The negotiation of a contract is the process of determining the terms of a written agreement. Normally, it's a conversation between two parties, during which you will discuss different aspects of the contract and eventually agree on its terms.
The goal of negotiating for yourself after a job offer is to leverage your advantages. It’s obvious you want career fulfilment but it’s also important for you to be fairly compensated. In reality, finding a new job is only half the battle - securing a decent employment package is the other half. In any negotiation, the goal is to try and come to an agreement that is in the best interests of both parties involved.
The question is, ‘’how do you negotiate an employment contract effectively?’’ We've compiled some tips below to help you get started.
Take a realistic approach
A good negotiation strategy begins with understanding what skills you bring to the table, so you can leverage them to negotiate a better contract. Are you an expert in workflow who can create a new, more efficient process? Are you in a position to attract a lot of new clients?
You know your worth but it's important to demonstrate it to your future employer too, in order to ensure that they value you equally.
Don’t overplay the competition
Job seekers often state that another organisation has offered a better deal or that their current employer has made a counter offer and will use that as a bargaining tool. In certain circumstances, this leverage may work to your advantage in that it makes you appear to be a hot candidate. However, if you appear to be playing off against competitors, it may put the hiring managers off.
Be clear about your priorities
Outline your priorities at the beginning of your discussion. Make sure to hear what the other party has to say as well. It may turn out that you and your future employer have similar goals and values, which will make the whole process much easier. You may not agree on all points, but if you know each other's priorities, you can reach a fair compromise.
Consider the alternatives
Make a list of alternative options that you might settle for under your priorities. Only bring them up if the other party is challenging what you've already presented. Keep your stance strong by mentioning alternatives at the right time. That way you will be able to remain consistent and hopefully achieve the middle ground.
Don't focus solely on your salary
Employment contracts are often thought of solely as documents that spell out the amount of money you'll receive, but there are many other factors to consider. Don't forget to factor in perks like bonuses, benefits, and flexibility to your new position when negotiating a contract.
Keep your lifestyle in mind. How many vacation days is your prospective employer offering you? Are you able to negotiate a stronger title? There are many benefits and perks that go beyond salary that can make you happy at your future job, so don't focus entirely on the numbers.
Remember that everything can be negotiated
Don't forget that the reason you are negotiating is because there are so many variables at play. Therefore, don't think of anything as permanent until you have signed an official agreement with the other party.
Ensure everything you've negotiated is in writing
No matter how strong the connection you feel you've made with your future employer during contract negotiations, nothing is binding unless it's inked. It is important to protect yourself in a contract negotiation, and one of the best ways to do that is to make sure that everything you discuss is guaranteed in writing before you accept the job offer.
Be prepared to walk away
Your contract negotiation skills may not produce the desired result all the time and there will be times when you need to walk away. It is helpful to plan ahead so that you know what you can and cannot accept. If it comes to calling it a day, thank hiring managers for their time and move on to a better opportunity if they can't meet your financial or other needs, and show no signs of bending on the elements you value most.