Candidates who know how to negotiate effectively with a potential employer often have the opportunity to secure a higher salary offer, or a more attractive benefits package.
If a hiring manager has made you an offer, and you are yet to accept - this is your opportunity to discuss any changes you would like making to the proposed terms of employment.
Sometimes the hirer will be willing to negotiate and at other times they will not - but by asking for an improved offer, there is a chance you may get what you are looking for.
- What is the employer's position?
The willingness of the hiring manager to negotiate will typically depend on a number of factors, including how many candidate options they have, the level of demand for someone of your expertise, and the role you will potentially play within their organisation.
Typically, an executive hire will have more scope to negotiate on pay and benefits than somebody joining the company at entry level.
As a candidate, you need - where possible - to establish the position of the employer. This will help gauge your efforts, and ensure you do not jeapordise the job offer itself by asking for more money.
If the hiring manager is prepared to discuss a higher figure, it is important to show willingness to compromise - this may help with relations within the company at a later date.
It is important not to try and back the employer into a corner, just as they should not make a take-or-leave offer if you successfully make a case for an improved package.
Unless both parties - the employer and prospective employee - feel as if they have gained something from the negotiation process, they ultimately lose.
- Is the employer willing to negotiate?
A hiring manager may have the authority to offer a higher wage, but they will not offer you more money unless you ask for it.
During discussions about pay, look out for any signs that the organisation may be flexible - using phrases such as 'about' or ‘approximately’, 'in the range of' and 'roughly' which hint at scope for negotiation.
Unless the hiring manager says there is no chance of a higher offer being made, it is possible they will be willing to consider your request for an improved package.
- Can I make a case for higher pay?
If you are planning to negotiate with a prospective employer, ensure you are able to justify this move. You must be able to evidence your achievements and show what you can bring to the organisation.
Hiring managers may be much more prepared to be flexible with someone they believe will add value to the organisation, and deliver a stronger return on the investment in their services.
As such, it makes sense to have case studies and examples prepared, ensuring you are able to demonstrate your perceived worth.
- Attempting to seal the deal
If an employer is willing to negotiate, try to prise an offer out of them first without laying your cards on the table. This may give you additional room to manoeuvre, and potentially obtain an even better offer.
Almost always, the hiring manager will ask you how much you are looking for - the trick is to set your sights high but without being completely unrealistic.
Consulting the Robert Half Salary Guides before entering into discussions should give you some indication as to how much the highest earners in your role, in your region, currently receive.
This information provides a handy context for your negotiations - enabling you to target a salary at the higher end of the average salary bracket, but without appearing to have unrealistic demands.
- But recruiters may be best-placed to negotiate
Often, the best way to successfully negotiate on pay is through a recruitment agency, which employs specialists who can discuss remuneration with their client on your behalf.
Since they may already have built up a rapport with the hiring manager during the recruitment process, and be able to assess your strengths against other potential candidates, a recruiter can have greater persuasive power.
They are able to have an open discussion about what the employer is willing to pay and what you - as the candidate - are expecting.
This can potentially bear fruit in terms of securing a higher salary offer for the right candidates.
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