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The Offer: How to negotiate your package and your resignation - Career Strategies Series #9

You’ve been offered the role you’ve been working towards for months. Congratulations! But what happens next?

We advise candidates to consider the initial offer for 24 to 48 hours before responding.

How to respond if the proposed package falls below your expectations.

Everything has gone wonderfully well so far. You’ve been through the interview process, you’re keen to take on the role and your offer arrives. But there’s one major sticking point. The remuneration package on offer isn’t what you were expecting. What do you do?

From the beginning of the process, listen to your Executive Search Firm on salary range and package – it’s unlikely to change significantly from what they advise.

Self-worth and realism

First of all, know your worth. Be clear about what value you will bring to the role. Temper this with 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 on how much room there may be to negotiate. If you learned at the outset the salary is fixed, negotiating for a significant uplift at offer stage will not be well received.

Write a list of components.

Weigh up what really matters to you in your current remuneration. Is the role more important than the package? Does the package hold particular importance for you? List its components, including: salary, bonus, car allowance, pension, holiday entitlement, tax-free vouchers, stock options, health insurance, gym membership, parking, subsidized canteen, and death in service benefit. Which of these are your ‘deal breakers’?

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? Weighing up all relevant factors will help you to get clearer about 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. As a guideline, a 5% uplift in your current salary is tight, 10% is good, 15% is very good. Any more is extraordinary.

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? Does your long-term plan influence your expectations?

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 your own research into market salary levels.

Manage your expectations bearing in mind your Consultant’s response. This all hinges on what you’re happy to accept. Articulate which components of the offer are deal breakers 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.

Your resignation and exit

You’ve accepted your new role, the package has been confirmed and you’ve signed contracts. Your next step is to resign from your current role. Though many people neglect to give adequate thought to announcing their departure, a well-planned and executed resignation can bring benefits to both you and your current employer.

Here are some considerations:

  1. Ensure all the details around your new role are confirmed and finalized. Your package, contract and start date should all be in place before you resign to ensure there are no unexpected gaps in employment.
  2. Write a resignation letter that formally sets out the specific date of your last working day and consider expressing how much you’ve enjoyed working for your current organization.
  3. Ensure your direct line manager (who you report to) is the first person you tell in the business and is the person you give your formal resignation letter to. Remember the most important thing is to leave on good terms with your reputation intact. You may well work for your current line manager again in the future and they will most likely be a referee.
  4. Begin to formulate a plan to transition your responsibilities. Do you have someone in mind to recommend to replace you, even temporarily?

Check out the other insightful articles in our Career Strategies series

To shorten the odds of landing the executive position you want, start your search now and check out our advertised opportunities here.

Strategies for an Intentional and Successful Career Move Booklet 2022

In this Career Strategies Series, we take you through all the essential elements you need in planning your next move.

Download now


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