For a new graduate fresh from Uni, getting your first professional job offer is always an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Do you accept the first role that appears or is it better to wait and see if others materialise? There are so many questions at this time of your burgeoning new career. How do you know whether or not to accept a job? Should you always accept a prospective employer’s initial offer or is it acceptable to negotiate a different package?
More experienced job seekers and candidates will be well versed in the negotiation process and how best to approach this often-tricky situation. First thing is first, an employer has made you an offer – congratulations! This means an employer understands the value that you can bring to their business and is interested in developing your skill set and you should recognise it too. Remember this when you’re considering the offer and know the value that you can add to their company.
Most of the time, this part of the process can be like an intricate game of poker, with neither player wanting to show their hand or give their position away. During the interview process, you may have been asked what your salary expectations are and if the employer’s first offer matches it and you’re interested in getting on the career ladder with this company, feel free to accept.
If the salary, holiday allowance and any other company benefits fall short of what you were expecting you’re within your rights to ask for a couple of days to consider your options and the offer. Here are some tips to navigating package negotiation.
You Like Me, You Really Like Me!
Never underestimate the power of being liked. If the Hiring Manager likes you and your approach, they’re more likely to argue with the powers-that-be for what you’re after. This is about being more than polite and you should be willing and able to demonstrate why you feel you deserve a different salary or additional benefits. Be courteous and diplomatic in your handling of the situation. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, as they say.
Make sure you do your research and know your numbers before you decide to negotiate on salary. Check to see if the salary proposed is in line with similar roles in other companies. Have a look at the average salary for your role and industry across Ireland and the UK to get a full picture of what other new graduates in your field are earning. Consider your level of experience or if you have completed internships that may be applicable to the role as well as your ability to fulfil and excel in the job. Examine any perks they offer to employees or any training opportunities on the table in lieu of a higher salary. Are you being realistic in your salary expectations or is the offer similar to others in the same role?
Show Them Your Worth
When you open up the lines of communication with the company or the recruiter and you’re ready to get down to negotiating for a better package, the important thing is to keep calm and remember that it’s a perfectly normal part of the recruitment process and won’t show you in an unfavourable light. Ask if there is any flexibility in the annual salary and politely advise them what your expected or preferred salary would be. It’s important to note that no recruiter or HR Manager will be offended if you open up negotiations. In this respect, confidence is key.
Be ready for tough questions and ensure you can demonstrate why you are worth the salary you’re requesting.
Understand Their Position
Yes, you may deserve more and they may want to give you more but it’s not always that simple. Companies can have multiple obstacles when it comes to salaries, bonuses etc. There may be a salary cap in place for your level that cannot be raised so it’s important to understand that. If a higher salary is not possible, they may be willing to be flexible on other points such as working hours or holiday allowance. Salary is not the be-all and end-all in this game.