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Kites in the Sky

Negotiating Offers of Employment

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is not being honest about their financial needs with prospective new employers; they accept job offers then get stuck in roles they enjoy but have to leave for another higher paying position, or find a part time job to supplement their income.

We all have a certain $amount we need to live on to not struggle each month, so learning how to tackle contract negotiations is a valuable tool for all job seekers.

Perhaps your reason for job seeking isn’t money motivated, maybe you want more flexible working hours?  Maybe you want investment in your professional training and development? Maybe you want more career advancement or extra paid days’ vacation? 

Whatever your reason for moving on, here are some tips to help you ‘perfect’ this part of your job search:

1. Know Your Value

If you’re going to get the pay you deserve, it’s crucial to know the going rate for your position in your specific industry or job category.  Research local information on compensations online, ask your friends and family to share what they earn, don’t be afraid to reach out to people who may be ‘in the know’ and ask or their insights.  You could always ask local Recruiters to share market information too.  Ask government departments for statistics.

2. Be specific

You can either share what your compensation expectations/desires are or share what you currently earn – or do both.  Don’t be surprised if you provide your current compensation data with a prospective employer and they make you an offer just above what you currently earn.  If you want to be earning more, then be clear about what you want when providing any information related to compensation if this is one of your key driving forces behind moving jobs.  You could also suggest a salary review be built into your contract after completion of your probationary period – the ‘bump’ may not be guaranteed but at least they know that you have your sights set on a salary increase sometime soon.

3. Think about other benefits they could offer

If you sense that the salary budget is ‘fixed’ then asking for an annual bonus that you can directly achieve is an option.  Or $ support towards things like cell phone and internet costs, or gym memberships could be a way of making the employment offer more attractive to you. Having an increase in the employer part of your pension contributions can also be a bigger benefit to you longer term - or maybe increasing the number of days paid vacation you get.  Perhaps having your qualifications or memberships paid for by them could be added in.  Remember, there are other items within an employment offer that you can focus on negotiating with outside of the base salary.

4. Avoid the back and forth

Take your time to thoroughly review the whole offer – sometimes we can be immediately turned off and disappointed with a proposed salary and discount everything else; but remember when you receive an offer, you are now in the driving seat – they want you, so take your time to evaluate the opportunity as a whole.  Ask for any additional information you may need like the employee handbook, or detailed information about the benefits providers – make sure you have everything you need to avoid going back and forth with questions.  When you have fully assessed the proposal, you can respond ensuring you cover all of your key points at the same time – this is always best to do via email/in writing to avoid any miscommunication at a later date in the negotiations.


5. Don’t feel pressurized into accepting any job offer

Remember, they have identified you as the lead applicant, they see something that they want – you have every right to take your time to review their proposed terms, and its best to take this time than rush to accept the offer then back track with questions afterwards.  If a company puts pressure on you to rush your decision, listen to the red flags and ask yourself: Is that a company that you want to commit to?  How will they be with you when other important decisions come along? 

Take your time to do your due diligence, ask to speak to other employees if you sense any red flags.  And if they ask you to leave your employer sooner than your official notice has ended, be hesitant and don’t take on their ‘rush’ to get you onboard if it doesn’t sit well with you professionally.  Trust your gut instincts! 

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