Negotiating a Job Offer – Advice for Executives

negotiating a job offer

The End Game in the Executive Search Hiring Process

Negotiating a job offer. The final moves in the executive search mating game. You have done the flirting, been on a date or two, maybe five to seven, and now you’ve been invited to join the family. A job offer is made to you.

How do you make sure this is a long-term relationship? Can you keep the passion alive for both of you? Is it possible for you both to remain satisfied and faithful for the foreseeable future?

Do you share the same family values and attitude to commitment?

Let’s find out.

The Engagement – Can I Negotiate?

The excitement has settled, everyone has said their congratulations, and now comes the reality – can you marry into this firm and on what terms? Whatever the state of the employment market, our experience and our clients tell us that at least some negotiation is expected when hiring top executives.

As with every union, there must be give and take. You may be smitten by the new love of your life and you might adore the new family. But you should still ensure that your final package is competitive and acceptable.

Where Does Your Negotiation Begin?

Your suitor likes you. If they didn’t, the offer would not have been made. This gives you some power in the negotiation, but not ultimate power. Remember, being the first choice does not mean that there is not someone in close 2nd place. You should be honest and clear about what you want from the relationship upfront.

Make a list of your needs and wants and put them in order of priority to you.

What Is Important to You?

What motivated you to explore this opportunity in the first place? What is it about this potential partner that may enhance your life?

·      Making a difference.

Now, more than ever, people want meaning out of life and their career. You may be in a great company, stable, strong benefits, but influencing change is like steering a steamboat upstream with a paddle. If this is your number one motivator, ensure the CEO, leadership team, and the board of directors have promised to support your quest for improvement no matter what.

·      Money

As a career-minded executive, we know that money is not your sole motivator. It’s not how to buy happiness, though, of course, you should be suitably compensated for your skills, expertise, and experience. Always keep in mind, size, annual revenue, and how long the organization has been in business when considering appropriate compensation.

To negotiate a suitable salary, work with your executive recruiter, research the market, understand market rates, and be sure about your own financial needs.

On top of salary, what else can you negotiate?

·      Signing bonus

Can you negotiate a signing bonus? Yes, within reason. Typically, these bonuses are used to pay for money that you are walking away from in your current role. Use your research to let them know how your skills and experience are going to help them in business recovery.

·      Medical Insurance

The larger the family the bigger the bills, right? A handsome medical package can be worth a small fortune in the longer term.

·      Working from Home

The pandemic has taught us the value of working from home. If this helps you manage caring responsibilities or health issues, as well as create a better work/life balance, it’s worth the effort of getting it included. Also, understand that most employers are expecting a reasonable onboarding time with them at the office. Set expectations upfront.

·      Flexible Hours

Do you love to get away to your holiday home for a weekend? A flexible working contract can shave a few hours off the Friday drive up there.

·      Retirement Benefits

Negotiating a higher pension contribution is definitely to be considered to help protect your future.

·      Progression Bonus

The company may not be able to offer a higher salary, but is there a results-based bonus for the near future?

·      Vacation Time

A few more days’ annual leave might be more within reach than the dollar bill. Plus, what good is work life balance, if you don’t use it.

5 Tips for Negotiating Well

1.     Win/Win

Give and take. A good outcome is when both parties feel like they have gained and there is compromise on both sides.

2.     Confidence, Not Arrogance

It’s a fine line between the two, don’t overstep the mark. You may be coveted by another firm or two, but don’t play them off. Work out the pros and cons and don’t burn your bridges.

3.     Be Clear from the Start

Be honest about elements of a package on which you cannot compromise from the start. Be honest with your executive recruiter about everything! Dropping a deal breaker after the offer, can remove you from consideration

4.     Flexibility

No-one likes to be thought of as ‘inflexible’. Think about your language when negotiating. Use phrases like, “How flexible can you be on that?” or “How have you closed gaps like this in the past?”

5.     Don’t Negotiate Just to Prove You Can

This is a big one that can turn around to bite you. Do not ask for more of everything, it just comes across greedy. Make sure your reasons are valid and viable otherwise this marriage starts with mistrust. If it starts at all.

Look at the Big Picture

Changing jobs, like getting married, is a lifestyle choice. Make sure you look at the bigger picture.

A shorter commute, for example, will give you more free time and cost less in travel expenses. How much are these things worth to you?

Consider your values and what the changes are going to mean. For example, if you are career-focused, a small sacrifice elsewhere may mean a bigger opportunity for greater career enhancement in the long run.

Perhaps you value stability and longevity – does this proposal offer that?

Consider cultural fit. Your offer may include the freedom to do more and build your own team, for example. Is this the reality? How has the hiring company treated new executives in the past?

Negotiating is always a challenge but, executed well, can be very satisfying.

Are you ready to embrace a role that works with your lifestyle, instead of shaping your life around your job? Contact Lincoln Group to explore how our executive matchmaking could enhance your career and your life.

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