After getting past all the job search & interview hurdles, you emerge as the preferred candidate, only to realise that the offer carries a lower-than-expected salary.
What should you do in such a situation? Quick pointers for when you sit down to negotiate your next salary.
Believe in your worth, even in a slowdown.
Wondering if you should negotiate a higher salary when opportunities are not that easy to come by? Assess your bargaining strengths realistically, but don’t discount a significant advantage that is already on your side when you reach the negotiating table. Zeroing in on the right candidate for a high-profile job is a long-winding and fairly expensive process. After investing time & money to identify the right person for the job, the HR team is looking for a win-win situation and is not keen to walk away from the perfect candidate.
The chances are they will be open to your saying that it would be great if they could evaluate the overall package, so go right ahead even when the economy is in slowdown mode.
Negotiate – but not just the base salary
Compensation includes more than just the base salary. The list of possible benefits gets longer as employers get creative about compensation – annual bonus, joining bonus, insurance, overtime policies, employee discounts, stock options, relocation expenses, loan policies… Even when your base salary remains non-negotiable, new benefits included in your package can provide a strong financial incentive to sign on. The split between fixed and variable pay is also usually up for negotiation.
An often missed out aspect: negotiate the timing of your first salary hike in the organisation. Instead of waiting for a full annual cycle, ask to be evaluated after six months and get an increase based on your performance.
Make the right opening bid
So what should the opening bid be? While you have the right to state your expectations, the number you put on the table should not be a deal-breaker. It’s a good idea to research current salary trends, industry prospects and the company’s financials. Check salary details mentioned in the job post or review the job description that the recruitment consultant sent to you. Then, decide the minimum CTC acceptable to you as well as the number you want to put before the employer. It’s important to get the numbers clear in your mind before the first meeting as the salary discussion can come up suddenly, catching you unawares.
An increase of 20-30% from your current CTC is what most recruitment professionals will use as a benchmark: their sweet spot is an offer that is strong enough to tempt you but is not extravagant.
Salary negotiations have a lot to do with correct timing too. It is not a good idea to bring up the topic at the very first interview but better to take the cue from the employer. Assess the situation and consciously pick the right moment to talk about the salary package. When it comes to this sensitive negotiation, handle with care!