Once you’ve done the hard work to interview for a new role and finally secured an exciting new position, what should you consider when you’ve received a job offer?
You’ve heard of the Great Resignation – workers around the world, at every level and across sectors are quitting their jobs at surprisingly high rates – a stark contrast from the low employment rates at the beginning of the pandemic.
And the numbers don’t lie. The recent Labour Force Survey published by the UK’s Office for National Statistics reported that: “Total job-to-job moves increased to a record high of 979,000, largely driven by resignations rather than dismissals,” from July to September 2021.
In the age of the Great Resignation when nearly 1 in 4 UK workers are actively planning to change their employers in pursuit of greener pastures, you might find yourself among them.
So, once you’ve done the hard work to interview for a new role and finally secured an exciting new position, what should you consider when you’ve received a job offer?
First off, congratulations. As a professional working in London, I recently made the move myself and it is not an easy process to juggle a full-time role whilst looking for your next step. Be sure to recognise your achievement in a meaningful way and reflect on the work it has taken you to get to the offer stage for a new role – you’ve earned it.
While it is important to celebrate, it is just as important to approach your job offer with a cool head to ensure you get the best for yourself. I spoke to Carly Jenner, a career coach and the Senior Director of People & Culture at a biotech company, for her insights and top negotiating tips.
Especially if you’re desperate to leave your current role or if you’ve been out of work for a while, you might be tempted to accept the initial job offer, but it is always important to at least consider negotiating it. “You will never have a stronger position to negotiate than during the offer process,” said Carly. “The company has a gap to fill and has invested time getting to know you and how you will fit within their team. As much as you want the new position, the employer also wants to hire you.”
For women especially, negotiating – or not negotiating – a job offer can have far reaching impact. And if you don’t ask, you don’t get.
"When it comes to considering a new job, explore your why and reflect on what really matters to you most. Is it working from home, or a flexible work model? Holiday leave? Support for new parents? Team culture and recognition? Growth opportunities or training?"
“Offer negotiations are rarely easy for anyone. However, research shows that men are four times more likely to negotiate a job offer than women (Carnegie Mellon, 2007). This difference is one of the contributing factors that perpetuate the gender pay gap, a problem which is still very real today,” said Carly.
“In 2019, an Institute for Fiscal Studies report suggested that on average, women in the UK earned 40% less a week than men. Considering negotiation of job offers is one way of starting off on a more equal footing,” Carly advised.
When it comes to considering a new job, explore your why and reflect on what really matters to you most. Is it working from home, or a flexible work model? Holiday leave? Support for new parents? Team culture and recognition? Growth opportunities or training?
“Take time to identify your non-negotiables. Explore what is most important to you and what you want to see in the job offer package,” advises Carly. “This should be more than just base pay and title. Think deeply about what matters to you – from values and culture fit, to challenge, growth, development opportunities and benefits; financial and non-financial.”
Here are Carly’s top tips for negotiating a job offer:
1. Show your commitment. Make it clear from the outset that you are grateful for the offer and excited about the position.
2. Be intentional. Focus on negotiating only those things which matter most to you. Remember, don’t haggle over the small things. If you have more than one point to negotiate, lay them on the table in the same conversation.
3. Just ask. All negotiations are tough – try to take the pressure off by reframing the conversation from negotiating to just asking. Think how you would feel if someone respectfully and professionally asked if something would be possible – that’s not such a scary prospect.
4. Strike a balance. Be direct but understanding of the company’s position. Whether HR or the hiring manager, they will have constraints which they need to work within. If you can be understanding of their position, it will go a long way with them being understanding of yours.
5. Practice. Role play the conversation with a trusted source – a mentor, coach, former colleague or friend.
6. Share your why. Be prepared to explain why you are negotiating, so that they can understand why it is important to you.
Carly also shared her advice for employers and hiring managers to make the negotiation process less intimidating for their preferred candidates:
1. Be transparent. Really take the time to clarify the candidate’s expectations ahead of time. 2. Open a dialogue. Ask how your offer aligns to what the candidate is looking for.
3. Don’t play games. Be open to negotiating but know the limit of what you can offer.
Regardless of whether you’re changing industries, taking on a growth role or making a lateral move, when you receive a job offer, take the time to consider what’s best for you in the long term – both professionally and personally. The future you will thank you.