How to Negotiate a Job Offer
20 May 2022 2 mins read By Andrea Amato

Receiving a job offer for a career you are interested in is an exciting feat. You’ve worked hard to get in the position you are today, and it can be an arduous process to scour through job openings and succeed in finding the right one. Fast-forward to the interview process, and you open the email with a congratulatory statement demonstrating your success in receiving a job offer. 

However, upon reading the job offer, you realise that it’s not as glamorous as you thought it would be. The salary is less than you’d asked for, and the compensation packages are lacklustre. After spending a few years working on progressing your career, you know that this isn’t the time to take a step backward. It’s time to consider negotiating your job offer. 


What’s negotiable?


Early in our jobs in Malta or elsewhere, we’re prepared to settle for a low wage as you gain work experience and the confidence to ask for what you want in your career. Mistakenly, many of us assume that salary is really the only part of a job we can attempt to manipulate—when really, there are other factors that can make or break a job.

Normally, other job elements you can negotiate are to do with compensation packages and similar benefits. Whilst these drastically vary according to your experience, job title, and the organisation, the below illustrates some examples you can consider negotiating:

  • Your job starting date,
  • Improved insurances regarding healthcare and retirement,
  • Holiday and other leave,
  • Remote work and similar flexible arrangements,
  • Relocation to another company branch,
  • Various bonuses such as to do with performance,
  • Equity and stock options,
  • Allowances for home-office purposes,
  • Mobile and internet compensation,
  • Professional/career development opportunities,
  • Inclusion in certain work events,
  • Childcare,
  • An improved job title,
  • Other allowances including travel, etcetera.

As illustrated above, there are many factors to consider when negotiating a job offer. You want to reflect on what matters most to you in this stage of your career. Typically, employers will present to you compensation packages either verbally or in writing, alongside salary information. Thinking about negotiating any of the above is a great indication that you’re building skills to ensure you are fairly compensated for your work efforts.


Research the employer & company


Before you dive into negotiating certain aspects of your job offer, you want to go into the conversation with an employer prepared. This means you should take the time to research your potential on-site or remote job by looking into the employer in more detail. There are particular websites, such as Glassdoor, that can help you learn more about employers, including salary information and benefits. 

Additionally, it may be worth reaching out to other business professionals in similar positions to you and learn their earnings. Be cautious to speak to diverse professionals and not just individuals in similar circumstances to you. For example, if you work an IT job, you might want to speak with a business professional who will know strategy techniques for your negotiation. If you’re not actively involved with a professional network, you may want to reach out to old university peers who can help guide your positioning.

Improving your negotiation skills can take some practice, but the end result can be highly rewarding. Essentially, you’re standing up for yourself and your hard-earned skill sets. It’s worth taking the time to practice these skills so that you speak with hiring managers confidently.


Set professional goals 


Another significant aspect to negotiating a job offer is clearly understanding where you are in your career development and what you’re not willing to compromise. This is because when you meet with an employer, you want to be clear in your asks and let them know what you’re looking for in the next on-site or remote job

If you haven’t yet devised certain goals for your professional development, you can begin by writing a list of your personal and professional goals and learn how these complement one another. Aligning professional with personal goals can help you understand what you truly value in your job and what are potential dealbreakers. As a working parent, for example, you might decide that you need a job that provides childcare services. Set these non-negotiable goals aside and remember these before your meeting with an employer.

As mentioned earlier in this article, we may set a lesser bar for ourselves if we are more junior level in our jobs in Malta or elsewhere. Just because you aren’t an expert in the field yet, doesn’t mean you don’t have values and goals. You must remember that in your career, you are your greatest supporter—meaning you should always advocate for what is essential and meaningful to you, whatever the circumstance.


Negotiating your salary


Whilst this article presents numerous factors any professional can negotiate in a job offer, undoubtedly one of the most popular items to consider is your salary. Whilst it can be intimidating to meet with employers and discuss salaries, you may be surprised to learn that many managers expect individuals to negotiate their job offer. This means that negotiation happens frequently and can be worthwhile. 

Firstly, consider negotiating your salary once you’ve received the job offer—and not before it—as in the former scenario, you can prove to employers how you are the best candidate for the on-site or remote job. Plus, by this point, you will already have a good idea of the employer’s expectations. 

Upon receiving the job offer, you may want to take some time to process before going straight into the negotiation. Let the employer know you appreciate their offer and that you’d like a day or two to review it. Ensure that any negotiation talks are verbal—and not written via email, to avoid potential miscommunications.


Negotiation tips


Like in many important conversations, begin your communication with an employer in a neutral zone. Do not come across as though you have something to push, rather, be openly communicative and respectful. Receiving a job offer is an exciting prospect and one worth appreciating. Points to keep in mind before meeting with an employer to negotiate a job offer include:

  • Understand the employer’s perspective and their current needs. For example, are they trying to fill a gap in skills that you can achieve? Bring the conversation to a place where you and the employer share similar needs.
  • Upon identifying these needs, ask the employer what leeway they have in a negotiation. See if you can suggest a halfway point compromise if they do not have much legroom.
  • Ensure you ask what it is you’re after and listen actively to what the employer responds.
  • Guide the discussion into one where you understand the employer’s limitations and use that information to find a compromise that will satisfy your requests.

Whilst not all negotiation talks are successful, they can be a great way to let employers know your career direction and what is meaningful to you in your job in Malta or elsewhere. Remember that throughout your career, you should advocate for what matters to you and support yourself in this development, in order to enjoy a fruitful career over time.

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