How to negotiate a salary package: a strategic negotiation

Whether you’re in the throes of a job selection process or considering a new position, one priority that you’re likely keeping an eye on is securing a financial package that satisfies your needs. Understandably, a better salary is always a plus, but the road to getting it is not as straightforward as one may think.

Who Holds The Power?

Your first line of contact in the selection process may vary— it could be a headhunter who introduced you to the company, the in-house HR team, or even a top manager or company owner. 

Regardless of how you got to this point, it’s crucial to identify two key players:

Who has the decision-making power when it comes to the financial offer?

Who is the best person to positively influence the decision-maker?

If you’re not dealing directly with the company owner, usually the best person to influence the decision-maker is a third party, not you.


Why You Shouldn’t Plead Your Own Case

Even if you have stellar negotiation skills, making a direct plea for a more lucrative package can be fraught with risks:

  • It’s hard to be entirely objective about your worth.
  • Pleading your case could result in misunderstandings or awkward situations.
  • You could come off as arrogant.
  • You’re likely unaware of the salary benchmarks within the company.

For these reasons, your best bet is to have an intermediary, like a headhunter or an HR contact, who can act as your “financial advocate” during negotiations.


Transparency Is Your Best Policy

If you’re dealing with headhunters or HR professionals, they’ll often ask you upfront for your financial expectations. Be transparent and give an honest account of your current package. Any discrepancies found later during due diligence may reflect poorly on you, suggesting you’re either careless or deceitful.


Tailor Your Negotiation Approach

If your financial needs or ambitions are higher than the industry average, let that be known immediately to save everyone’s time. On the other hand, if you don’t have any preset financial expectations, it might be strategic to let the company make the first offer, as this leaves room for negotiation.


The Process of Financial Disclosure

Typically, during the selection process, you may be asked to fill out a form mentioning your financial expectations. Sometimes, these expectations are probed during interviews. If asked, always provide this information based on your accurate understanding of market rates.


Final Steps

Once you receive an offer—be it from a headhunter, HR, or a manager—take a couple of days to think it over. If it aligns with your needs, congratulations! Accept it and move on to your exciting new role. However, if the offer needs to be negotiated further, always prefer having an intermediary carry your requests to the decision-maker. Be clear about your minimum acceptable offer and stick to your word once those terms are met.


Parting Thoughts

It’s essential to remember that once an offer is adjusted, it’s unlikely to be revised again. So, be clear from the get-go. By following these guidelines, you not only increase your chances of landing a favorable financial package but also do so with grace, without appearing opportunistic. The result? You step into your new role on a high note, poised for both professional and financial growth.

If you navigate the process carefully, you’ll not only secure a competitive package but also maintain your integrity and professionalism. That’s the ideal foundation upon which to build your new career chapter.


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