Written by Jo-Anne, Senior Recruitment Consultant, FS Personnel Recruitment Services Pty Ltd

FS Personnel – Inspired by Growth

You received a job offer, what will be your next step?

Excited to accept a job offer, but need to discuss a few details first? It can be daunting to pick up the phone and tackle that conversation, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some top tips on how to negotiate a salary offer, and navigating the conversation like a pro.    

Before you start that conversation, take some time to think about the process from the hiring team’s perspective. This will go a long way to ensure that your intentions are clearly understood along the way:

The right mindset is key

Always keep in mind that the company you’re talking to is made up of people just like you, with their own hopes and worries about the process.

Keep their perspective in mind: 

Companies get many candidates who want to negotiate a salary offer, and a few hiring teams may have had a negative experience of being ‘burnt’ in the past. The same way candidates are afraid of being offered a lower salary than expected, the hiring team is afraid of candidates playing one offer against their current company`s offer.

The golden rule: 

You should only be negotiating a salary offer if you can realistically see yourself working at that company. Ask yourself if you would actually accept the offer once the company has accommodated you. If you negotiate just for the sake of it or go back on your word, you risk burning bridges with the hiring team after they’ve met your requests.

Making the conversation as transparent as possible, and getting an offer you’re happy to sign.

Before the conversation, benchmark your salary.

Before you do anything else, it’s time to undertake the all-important task of benchmarking your current salary. Here are a couple of tips to help you do this:

Do market research

As a start, check out the latest salary brackets from various provinces.

Talk to your peers

Reach out to the same career friends with similar years of experience as you to ask if they mind sharing how much they earn. Your research should never stop here, and doing broader market research is essential.

Determine your new asking salary

Once you have a good idea of where you stand in the market, it’s time to determine the salary you want to earn for your next job. From experience, asking for a 10-15% increase in your current salary is generally in line with employers’ expectations. This can, of course, differ according to factors like your level of seniority, specific skills, and the industry you work in.

Justify asking for more

If you want to ask for more than a 10-15% increase, have a good reason for doing so and the skills to back you up. Some good examples would be if you’ve recently upskilled in a new language, or had to take a pay cut due to COVID-19.

Understand the offer on the table

Once you’ve benchmarked your salary, it’s important to decide what type of job offer would excite you and to get a full picture of the job offer from the company. Remember, an offer consists of many factors besides salary.

Getting the full picture will help you make informed choices about your next opportunity.

You may ask for a mock payslip, understanding your benefits, and scoping out the outlook for your role.

Pro tip 1: Make sure you understand the different types of salary that could make up an offer. Here’s a quick reminder:

  • Net: Your take-home pay after all deductions.
  • Gross: Your taxable salary before deductions.
  • Cost to Company: Your gross salary, plus all other contributions included in your payslip. This could include company contributions such as medical aid, a provident fund, and benefits like internet or phone costs.

Know why you’re negotiating

Once you have a clear picture of the job offer that’s on the table, you can now decide if you have a fair reason to negotiate salary.

Examples of good reasons to negotiate would be:

  • Your salary is low relative to market data
  • The total job package is different to what you expected
  • There is something you would like to change or request

Pro tip 2: 

Make notes on what isn’t in line with your expectations, and why. Keep your notes on hand during the conversation, so it’s easy to refer to if you’re asked to expand on any points.

Start off by thanking the company for the offer:

  • Explain that you are excited at the prospect of joining the company. Add specific details around what exactly excites you about the role and the company itself.
  • You can then more easily lead into the aspects of the offer that you would like to discuss.

Know your walk away amount

As with every negotiation, there is always the chance that you and the company don’t come to an agreement. What’s important though, is that you know what your limits are and where you’d be unhappy to settle as this will help you avoid settling on an amount that you’re actually unhappy with, and that might cause problems further down the line with your employer.

Suggest an alternative

If you’re not happy with the salary or total package, you can now communicate that the salary offer or package doesn’t work for you because of certain reasons. Go back to your research, and suggest an alternative market-related salary. Explain that, if the offer was revised in this way, you would be happy to accept the offer.

Good luck in signing the perfect offer!

Don’t miss out on our next session that will be published on 26 October 2022.



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