Many good candidates going through job boards are working the market and getting more than one job offer in order to leverage a better deal.
Traditionally, candidates thought employers had the upper hand, but now when it comes to negotiating a better offer, the recruitment market is currently short on skills and high on demand resulting in candidates having some room for manoeuvre.
And it is normal to shop around. According to recent research from jobs website CV-Library, half of UK candidates have admitted to accepting multiple job roles, using them as a platform for negotiation with potential employers.
Each job has a variety of different pros and cons and so candidates have to manage their options carefully before negotiating.
So, how should candidates leverage several offers to get the best deal?
Be upfront about your offers
Being in demand is nothing to be ashamed of, it’s commonplace for great candidates to have multiple offers
You need to be upfront with potential companies who may offer you the role. More than likely, a company will appreciate your honesty as, if you’re an in-demand candidate, it makes sense that other companies are pursuing you.
The key is to make sure your preferred choice is aware that you have other interviews or offers but also reassure them that, if an agreement can be reached, that you’d been keen to accept their job offer.
Keep everyone interested
Ensure that all your potential new employers receive the same level of communication and enthusiasm to keep your options open.
Don’t go radio silent on your second and third choices. It’s unlikely that a company will break the bank for someone who isn’t demonstrating a desire to join or their communication is slack. Employers will question whether this is how you will be in employment.
Say thank you
The importance of saying thank you very much applies to the business world too.
If you get what you’ve asked for, it’s important to recognise the flexibility the company has shown. Equally, say thank you to the companies you are turning down and be sure to do so in a professional way.
Stand your ground
Be polite but firm. Stand your ground, cheerfully and politely, always making it clear that you really want the position.
You are effectively reminding a prospective employer that the negotiation skills you’re using are exactly the skills you will be required to use in the job.
Be realistic about your demands
Employers won’t be surprised you want to negotiate on salary, but be prepared to make a strong business case for the salary you are looking for.
You need to persuade the employer that your skills and experience are worth more than their current offer, and that a higher offer is still in line with your current market rate.
Do your research and find out what the typical salary is for your role and location, using current information. This will help you work out how competitive the offer is and whether you should be asking for more.
You need to be assertive, but realistic. Talking about a salary that is too high will make you look out of touch and will mean a negative start to negotiations. Be prepared to meet the employer in the middle or negotiate other benefits to make up the overall package that you need.
Discuss with family and friends
Consider all the things that mean a lot to you; you are going to be spending the majority of your time there
Discuss the pros and cons with people who it will affect — family, partners, friends — to get their view. They will probably cut out the emotion and get you to think about what matters to you most.
Make a list of your demands
Think holistically about what you want from your next role.
The amount of holiday, bonuses and a company car might be important to you.
Is there flexibility on offer so you can you work from home on occasions or can you flex your start end time to help with childminding drops off and pick ups?
Write down what your ideal is and, when your offers come through, you can decide which ones you would like and then you can start your negotiations in line with your checklist.
Make it all about yourself
Focus on your value and the skills you can bring to an organisation.
Companies are unlikely to respond to a plea for more cash if it’s to fund your son’s piano lessons, but they might well appreciate a claim that you are worth more.
Don’t make it all about you. Think about what the hiring manager wants out of the transaction, and try to empathise. If you can identify their needs and talk about how you fulfil them, you’re more likely to get what you want.
Get your offers in writing before negotiation and be careful not to bad-mouth the companies you reject
Don’t bad-mouth the company or job offer you turned down to your peers within the industry.
The fact you considered them means you obviously took them seriously and you never know where the contact you engaged with at the company could turn up in future, potentially at that one job you desperately want.
Take too long to make your mind up
The data from CV-Library also found that 43pc of candidates thought one to two days was an acceptable amount of time to make a company to wait for a decision, with 15.7pc waiting a week.
It’s important not to keep either company waiting for too long. Employers will see any delay in your response as a perceived lack of interest and no employer wants to feel like they’re merely a back-up choice.
While it’s important that you secure the right package, a potential employer wants to recruit you because you want to work for them – not because they are paying the highest salary. Mishandling it could cost you the job altogether.
Pit the companies against each other
Don’t be ruthless or play the employers off against each other – the short-term financial gain will soon wear off if it isn’t the right job.
Done right, negotiation can be a fruitful process which helps you see the types of people you’ll be working with — a process which will inevitably provoke an emotional pull towards one of the offers.
Reveal the other offers at the last minute
Keeping quiet about it may feel like you’re keeping your powder dry, but launching into last-minute negotiations for a better deal is rarely greeted with enthusiasm by potential employers.
Salary expectations are generally discussed at an early stage and you should feel confident about bringing it up if it isn’t. Upping salary demands later in a process can be seen as unprofessional or dishonest.
Make it about money
Never just evaluate the offer based purely on salary, consider long-term opportunities for personal and professional growth.
Think about the cost of career progression, professional qualifications and courses — ensure you negotiate on this as part of your package, be clear on what this means for both parties including your personal commitment to learning.
Tell them they are not your top choice
The key for any candidate is to be careful not to be too up front about negotiations as this puts a potential employer’s back up
It is worth letting the potential employer know that you are seeing other potential suitors but always tell them that they are the first choice; no one wants to be the second choice.
Engaging MCB Civils Executive Search to carry out your recruitment will take the hassle out of filling your roles. Call us today to discuss your needs: 01780 482750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Adapted from The Daily Telegraph 21st October 2016