How to negotiate a better job package

By Rachel Poon, Consultant – Finance & Accountancy, Links International Hong Kong

As specialists in recruitment in Asia, we understand that the job market is very competitive for job seekers in Asia.

While you need to be realistic about your demands and expectations, there are still ways to communicate your wants and needs to your potential employer. Here are some ways you can prepare yourselves for the job search, provided that you have genuine interest in the job, and also that you have proven yourself to be a strong candidate for the role.

I have spoken to candidates and friends about negotiating for a better package and sometimes it is less of a strategic negotiation than people think it is. The truth is, organisations need openings filled and both HR and recruiters want to make that happen. Most of the time, it is a matter of getting the budget approved, and they are working hard to get you what you want.

Here are some things you can do to make the negotiation process smoother:

Be worth their while

This does not only refer to your professional experience and technical skills, but also to your attitude: show that you appreciate your potential employer’s time and effort, and be nice throughout the whole process. Some candidates think it comes down to some kind of power play and often all that does is make you a less pleasant person to be around. Believe it or not, it can be hard to fight for someone you don’t like very much!

Manage your own expectations

It is very exciting to know that you are about to be made an offer, but don’t let the rush blur your judgement. Be realistic and don’t take the extras for granted. Every company has a budget; if they are able to stretch it for you, it is because they went the extra mile (remember to be grateful!), not because they owe it to you.

Pick your battles

Most people would love a job that is easy, pays well, offers great work-life balance and maybe even has exceptional company benefits, but we simply can’t have it all. When it comes to negotiating for a better offer, sit down and list out your ‘wants’ vs your ‘needs’. What are the deal breakers? How do they measure up to everything else that the job offers? Everyone has different priorities and it can range from career development opportunities, to salary, to work-life balance and even office location. Be fair in measuring up the different factors. For example, someone with a young child might think that a high salary is their top priority, but when it turns out that work-life balance here would be better than most jobs, and the office is close to their home, this could be a better opportunity after all. Remember to look at the bigger picture and reevaluate.

Help them help you

As mentioned, a lot of times offers revolve around getting approval in order to extend it; in other words, justifying your ‘worth’. Have you prepared your pay slips and reference letters? If you are asking for a higher salary because you consistently received high bonuses, have you sent the bonus letters over? If you claim you are underpaid and that this doesn’t reflect your continued successful work performance, make sure you can back up those claims. Don’t expect HR to go the extra mile on their own if this is important to you – show them you don’t take their efforts for granted.

Sometimes it can feel like you are doing all the right things but it just doesn’t work out. How has your experience been when it comes to offer negotiations?

Links International specialises in the recruitment of top talent across Asia. Let us help take your career to the next level – contact us now and reach your potential.