Negotiating the deal

Your prospective employer will want to secure your services for the lowest reasonable package; your aim is to obtain the best possible deal. When you are offered a job, bear the following in mind.

Negotiate at the right time. The time to start negotiating the deal is when you know that the employer is committed to offering you the job, and that you are the preferred choice.

Once the company is committed to you, it is more likely that your requests will be met. It is wise, at this stage, to check that the job is being offered to you. ‘Can you confirm that you are offering me the job, subject to agreement of suitable terms?’

When the offer is made, maintain a short silence. It shows that you are giving the offer serious consideration and also suggests to the employer that perhaps the offer needs to be higher. Even if the offer appears totally satisfactory, do not accept immediately. Give yourself time to think about it. Are there any facts that you need to check out?

If you are expecting other offers that you want to consider, ask for more time. The recruitment process usually takes several months, so most employers will allow you a week or two to consider. You may also be able to use this latest offer to speed up responses from other potential employers. Whatever time commitments you make for declining or accepting an offer, keep them.

Consider the longer-term opportunities. What are the promotion prospects? What are the opportunities for personal development and training?

Do not under-sell yourself. Get a feel for the market rate for the job. Consider what you have to offer and formulate a package that you believe is fair. If the offer does not meet this, start negotiating. However, do not be unreasonable.

When considering your position, identify those parts of the package that, for you, are non-negotiable and those that you would be happy to be flexible about. If a base salary of £25,000 is important to you and the initial offer is lower, you may be able to trade off some of the less important items of the package to achieve this.

Clearly identify what you are able to offer the company to meet its goals and overcome its problems. You will have done this during the interview. Now you can restate how you can contribute to the achievement of a particular goal or how you can provide solutions to problems.

You will find that smaller companies tend to have more flexibility in negotiating than larger ones, which are often tied to salary scales and benefits packages linked to seniority in the organisation.

You will probably want to consider the following:

  • How much are you to be paid? Are there any bonus payments and how are they administered? What have the average, the maximum and minimum bonus payments been in recent months? Can you negotiate a guarantee for a period? If the salary does not meet your expectations, try to negotiate an early review, if possible, against agreed objectives.
  • When are salary reviews and what is the policy? What have recent awards been?
  • What is the job title? Who will you be reporting to and what will your responsibilities and level of authority be?
  • What are the benefits – car, expenses, medical cover, pension, sickness benefit, holidays, notice periods etc?
  • If you are required to relocate, find out what assistance will be given. Also remember to get your family’s views on such a move.
  • What are the hours of work? What does the contract say? Are you expected to put in longer hours?

When you are negotiating, have confidence in yourself. You will have been through a careful and probably rigorous selection process and the employer has decided that you are the best person for the job. Negotiate a deal that fully meets your conditions of satisfaction.


1. Have a good idea of your market worth based on facts.

2. Defer salary discussion to as late as possible in the selection process.

3. Do not state a figure but a range starting with what you would like to get.

4. Do not talk about what you need but your market value and the contribution to the job.

5. Look at the whole deal. Salary, benefits, future prospects etc.

6. Do not accept or reject an offer when it is made, always think it over.

7. Negotiate for what you want.