Job Seeker

Contract negotiations: How to get what you deserve

By Procom

staffing agency strategy

Once you've won the candidacy battle, it's time to prepare for a possible salary or rate skirmish.

Because after you agree to the terms of your contract, there's typically no patience for payment renegotiation. Especially if you want to keep the peace between you, your staffing agency and the client. 

And the bargaining table is rife with fierce and experienced corporate conquerors, well versed in contractual combat. So, when you sit down to negotiate your terms of employment, you too, must be wise to the ways of verbal sparing when seeking compensation for your skills.

The next time you sit down over an employment contract, get what you deserve by adding more to your bargaining power with these tips.


1. Know your worth

Whether you're negotiating through your recruiter or directly with a hiring manager, do your research on what the industry standard is for salaries and rates for your role and how much your new employer pays their current staff. This opens the door for negotiating within a reasonable range. "The best course of action is to be up front with your recruiter about what you're looking for. If you're able to tell your recruiter you won't accept less than "x" then they'll be able to match you with an appropriate position with the rate you're looking for," Richard Huntington, a Technical Recruiter with Procom advises. "If you try to go back later and renegotiate, you can really harm your relationship with the recruiter and end client."


2. Set appropriate expectations

Knowing your worth is one thing, but you also need to take into consideration the specific organization you're negotiating with. For instance, a young startup company may not necessarily have as high a budget for contingent labour as an established corporation. Daria Gourianova, a Client Services Associate with Procom explains, "There is a huge difference in even a couple dollars per hour for the client, and they likely already budgeted based on a certain amount. Going back on rates after they are agreed upon makes you look unprofessional and uncommitted." So, do your research, and set your expectations accordingly. 


3. Be comfortable with your number

Confidence is key, and when you appear nervous or uncomfortable with asking for what you're worth, it's a weakness that can be exposed. And you can end up with a compensation package that's less than expected. To bolster your confidence, you can...


3. Build a business case

The quantifiable achievements on your resume helped you get the gig, so you want to use this information as proof of your value. Prepare for the compensation conversation by having your resume, reviews, portfolio, recommendations and other achievements with you. A business case is tangible proof of what your work is worth.


4. Aim high - but be flexible 

Debating dollars can be an unsettling situation for some, so remember: When negotiating the price of your skills, it's similar to when you're haggling over the cost of a home or car. It's always better to start with a number that's slightly higher than what you're really aiming for. It's easier to negotiate down than it is to raise the price after you've already laid the starting point. Recent studies show that new hires who attempted a constructive salary negotiation were perceived more favourably than their lesser brave counterparts, as they were demonstrating the skills that the company hired them for.


5. Know when to back down

Your recruiter will know what their client is willing to pay and should advise you on how best to manage the money ask (and you can choose to take such sage advice or not). However, whether you're working with a staffing agency or on your own, contract negotiation sometimes means you also need to know when it’s time to back down or risk losing the offer. It's important to be upfront with your number, and if you can't come to the financial terms, it's okay to walk away before you get too far in the hiring process.


6. Meet with a lawyer

An employment lawyer is a great asset. He or she will be able to point out potential pitfalls you may not pick up on in your contract, providing you with the opportunity to ask for any amendments. Termination clauses are perfect examples. Every employee is entitled to reasonable notice upon termination, but there are myths and then there are the actual laws pertaining to dismissal. For example, no one is guaranteed one month of salary for every year of employment.


7. Write it down

Here’s one rule to remember: If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen. Get everything you discuss put down in writing. Sometimes, a request can’t be accommodated right away, but your employer is willing to revisit the ask in six months. Ensure these types of things are also documented along with your contract, so you aren’t met by a surprised manager when you come back with your ask a few months down the road.


8. Look for the clauses

Here’s the big one: If you're entering full-time employment territory or a long-term contract, do you have any probationary clauses in your contract? If so, you can expect zero job security. Whether it’s the typical 90 days or more, try to discuss it. If you don’t, you can be let go at any time or for any reason within that time frame—Regardless of your performance.

The art of negotiation can be a beautiful thing -- especially when you secure what your skills deserve. Are you working with a staffing agency to find your next IT job? 

Apply to an IT job today!

by Procom

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