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Negotiating a Job Offer

So you’ve received an offer for the job you really want and everything about the role and the opportunities it will bring have ticked all the boxes. However there is one last thing you’re not comfortable with; the salary is lower than you expected.

What will you do? Every situation in Pharma and Healthcare is unique, however there are similarities you can learn about and leverage if you’re really not happy with the offer you’ve been given. Let’s take a look at your options;

Make sure you’ve got a clear idea of the remuneration range before you get an offer

We discussed this principle in our most recent blog, highlighting that money isn’t the most important factor, however it’s usually the last thing to be agreed.

Therefore before you get to offer stage, and ideally before you even apply for the job, you should have a clear idea of the potential pay range the employer is willing to consider.

If the offer is at the top end of the range then negotiations are going to be tricky and you might need to be realistic about the likelihood of the employer breaking their desired pay scale to bring you on board.

Don’t negotiate just for the sake of it

If you’ve been offered something which you’re genuinely happy with then don’t get greedy. Thank them for the offer and tell them how excited you are to get started. The hiring manager will see through you straight away if you’re just negotiating for the sake of it and it won’t lead to a good start to life with the new company. They might even withdraw the offer which is definitely not a good outcome, so think carefully before you start this process off.

Leverage your recruiter

We also mentioned in the last blog that your recruiter can be a great resource when it comes to negotiating the package. Not only will they likely have a stronger relationship with the hiring manager (as they will have dealt with them more than you in the past) they can also provide credible comparisons between your skill set compared to the rest of the candidates in the market right now. This does go both ways though so if your recruiter is telling you not to push the negotiations beyond a certain point then you need to take this advice as the chances are there’s another suitable candidate willing to take the role for the salary on offer.

Consider the whole deal and discuss multiple issues at the same time

If however you’re genuinely disappointed with the offer and you want or even need to negotiate then you should really consider the whole deal on offer and be prepared to negotiate multiple issues at the same time.

Start by writing down your desired package line by line then match this up to the offer to help compare the full package. You should also rank each item in terms of importance to you and choose which to focus on within the negotiations.

The final stage before you negotiate is to sense check your expectations. Again your recruitment consultant can really advise you here as they’ll know what’s negotiable, however nine times out of ten it will likely only be your base salary that you’ll be able to negotiate. This is the time to get things agreed to make sure you’re happy and this new job is going to work for you.

Be clear on why you would like more (and why it’s important to you)

You can’t just ask for a bigger number without rationalising and expect the right response. If you have logic and emotion in your reasoning then it becomes much easier to see things from your perspective. For example you might be waiting on the results from your latest pay review and are fully expecting your basic salary to rise by x%.

Let them know you really want the job!

Taking this stance means the employer knows you really want this job so they’ll know the deal is close. This is a good position to be in as everyone has already put so much into this so it would be a huge wasted opportunity if you both had to start all over again. And after all who doesn’t like ‘sealing the deal’?

Keep the big picture in mind

If you find you’re not getting the responses you want then you need to simply keep your cool and more importantly your sense of perspective. If you’re close to the number you want and genuinely believe this job is going to do more for your long term career prospects than your current role then it could be worth accepting the offer and taking the plunge. If however you think the offer will continue to bug you if you ‘sell yourself short’ then you need to hold your ground, knowing that the chances are there’s another job out there which could pay you more if this one doesn’t.

The other consideration is if you’re out of work now (or about to become out of work) then you have a different set of thoughts to consider. On one hand your current salary is actually zero (or about to be), so unless you’ve got a list of job offers with your previous salary on offer to fall back on then take care with falling into the trap of expecting to be paid what your last role paid you. It doesn’t always work like that.

If negotiations don’t work now ask them how to get to where you want to be

If all else fails in your quest to negotiate a higher rate of pay but you really want this job then the final thing to do is ask the hiring manager how you can get to where you want to be.

For example, ask them about the objectives you’ll have to work to and when your first pay review will be.

Handle with Care

However, remember that all job offers are precious and should be handled with care. Being in Sales and Marketing means that negotiating is an accepted part of what you do, but so is being perceptive and knowing what a good offer looks like!

Good luck!

If you’d like to know more and arrange a confidential discussion to explore your career options, please email your CV over to or call us on 0131 553 6644.

Clare Jones
Senior Recruitment Consultant; North West / North Wales / Yorkshire