It should be an exciting time when you finally get that job offer. If it’s a job you really wanted and not just a backup, then you’ll be delighted. Before you get overexcited and ahead of yourself stop and take some time to learn how to successfully negotiate and evaluate a job offer. Of course, you can only start the negotiation process when the company have shown they are interested.  When the company have indicated that you are the successful candidate then you can start negotiating. Don’t be tempted to start negotiating before they have made a decision. Some interviewers may ask you about your current salary and salary expectations in the early stages.  However, don’t make the mistake of starting to negotiation before they have made their final decision. They are just gathering information.

One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation. – Arthur Ashe


Make sure you don’t start talking about salary too soon. Be patient and wait for the company to make the first move. The negotiations cannot start until they have decided that you are the successful candidate. Some companies will want to gather the information in preparation for the offer stage.

Be careful not to damage the rapport or relationship at the “gathering information” stage or make unrealistic demands. It really can determine whether a company will continue with the recruitment or not. It shows character to manage this stage appropriately and professionally.

When you are clearly at the offer stage and ready to negotiate be mindful at all times you are aiming for a win-win outcome. This stage needs delicate handling. This is not about shifting the power to your advantage.

What information do you use to negotiate?

Remember the reason you received the offer in the first place. You matched the skills, experience, knowledge and qualifications for the job. You then demonstrated all the above during the interview stage. So this is the information you continue to use to ensure you get the best salary possible.

  • Type of experience
  • Skills – technical and behavioural competencies
  • Knowledge
  • Qualifications and relevant training certificates

You can also use your current salary and benefits package as part of the negotiation.  Include pension contributions, medical insurance, dental insurance, life assurance, gym membership, stocks and shares etc.

Don’t ever negotiate using the following information; financial situation or commitments, mortgage, rent, lifestyle, hobbies etc. These are of course important factors for you but the employer will not increase the salary based on your factors. It just doesn’t work that way.

Know your worth

How do you know your worth in the jobs market if you’ve not been in the jobs market for a while? You’ll need to do your homework and research before you get to this stage. You want to be as confident as possible and that means fully understanding the realistic salaries being offered in your sector, at your level of responsibility and in that location.

Location plays a major factor in the salary you can expect. For example, London will most certainly pay bigger salaries and the trade off is the huge commuter costs, as most people cannot afford to live in London. It’s good for you to know that a lot of effort goes into deciding and evaluating each job salary.  There are a number of factors companies take into consideration when allocating a salary to a job.

Here are just a few factors:

  • Significant decision maker
  • Level of responsibility and accountability
  • Budget size and authority
  • Size of the business and brand
  • Grade and level of job
  • Internal and external bench marking data
  • Competitors salaries
  • Location
  • Generating revenue capability

Evaluating the offer

If you are currently employed you’ll want to be really careful with your calculations and comparisons here. Don’t make the mistake of just comparing your basic salary against the salary being offered. You could be seriously out of pocket if you don’t calculate your total compensation.

Therefore, make sure you review all your benefits, pension contributions, medical insurance, life assurance, holidays and so on. Knowing exactly what your current total compensation equals will give you the confidence to negotiate the best salary. It will also give you further information to negotiate with – it’s acceptable to use your current salary and benefit as part of the negotiations.

Career Change

Most reputable companies don’t want to hire people on less than they were earning previously. They may feel uncomfortable hiring someone who will be taking a drop in salary. It’s not generally motivating to offer a lesser salary. Of course, there may be occasions like a career change when it makes sense to take a decrease in salary. This is a personal decision and again needs to be managed carefully.