Secure the best salary and compensation package.

Salary negotiations can be incredibly stressful. On one hand, you don't want to miss out on a job opportunity by overestimating your value or pitching above the salary limit. On the other hand, you deserve fair compensation and should ensure you receive that.

Opening the discussion and keeping it moving is a skill. To help guide you, this article takes you through the process step by step to make sure that both you and the company are satisfied with the outcome of your salary negotiation.

Prepare yourself

In the euphoria of securing a new job, many people simply accept the first offer they're given. Fear of missing out on their dream role leads them to gratefully accept immediately.

Such a strategy isn't always the right option, though. With some preparation, you may be able to land yourself a significantly better package.

Firstly, don't accept on the spot, but rather ask if the package is negotiable and what the available salary range is. If there's wiggle room, ask for time to consider and agree on a time and date to renew discussions.

In this spare time you've bought yourself, establish the salary range that you'd find acceptable for yourself. This will make reaching an agreement much easier.

Approach with the right attitude

Don't assume that you're being unreasonable, greedy or an inconvenience – that's not the attitude that got you hired! Approach the salary negotiation with confidence. Show a genuine passion for the role and the company and look on it as a further chance to impress them with your negotiation skills.

Of course, demonstrating your gratitude for the opportunity won't go amiss either.

Develop realistic, well-supported arguments

When you reopen the salary negotiation, be prepared to explain exactly why you deserve a better package than the one they've offered. Ideally, by this stage, you'll have done some research in order to prepare your arguments.

Check out some online job boards to evaluate the market average for roles with similar job titles and seniority. Compensation also varies by industry and location, so the more specific your research, the better. You can also tap up your network and recruitment agencies for input regarding market trends.

With your research in hand, you're in a position to offer justifiable arguments in favour of an increased compensation package. Back up your points with not only market rates but also the background that got you the job in the first place – emphasise your experience, competitor knowledge, quantifiable achievements and industry network to remind them why you're their candidate of choice.

Negotiate with your future manager

If at all possible, negotiate your salary with your future manager, rather than the HR team. Your future manager is much better positioned to understand the impact you can have on the team and the company – HR are a step removed, with a pipeline of other candidates.

Evaluate and manage subsequent offers

If the company's new offer meets your expectations, particularly in terms of salary and must-have benefits, take it! There's no reason to continue negotiations in the hope of an even better offer, especially if you then end up pricing yourself out of the role and losing out on the opportunity altogether.

However, if the offer is not quite there – maybe crucial benefits are missing or the salary is slightly lower than your minimum – feel free to present your own counteroffer. Maybe you could take a lower salary in exchange for childcare payments or ditch the company car for a higher wage.

Keep an open mind and be willing to compromise on the non-essentials. This is where the clarity gained from your earlier preparations comes to the fore!

Remember that both parties need to be happy with the outcome

Whilst you're no doubt thrilled to have been offered the job, don't be afraid to walk away if the compensation package doesn't meet your requirements. Similarly, it's important to understand that the company may simply not have the budget or ability to meet your demands.

Too much friction in the negotiating process doesn't make for a happy start to a new working relationship, so understand that there may need to be give and take from both sides to reach a suitable compromise.

Look at the whole package

The compensation package for a new job doesn't equate to a salary alone. What other benefits could influence negotiations?

Holiday or leave entitlement

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy! The time you spend away from work is just as important as the time you spend there. Work-life balance is very much in the spotlight these days, so leave entitlements are often a key part of a compensation package. Compare your offer to the market average and your current role.

Childcare payments or subsidy

Whether on-site childcare or a childcare allowance, this benefit is hugely important to working parents who would otherwise need to spend a large chunk of their salary paying for childcare. Calculate whether the financial benefit of the childcare offer justifies a lower salary.

Transport

Commuting costs, particularly in London, can be significant. Add to that any time spent travelling for meetings and such and you can wave goodbye to several thousand pounds. Luckily, many employers factor company cars, season ticket loans or mileage into their offers.

Coaching, mentoring and expenses for continuing education

If you're serious about developing your career, this can be invaluable. Continuous formal learning, coaching or mentoring may not seem like a tangible benefit in the short term, but can have a huge impact on your earning potential longer term.

Working from home

The option to work from home is a marketable benefit. It could even come with additional benefits including office furniture, desktop systems, broadband costs and more. Considering the time and cost savings from the daily commute and the flexibility it offers, it's worth factoring the option to work from home into your compensation package.

Pension

A traditional and highly sought-after perk is the company pension. Some schemes are better than others, so conducting additional research to make sure it meets your needs is vital if this is a non-negotiable for you.

Bonus/commission

Performance is crucial in roles operating on a bonus or commission structure, so you'll need to be clear on your ability to deliver as the total compensation is effectively unknown and could vary wildly.

Private healthcare and gym membership

Companies realise that a healthy workforce is a productive workforce and enjoy the cost implications of their staff taking fewer sick days. In return, the employee – and sometimes their family – have the peace of mind associated with private healthcare and the leisure opportunities afforded by gym membership.

Flexitime

Another benefit to help with work-life balance, flexitime can be particularly important for working parents, those running a side-gig and students. It provides employees with the option to fit work around life, rather than life around work. As long as you do the hours, there can be a huge amount of flexibility in when you actually do them.

Job title

If your job title is important to you, this can be an easy win for the company. With no financial cost to the organisation, a change in job title can potentially improve your standing externally, positioning you better with customers and future employers.

Potential for regular salary reviews

Agreeing to regular salary reviews as part of your compensation package means that, even if you don't quite hit the mark this time, you have the potential to demonstrate your value and negotiate again in the future.

Whatever the outcome…

When you have agreed on the final compensation package, always get the details in writing. This will usually take the form of contract, protecting the interests of both the company and the employee.

We wish you luck with your salary negotiations! It may seem daunting, but you've impressed them enough to secure a job offer so you're on the home stretch. Be clear on what you will and won't accept and you'll have your feet settled under a new desk in no time.

Get a free CV critique to find out if your CV will help you get the best compensation package.

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