interview1 Negotiating a job offer
You’ve got the job but now it’s time to negotiate your salary

Getting a job interview isn’t an easy thing these days, and if you do get invited for one and then get offered a job, you may be inclined to accept it immediately just to solve your unemployment.

If the salary is good enough for you, and fair for the job, then there’s of course nothing wrong with doing this. If, however, the salary is too low for the job you’re being asked to do, or the employer asks you what you want to earn, you may have to enter into negotiations.

Depending on your personality or experience with negotiations, this may be difficult for you to do. What will make it easier is doing some research into the market value of the job so you know what you should be aiming for.

Typically, at the end of the interview, the employer will be the one to start talking salary, and they are more likely to give an offer that’s lower than what the job is worth – they won’t want to spend any more than they have to, after all. However, if you’ve done your research then you will already know the internal salary range for your job, which means you may be able to inform them that what they’re offering, is worth less than what the job entails, and lower than your own worth.

As a rule of thumb, you should not respond with a yes or a no, but simply repeat their offer and wait for a moment. This will give you time to think about your next sentence, but will often prompt the employer to give a higher offer, on the assumption that you were going to turn it down otherwise you would have accepted immediately.

If the offer is still too low, kindly remind them of how your qualifications and experience meet the higher end of the salary range (if that’s true), and see what they say. If the employer does not give another figure but instead asks what you want to earn, the guideline is to go 10 per cent higher than your real expectations. The reason for this is the employer will want to negotiate down, so by projecting higher, you are more likely to agree on your desired salary. If you admit honestly what you want, you are likely to get a lower offer because it will be expected for you to state higher and negotiate your way down.

As nervous as you may be with negotiations, remember that you are the lead candidate and that is why you were offered the job. It is entirely possible the company doesn’t negotiate, but there will certainly be no harm in asking if there is any flexibility in their salary offer.

Of course, it isn’t necessarily true that any offer will be lower than your expectations – it may be exactly what you wanted or even more. Even so, they are likely to expect you to negotiate, so it’s worth asking for a further 10 per cent and seeing what they say; you never know, it could land you a higher wage than you thought. This is especially worthy if your desires are less than the market value for the job, and if during the negotiations you mention your research into what the job is worth, the employer is almost certainly going to raise the offer to at least be on par with market value.

You can also discuss the tasks of the position to verify that you and the employer are looking at it in the same way – it’s possible that you are seeing extra work they have overlooked, or it’s equally possible you are overstating what it’s worth.

Whichever one is true, as their leading candidate, you are in a very strong position to negotiate our way to your perfect wage.