Everything has gone wonderfully well so far. You’ve been through the interview process, you’re keen to take on the role, and the call or letter outlining the offer arrives. Great…but there’s one major sticking point. The remuneration package on offer isn’t what you were expecting. 

What do you do? Here are a few tips on negotiating an improved package.

Self-worth and realism

First of all, know your worth.

Be clear in your mind what value you are going to bring to the role.

Then, temper this with a dose of clear-headed realism. What salary range was indicated during the interview process? Were you given any insights into the package? For instance, is the salary determined by a flexible or inflexible pay scale?

Answering these questions will give you an indication as to how much room there is to negotiate. If you were told at the outset the salary is fixed, negotiating for a significant uplift at offer stage will clearly not go down well.

Write a list of components

Weigh up what really matters to you in your current remuneration. List the components in your package, including: salary, bonus, car allowance, pension, holiday entitlement, tax-free vouchers, stock options, health insurance, gym membership, parking, subsidised canteen, death in service benefit. Which of these are your ‘deal breakers’?

Next, try to pinpoint the minimum salary you need to achieve.

What additional costs will you incur in taking up the new role? Will it involve a longer commute or longer hours? Can you move for the same salary, but a higher bonus and stock options, for example?

Having completed these simple exercises, you’re ready to ask yourself what you really want. Using the list of current salary components as your base, consider the uplift you’re looking for across each area. Make use of the Income Tax Calculators available online.

However, be sure to factor in a longer-term view. Think about why you want the role. 

Consider the career progression benefits. Is this a once-in-a-blue-moon, or possibly even once-in-a-lifetime, opportunity?

Consult with your Search Consultant

Have an open conversation with the executive search Consultant handling your appointment. If you feel the salary level on offer is too low, explain where you feel it should be pitched, set out your reasons why and outline your expectations. You’ll be in a stronger position to make your case if you’ve done some research into market salary levels yourself. 

Listen to your Consultant’s response and manage your expectations accordingly. This all hinges on what you’re happy to accept. Articulate which components of the offer are a deal breaker if not increased. 

Finally, trust your Consultant to act on your behalf to negotiate a better offer. It is in everyone’s best interests to conclude the deal quickly and efficiently. 

Once a ‘best and final’ offer is on the table, either accept it or reject it. Do not prolong the process. Remember, your reputation is at stake.

In the next article in this series: it’s day one in your new position, how do you get off to a flying start? We have some well-grounded advice.

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Damian Ringwood

Damian is Managing Partner of Odgers Berndtson in Ireland. He leads the Financial Services Practice area and has extensive experience across other sectors such as Professional Services, semi-state...

Rowan Hillis

Rowan is a Principal at Odgers Berndtson in Ireland where she works to appoint senior executives and board members across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. She is also part of the HR...

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