Career in NGO's
Career in Development Sector

Negotiating a Job Offer

You’ve proven that you are qualified for the position during the interview process and the organization wants to bring you on board. Getting till this stage is crucial and you’re now almost through with the process. However, what comes next is an important phase of landing that perfect job (with the desired compensation).

Typically, the negotiation phase is dreaded by a lot of people. However, being prepared with the right information and negotiating skills is crucial in ensuring that you get what you’re worth. So, to start off with, know what you’re worth. This involves understanding average pay rates of the industry, organizations and roles that you’re pursuing. A quick search on websites like Glassdoor or PayScale could be a good place to start. Another important aspect of this process involves matching your experiences and goals with the job and its responsibilities.

At this stage, you will most likely have gotten a better understanding of the organization and what your responsibilities will be, so you should have assessed whether it is a true fit for you. Asking for some time to think about an offer is completely fair which could give you time to assess everything.

Some reports suggest having an outline of what you have to offer to the organization as well as understanding what you will gain (it goes both ways). Experts also suggest having in mind the terms beyond which you would be unwilling to negotiate, like the lowest salary range. However, it is important to keep in mind that most job experts suggest avoiding being the first one to say a number. In fact, the saying, “the first person to bring up money, loses” is commonly used in this context.

However, there might be situations where the recruiting manager pushes you for your salary expectations in which case experts suggest that you should answer in a manner that does not lead you to give a figure right away.

You could either mention that you’re confident that the organization will give whatever is appropriate for someone with your experience or turn the question back, asking what range they had in mind. If you are pushed further, mentioning a range instead of a specific number is recommended (Example: I would anticipate making between Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 35,000 per month). While negotiating, it is important to point out how you would create value and contribute to the organization.

In the case of non-profit organizations, wages will most likely be lower. This makes it all the more important for you to carefully consider not just the monetary compensation, but also what else you could gain from working at that organization. Be sure to consider what or how much is worth losing and where you would draw the line.

In terms of the issues being negotiated, the salary is not the only matter that should be discussed. Other items such as starting datesmedical insurancevacation timework schedulemoving expenses and job responsibilities should also be discussed.

It should be noted that working in the non-profit sector can often involve a significant amount of responsibilities where boundaries might not be as clearly drawn as in the corporate sector. Working across departments and on a range of different issues is common. Thus, maintaining a degree of openness is important and something that should be given careful consideration.

In some non-profit positions, particularly those based in developing countries, it is also important to discuss accommodation and travel support. Having discussed these issues, it is advisable to have everything in writing from the manager in order to avoid any confusion in the future.

As with the job interview, the negotiation phase in an important aspect that requires careful researchthought and practice. If you have the option, having a mock interview and practicing your negotiating skills with a friend or family member could prove to be beneficial. Lastly, while it is important to know your worth and negotiate, it is also equally important to use your judgment and know when to stop negotiating.


Kesang Chungyalpa

Kesang Chungyalpa received her B.A. in International Relations from the College of Wooster in the U.S.While studying there, she examined the role of self-help groups on local food security for her senior thesis. With a passion for international development, Kesang's professional experience includes working with various organizations, including the United Nations, Pact and Bhutan Foundation in Washington D.C. and the Deshpande Foundation in Karnataka.