Posted on March 31, 2016

I spoke very articulately about the role I was being interviewed for. I was the last man standing from an assessment that took exactly 6 months before it got to this stage. 

We job seekers from my count were 120 in number when we came for the first assessment centre and now I am the last man standing.

I believe it was because the assessors saw that my behavioural attributes matched the culture of the division I was entering; a unit that is defined by young, passionate, innovative, self-led and intelligent minds that are passionate about driving results. The technical competencies I displayed during the course of the 6 months assessment stood out as well. Suddenly, I was hit with a question that I was not prepared for.

I just started my career, very young in the labour market. How was I supposed to respond to the closing question of WHAT IS YOUR EXPECTED RENUMERATION?  I responded the only way I could – as long as the offer given is along the salary scale relating to the job. Interview concluded, before I got home, a Congratulatory mail was received with my offer. An immediate excitement hit me as I read through the mail but was marred by the sudden feeling of disappointment that overwhelmed me when I saw the offer; it was below my expectation.  I loved the role but I felt I wasn’t being offered my worth, so I sought guidance from a friend who is into HR consultancy and he shared these tips for keeping negotiation tactics professional, friendly, data driven, and timely when you receive your offer.

Be excited regardless:Even if the offer is lower than you expected, an offer is an offer. Express gratitude and excitement before you begin to discuss details.

Perfect Offer or not, ask for a day to review the offer: It is important to be able to weigh your options and do some research on how the offer stacks up. But don’t take more than a day. The employer has a role they need to fill.

Enquire about benefits and add-ons: When researching, ensure you know the typical salary benefits range. Some of the best companies provide benefits that add up to 50% of your salary. Consider your “entire package”.

What is missing in this package?: look out for leave days, 13th month allowance, and even sign-on bonuses. It’s not strange for entry-level employees to be offered all of these, but it is important to note if these allowances are not included.

Be prompt:Once you’ve researched, respond quickly. Emails allow you to collect your thoughts, craft ideal responses and put your best foot forward during the negotiation.

Lead with enthusiasm:You’re still interested in the job and want to make it work. Then, bring up what you want to discuss:

If you’re going to ask for something, be prepared to explain what you want, why you want it, and if possible, how it will benefit the company. For example: “I’d like to start on X instead of the Y offered, align your responses to how it will energize you to focus on learning the job.”

If you’re going to ask for more money, don’t assume that saying their offer is lower than the average will work. Compliment your research with an explanation of what you want and why.

Be thoughtful about what you ask. Be realistic about what you ask for, and always back up your request with data about the company, the job title and the role’s responsibilities – not second-hand knowledge of what you’ve heard from friends or family.

Accept or Decline.At some point, you’re going to either have to accept or decline the offer. Show either positive enthusiasm or that you’re grateful for the offer. If it is not going to work for you, it’s not going to work for you. Bow out gracefully.

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