How To Negotiate The Best Salary In Response To Your Offer Letter

salary negotiationCongratulations! After a drawn out, excruciating interview process with more psychometric tests than you care to remember, you’ve finally received the call to say the job is yours and the offer letter is in the post.

The problem is, upon receiving your offer letter you find that the salary doesn’t meet your expectations.  What do you do?

Resist the urge to pick up the ‘phone and ask the HR Manager why you were low balled.  Adopt a professional approach and take the following steps:-

Review the Process: Has salary been discussed at all during the interview process? How did you find out about the job? If it was on an advertisement, was a salary range detailed in the job description? If the job was secured through a recruitment consultant, did they discuss specific salary details or a general range?

Salary Composition: Is the total package a base plus bonuses? Ask for clarification on the breakdown and whether the bonuses are achievable. Ask for evidence of current bonuses being paid in similar positions within the company.

Research Comparable Positions: Before you respond to the employer, research your industry for evidence of compensation levels in similar positions; a wealth of information is available online.

Write to the Employer:  Be polite. Express gratitude for their job offer and explain how keen you are to join their company. Outline your original expectations and the reasoning behind them.  Provide them with your evidence of current salaries being earned in similar jobs.

Reiterate Your Interest: Emphasize your skills, the benefits that you can bring to the position and also the common ground in your long-term goals and the company’s vision. Remain positive and professional and state your desired salary expectations. Be realistic, don’t demand the highest salary in the range but have a ‘bottom line’ that you will not negotiate below.

Leave the Door Open :  Do not provide them with a ‘take it or leave it’ salary. Offer to go and meet with the employer again to discuss this matter face to face.

If There’s No Flexibility

If the employer is unable to be flexible on salary there are two options open to you:-

  • Consider all the reasons that this job is attractive to you, it isn’t purely about money.  Some professionals do actually make a ‘lateral’ move to a role with a similar salary if the long-term prospects meet their aspirations more fully than their present role.
  • On that basis request a salary review after three to six months in the role. Ask for a caveat to be included in your employment contract stating that your salary will be increased at that time subject to agreed objectives being met.

Ultimately, don’t be afraid to turn the role down if you are unhappy with the terms. At some point the right opportunity with an improved salary will come along and you’ll be glad you waited.

A Note on Recruitment Consultants : If you’ve secured the role through a recruitment consultant, negotiating your best salary may be easier as it’s through a third party. Take advice from your consultant but also follow your instincts and the guidelines above. Keep in mind that it’s in the recruitment consultant’s interests for you to take the position as it earns them a fee.

On a positive note an increased salary will probably mean a higher fee for them too so they should be motivated to secure the best salary possible for you.