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How to Negotiate a Job Offer Like a Boss

There’s far more than money on the table for candidates who look beyond their bank balance.

In a world where industry-wide salary information is readily available and flexible working is no longer a perk but an expectation, businesses are finding unique ways to jazz up job offers. For candidates, knowing what to ask for is the easy part. How to ask for it is a more nuanced affair. 

The process of finding a new job is much like the delicate dance of a new relationship. The feelings must be mutual. A few emails swapped, a phone call shared and then a series of dates to determine your compatibility. Soon it comes time to make a decision – make things official or part ways and flush the whole experience from your mind with a glass of pinot?

If you’re dazzled by the role but underwhelmed by the offer, now is the time to step back, reflect and remember that a job negotiation is a joint problem-solving process, not a battle

Look beyond the numbers

We don’t have much to thank the pandemic for besides perhaps the widespread reevaluation of what truly matters. In a survey Wisr conducted in 2021, more than 49% of respondents rated work-life balance and flexibility over money in terms of importance. A generous salary is nice, but it’s not always the most important element of a job offer. 

A four-day week might give you time to explore other hobbies or business ventures, and clocking off at 3pm each day to collect the kids from school may give you priceless family time that money can’t buy – no matter how high your salary is. 

Is workplace culture important to you? If so, what's theirs like? Do they offer a bonus scheme or stock equity options? Can they support your professional learning and development by subsidising or paying for external courses? Perhaps they’ve taken a leaf out of Wisr’s book and introduced an annual Wellness Reimbursement or Employee Assistance Program to support mental wellbeing. 

If you don’t ask, you tend not to receive, so be honest and realistic about your preferences when negotiating your offer.

Take your time

You’re not sitting across from Eddie McGuire on Millionaire Hot Seat. In most cases, you’re under no obligation to accept or decline an offer on the spot. Walk through the contract and go back to the hiring manager with any questions you have about the role and the business. It’s important to communicate that you’re genuinely interested and simply want to take the time to make a reasonable and informed decision.

Crunch the numbers

We’d all love to see Jeff Bezos’ paycheck deposited into our account every month, but the reality is that certain roles and experience levels have salary limitations. Do your research and understand what the market is doing. 

Is there a strong demand for people with your unique skill set? What is the going rate for comparable roles in your industry? You can generally gauge this from online job forums or by jumping on LinkedIn, but a far more efficient way to put the feelers out is by having a conversation with a recruiter.

It’s also important to consider the other side. There may be budget constraints or internal parity that limits a higher salary offering. Tackle this tricky conversation early. Ask, politely, what kind of salary range has been allocated to the role. If they’re not willing to give you a range, take note of that red flag.

Know your tipping point

Have a clear sense of what it will take to get you over the line, whether it’s a sign-on bonus, salary-packaging benefits or clear career growth pathways. It’s also important to know what will tip you to decline the offer – inflexibility to negotiate, misaligned values or a simple monetary disparity may be a deal-breaker.

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Disclaimer: This article contains general information only, and is not general advice or personal advice. Wisr Services does not recommend any product or service discussed in this article. You must get your own financial, taxation, or legal advice, and understand any risks before considering whether a product or service discussed in this article may be appropriate for you. We have taken reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but the information is subject to change. We may not update the article to reflect any change.

Terry is a degree-qualified forensic scientist who never quite made her way there. Instead, she made quite a bit of a detour and now uses her smarts to make sure the chemistry is bubbling away at Wisr.

Terry, Talent Acquisition Partner

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