat-out refuse the offer of a salary straight away. You should state that you 'need time to consider the package', giving you and the employer more time to consider your options.

Know when to back out or back down
There are clearly a number of considerations when deciding whether to accept an offer from an employer.
  • Do not solely consider salary: take into account other considerations, such as benefits, working hours, work culture, the job itself and room for career development.
  • If the salary is not what you expected and is not compensated by additional benefits or career development. This is your opportunity to discuss this and weigh up the options if there is no room for manoeuvre. 

Remember, if youíve done your homework, you should know what youíre worth, so you should try your best to make sure that's what you earn in your next job. Whatever happens, donít sell yourself short.

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