There’s no better time to increase your salary than at offer stage for a new role. If you’re the business’ chosen candidate, you’ll have made it through a number of hurdles, outstripped your peers - and it’s now time for the employer to make their best attempt to prise you away from your current gig.
Whilst these are relatively challenging and uncertain times - it isn’t time to sell yourself short. It’s as tough for businesses to find good talent as it is for job seekers to find great opportunities - and hiring good people is fundamental to any business’ growth.
So - what steps can you take to maximise this opportunity and walk away, not only with a great new job, but also a nice bump up on your monthly pay cheque?
In your first call or meeting with a recruiter, they’ll want to learn about your experience and achievements, your reasons for wishing to leave your current employer and what you’re looking to do next. In this meeting, we’re assessing for competence and suitability - but we’re also making an assessment on your motivations for moving and what we need to go and find to capture your interest.
As an aside - there are many reasons for leaving an employer - and salary might only be a small part of it. Even before you engage with recruiters, you should have a really good think about what you want to get out of your search. It might be that you’re actually paid pretty well, but you aren’t getting any development from your current line manager. If you can find a boss who has a track record of developing and promoting people, isn’t that worth more than a few extra pennies in your pocket each month?
When the conversation turns to money, help us help you. Remember, we charge a % of base salary, so it’s in our interest to get you the best increase we can! If you get a great bonus - tell us about it. If your employer pays 20% in to your pension pot; if you’re given unlimited holidays or flexible hours - tell us about that too. Base salary only paints a part of the picture - and you might end up short changing yourself quite considerably if you don’t share the extra detail.
When you talk through your salary expectations: be confident, but also, pragmatic. On average, in this market, 10% is good, 15% is great and 20% is outstanding. If a candidate tells me they want 40%, I simply won’t work with them - I know there’s nothing I can do to get them close to their expectations, and there’s far too much risk in adding them to a shortlist when other good (and more realistic!) people are waiting in the wings.
However, most importantly - be informed. There needs to be a value exchange. If you want an increase of 20%, great - but on what basis can you justify it? Here are some things to think about:
1) are you underpaid in your current role? What evidence do you have for that?
2) can you demonstrate that the lack of pay is institutional and not based on your performance?
3) what career achievements and experience can you highlight to justify the increase?
4) what is the market paying for your skills?
5) what will you be leaving behind? eg: good line management, flexible working, strong internal network
6) does your current employer have a track record of counter offering resignations?
When your recruiter briefs you on a new role, he/she should be able to give you a very clear idea of the salary band for the vacancy - and they may also be able to give you the banding for the corporate level (and others above and below). If they’re really worth their salt, they should also give you an idea of total package, how it’s deconstructed - and how flexible they might be if they find the perfect person.
Have an honest conversation with them about your candidacy for the role and how aligned to the brief you are - there’s no point asking for more than the salary band if you don’t meet the key criteria.
Then, come to a collective decision on the terms you would like them to represent you - remember, we charge a % of base salary, so it’s in our interest to get you the best offer we can... but at the end of the day we’re looking to fill the vacancy, so there’s no point applying to a role where one or more parties don’t see value - it’ll only end in tears.
As you move through the interview process, keep us completely up to speed with your other interviews. If you’ve been represented for a vacancy at 60k and another business has your hat in the ring to the tune of 65k - that’s extremely valuable information for us to pass on to a client. Also, give us a clear idea of where you’re up to in each process. A final interview carries much more weight than a first stage and is therefore more likely to get things moving more quickly and entice a better package.
You nail the final meeting and you make it to offer stage. Most people will say that this is where the fun starts! However, if you’ve been in transparent dialogue, this should be the easiest part of the process (in theory!)
At this stage, it’s all about trust. Now, as a recruiter, I completely appreciate that ‘trust’ and ‘recruitment’ aren’t completely synonymous! So, before we get to this stage, my job is to earn your trust - you need to know that I’ve got your back completely.
The reason is: most clients will ask us where an offer needs to be to secure an acceptance - so my head’s on the block if we give them the wrong information. Any candidate who’s worked with me will know that I’ve always got their best interest in heart, but that I also need clarity on an ’acceptance’ figure. You can’t manage a negotiation if you don’t have clear parameters to work with.
We’ll then work hand in hand with both yourselves and the client to get a result that feels fair to all parties, and that everyone’s delighted with!
In this job, there’s no greater feeling than securing someone an offer that they’re absolutely delighted with. If you build working relationships with a few good recruiters that you can trust, who’re well networked and informed, and who you believe have your back - you can be confident that the next step in your career will be a great one.