How NOT to Negotiate a Job Offer

CVs have been tailored and read; diaries have been coordinated and interviews aced; you’ve fallen into professional love.

The hard part is over.

So why, after all this, do people consistently screw up the job offer? Here are all the things that go wrong, and how to stop them:

Money, money, money:

It makes the world go round, and for some reason, totally normal people turn into covetous Gollum-like creatures when it comes to negotiating a salary.

  • Employers: If it takes an extra thousand pounds to get the great candidate, just pay it. You’ve committed to them, you believe in their ability to increase your revenue and help your brand. Now put your money where your mouth is.
  • Candidates: Be realistic. A £10,000 salary hike is not likely. Weigh up what they’re offering financially and what they’re offering in career prospects. You’ve also got to forget all the perks you got with your old employer: just because they paid for your travel doesn’t mean that your next boss has to.

The bigger picture:

Our obsession with money can blind us to the bigger picture. Happiness, culture fit, career prospects and business potential are all factors that are as important as salary.

  • Employers: It’s not the end of the world if they haven’t worked at a big brand or have 4 and a half years experience rather than 5. Intelligence, acumen and personality can’t be taught and are far more precious commodities than experience.
  • Candidates: OK, so it might not have the fancy job title you want to impress your friends with. And you were really looking for an extra grand a year. But look at the potential! A job is more than a salary and you need to think about where it can lead you, what you can learn and who you can meet.

The big sell:

You know how great you are. But have you proven it? That goes for both candidates and employers. There are tons of great opportunities out there and top talent can pick and choose.

  • Employers: You may love your company, but not everyone will. It’s a candidate-led market these days and simply offering someone a job isn’t enough anymore. People need to buy into you as a manager and into your company. They need to get the vision and how it will benefit them and their career. Don’t forget that you’re selling to the candidate as much as they’re selling to you.
  • Candidates: If you haven’t sold yourself well you’re not going to get what you deserve (or worse, be relegated to second choice). Make sure you’ve responded to their feedback and proved your worth.

Going behind the back of the recruiter:

It may feel easier to cut out the middleman, but it’s one of the worst things you can do. Yes, recruitment consultants get a bad rap, but it’s in their interests to reach a positive solution for both parties.

  • Employers: Your recruiter knows the candidate’s current package, their salary expectations and what they really want from their new job. The probability is that the candidate has been more brutally honest to the recruiter than you, making your consultant better placed to talk money. They are also expert negotiators – use them to your advantage.
  • Candidates: Think you can get a little extra out of the employer by going direct? Think again. It just makes you look sneaky and unprofessional.


This is one of the most overlooked areas of the hiring process. All the work that’s been put into crafting a package and selling the company can be undone during a candidate’s notice period.

  • Employers: You’ve found your dream candidate at the right price. And then don’t speak to them again until their first day. Employers underestimate the importance of onboarding: give them a call to tell them how happy you are they’re joining; invite them for drinks after work. Otherwise you run the risk of them changing their mind or being tempted back by their current employer.
  • Candidates: It’s a no brainer that if you’re invited to meet the team you go. But if you’re not asked don’t just sulk, onboard yourself! Ask your contact if you can pop over for a coffee one lunchtime. It will help you look forward to starting and ease those first day nerves.


Job offers don’t need to be painful experiences. Greed, desperation and foolhardiness can jeopardise a perfect match. If you just lift your head out of the numbers and engage your critical faculties you will see that there are more important things than a travel allowance. Just as long as no one does anything stupid your new relationship can blossom into something beautiful.

By Kayte Ferris

Kayte Ferris is the Marketing Manager at digital recruitment experts, Beringer Tame. Beringer Tame specialise in nothing but online marketing and ecommerce jobs, and have been ferreting away in their little niche for 10 years.