Negotiating a job offer
Find out how to overcome the hurdles and successfully make a job offer here.
Negotiating a job offer with a candidate can be challenging. Sometimes it is best left to a recruiting professional - our consultants are fully trained in negotiation and would be happy to help whenever needed. When done well, it can not only result in employing the best candidate but to also secure a deal that works well on your terms.
Here are our tips for successful negotiation when making a job offer.
Remember what negotiation actually is
Negotiation is not about winning at all costs, or winning at all. Negotiation when making a job offer is about reaching a mutually beneficial solution for both parties. You don't want your chosen candidate to feel like they've agreed to something they don't really want; you want them to be as happy with the outcome (their new job) as you are.
Know your limits
Before engaging in negotiating a job offer, determine your absolute ceiling on the salary available for that role, and draw up a list of extras you can offer should you need to. While you may think it's all about the salary, many added benefits (that don't cost you very much) can sway a candidate. Consider offering additional annual leave, flexible working, or a car allowance.
Check market rates
Check the salary levels on offer for similar roles in the market to make sure you don't end up paying over the odds. Of course, you may want to pay over the odds, but make sure you're getting your money's worth. If a candidate is being a little too demanding, you can remind them how your offer compares to similar roles out there. We produce free annual local and industry salary guides to help you with salary benchmarking.
When initially making a job offer keep something back from your initial offer, so you have room to be flexible and accommodating if you need to. If you're seen as being inflexible and unable to respond from the beginning, it may not bode well for a future working relationship. If they're happy to accept the initial offer, then you've saved yourself a bit of money already.
What do they want?
It may sounds obvious, but if a candidate comes back to you asking for an improved offer, get as many details as you can and ask them to be specific. If they say something like "I was hoping for something closer to X", get them to identify exactly what that is, and then you have something to work with. You want to know if you're in the right ballpark, and you want to be able to compare their desired offer with your upper limit.
Highlight corporate benefits
Many corporate benefits can be worth thousands of pounds, which, when added to the salary, can reveal the true generosity of the offer. Of course, you want to make sure that those benefits are ones that are perceived as valuable by the candidate. If not, do you have room to be flexible with these?
If your organisation has one mention your pay review process and bonus scheme. If the candidate does well in the role, will there be room for a better package further down the line?
A good candidate should be happy to show they are willing to demonstrate they can be successful in the role, provided there is a clear reward structure in place. For more information, read our separate article on compensation and benefits »
Be open and honest
Applicants could ask all sorts of questions about your offer, so be prepared to listen and answer any questions they may have. Once you have shifted a little and as far as you're willing to go, assert your end point with clarity. There will be a limit to how far you can stretch and the potential employee should respect this.
Keep it moving
Don't drag your feet if you find the perfect applicant. Get back to them as soon as you can. If you don't act fast, they could accept another offer elsewhere. Let them know when you expect to hear back from them, and be assertive if you need to. Negotiation is a two-way street and both parties need to be participating actively to move the process along.
Know when to stop
Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out. If you've been going back and forth with no real progress, it might be time to call it quits and move on. Keep the door open though, you never know what might happen in the future. For further guidance, read our article on what to do if your offer is rejected »
Or explore our full employer advice section here.