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Close the deal!

Here we discuss how to negotiate the best possible terms on receiving a job offer

Congratulations, you have been offered the job. You asked careful questions during your interviews and you have done your research. You are sure this is the right move for you. Now you need to secure the best possible terms!

Salary

This is an important issue and your chance to secure the best possible salary package. It is much more difficult to obtain a pay rise once you are settled in a job so grasp this opportunity.

Consider the following:

· What is the market rate? Do some research – the internet can be a good source of salary surveys. You may also have friends or contacts you can give you some information although this is always a tricky area and you may have to take some information with a pinch of salt!

· What is the level of the position? At a junior level there may be relatively little scope for negotiation, particularly if competition to work for the firm is fierce. You will need to take the long term view of prospects if this is the case. At a more senior level position is much more likely to be negotiable on salary.

· Does the firm have pay scales? If they do, again your scope for negotiation is more limited but aim as high as you can whilst being realistic about your level of experience as it relates to the pay scale.

Negotiation skills

How should you approach the negotiation? This is the time to use your best negotiating technique:

· Be assertive rather than aggressive. State your case in a reasoned and logical manner but don’t push to hard. Until you have a signed contract, the firm is able to withdraw its offer.

· Don’t make threats! You are not haggling, you are negotiating. A threat to reject the offer if the firm can’t meet your salary expectations is likely to make them wonder if they offered the job to the right person!

· Speak to the right person. In a large firm with a human resources department, the HR manager may be the right person to discuss salary with rather than your original interviewer. If you applied for the job via an agency, ask them to help with the negotiations.

· Consider the whole package and assess its value to you. If the salary is not as high as you had hoped, are there other benefits to take into account? Examples are pension scheme contributions, private health cover and season ticket loans.

· If you can’t secure the salary you would like immediately, can you negotiate a review in the near future, for example at the end of your probationary period?

Remember, you want to work for this firm. You feel the job is right for you and salary is just one (albeit important) part of your decision. Maintain a cordial and polite discussion and you should make progress without jeopardising either the job offer or your future working relationship.