You’ve been for an interview and you’ve been offered the position – this starts a crucial time before you begin your new job, in which you have leverage and the chance to enhance your work life through negotiation of the job offer made by your prospective employer. ManpowerGroup South Africa’s managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar, explains that this is the time where job seekers need to assess what is most important to them, and have the courage to ask for it.
“Negotiating a job offer can be a daunting process for a job seeker, but is certainly a necessary process and a chance to learn and grow as a professional,” explains van den Barselaar. “This is the job seekers chance to look at important aspects which would affect their job satisfaction, such as travel requirements, working hours, remuneration, additional earning potential and company culture, and express concerns around these if necessary.”
Van den Barselaar provides the following tips for negotiating a job offer in the most effective way:
Know the market range for your salary
Most medium to large organisations will have a pay range – not just one rate – for each position. To find this range, seek out a credible compensation survey from consultancies that collect data from organisations, rather than individuals who may submit unverified data.
If you can’t get access to these surveys, do research online and talk to your network and recruiters to build the picture of the range. Then negotiate within this range based on your experience and skills. “Doing your research will mean that you are realistic about the figures you can negotiate, and also show your potential employer that you are serious about the job and your worth as a professional,” explains van den Barselaar.
Think beyond the salary
Frederick Herzberg, a pioneer in the field of business psychology, asserted that people aren’t just motivated by salary. However, they do need a stable base of income and benefits that he called “hygiene factors”.
Take the time to think about what conditions will make you feel more secure in your role – this could include retirement or medical aid benefits, vacation allowances and weekly working hours, for example.
Is salary firm but vacation time flexible? If you want to learn more about what to negotiate for, it is important to identify what is negotiable within the organisation. “Knowing what the company considers flexible in terms of the package offered will give you a better view of how you will be able to negotiate with them, realistically,” says van den Barselaar.
Salary and benefits packages are the most popular items to negotiate, but other options may be on the table depending on the culture of the organisation. For instance, some businesses may offer sabbaticals, training and tuition reimbursements, concierge and gym benefits, or a flexible work schedule that includes working longer hours for a day off, for example. Take the time to consider what is truly important to you –
not what would just be a nice perk – and make the ask.
Have a conversation
Negotiations don’t need to be about a take-it-or-leave-it mentality. Rather, you can simply ask if the organisation has the capacity to increase their offer if, for example, it came through lower than expected. If the employer is unwilling to move, you can still consider the offer as it stands.
Remember, you can acknowledge and express genuine appreciation for the job offer without accepting. “During the conversation, ensure that you set a positive tone, request some time to review the offer, and consider your options. Be realistic but also focus on your value as a professional,” concludes van den Barselaar.