How To Negotiate At Work (A Job Offer, Salary, Hours etc.)

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Scared of negotiating at work? I was too! Read a recruiters 6 tips to make these discussions easier!

We’ve all been there. We want a pay rise or different hours, but there’s a feeling of dread that surrounds asking for such things.

The reason people often get so worried about negotiating is because of the notion that you shouldn’t ‘bite the hand that feeds you’.

Here’s some pointers on how to approach these negotiations and go after what you want!

Table of Contents

1. Plan What You Want

Whatever you’re negotiating, make sure you have a clear aim in mind. Don’t go in with a vague idea like ‘I just want more money’. Make sure you know exactly what you want.

When you go in with a clear aim, it’s less work for the person you’re negotiating with. If you come to them with a problem and no solution, it’s really annoying for the employer.

Write down on a bit of paper exactly what is it you want to change and how you propose it could be done. Make sure you know the exact facts clearly in your head.

2. Be Realistic

When a company advertises a job vacancy, there is normally a pay scale, a set location, set hours and an annual leave allowance. These are pretty much always set in stone.

If you go into the negotiation with realistic expectations, such as maybe doing a job share or aiming towards the top of the pay scale, then you’re more likely to be successful and get what you want.

3. Do It In Person

Although in 2020 it might be a bit difficult to have face to face meetings, try to at least do the negotiations over a video call.

This is mainly out of respect. The likelihood is that the recruiter had other candidates who would have settled for less, but they chose you. You might be the best person for the job, but it’s still polite to be thankful.

Make sure you say thank you for the job, or if you’re working for them already, be complimentary about the company or workplace.

4. Be Honest

Don’t be embarrassed. If it’s realistic, then you’re entitled to enquire about whatever it is you want.  

The employers should understand that there’s no harm in you asking! They will respect the fact that if you don’t ask, you don’t get!

5. Is it a deal breaker?

When negotiating anything to do with a job, it’s important to decide if it’s a deal breaker.

If it’s not, then you can approach your employer and ask them for a chat about the situation. State your reasons but don’t threaten to leave if you unless you have another job lined up.

If it is a deal breaker, then it can sometimes also be good thing to make this clear.

Don’t say “If I don’t get this I’m leaving”.

If it’s a job you’re already in, say; “Although I really like it here, I’ve come to realise that this is really important to me”. This implies the possibility of you looking elsewhere but doesn’t ‘burn bridges’ as such.

6. If It’s A No, It’s Not The Employers Fault

Often, the person you are negotiating with has large restrictions on what they can offer you. Especially at larger companies, there are finance departments involved with setting budgets and HR will set other requirements.

Sometimes, your request just might not be possible, even if it sounds simple.

If you get a no form the employer, respond politely. It’s always a bad idea to burn bridges in your professional life because you never know when your paths might cross again. Thank them for their time and make sure you leave on good terms, without an attitude.

Conclusion – How To Negotiate A Job Offer

Loads of career advisors have so many complicated, conflicting bits of advice when it comes to negotiating. But really, the process is simple whether it’s asking for a pay rise or negotiating work hours in a new job.

The key points are to be confident, realistic, and honest.

Have you got any stories about negotiating at work? Do you have any advice for others? Let us know in the comments below!

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