Back to resources

Top tips for negotiating your contract – get the deal you want

If you’ve been through the interview process and you’ve got a good feeling – or even better, you’ve been offered the job – it’s almost time to celebrate. But there’s more to do than negotiate salary. Make sure you think about your expectations of a new contract so you’re in a good place to get the best deal for you – and, if applicable, your family.

  1. Be brave and go for it

If you’ve gone for a job through a recruitment agency like Ten2Two, they will help you negotiate the best possible salary. But if you’re doing it yourself, stick to your guns and be brave because it IS a negotiation. Remember, the company have selected you and they need your skills.

  1. Be clear of your worth

If you have a salary figure in mind, make sure you also know what your minimum salary would be. You don’t want to be put on the spot and have to pluck a figure from the air. Make this clear at all points of the process.

  1. Think about your cost of living

While you’re thinking about your minimum salary, consider your monthly budget. This might include factoring in travel, parking, childcare costs, after school and holiday clubs.

  1. Ask what the job’s worth

Think about the role in question, regarding responsibility, hours and potential. Measure this against your experience. Lots of job adverts say a ‘competitive salary’ is on offer so it’s important you know what you think the job is worth when preparing to negotiate salary.

  1. Be prepared to ask for more

Jobs can look similar on paper so always ask what the salary range is and value the job based on your experience. Many employers use your last salary as a base guide to what they will offer.  If you’re a returner or chose to take a lower level role previously this can be misleading.  If the new job is a much bigger role don’t be afraid to negotiate upwards.

  1. Consider other benefits and their value

While an employer may not be able to offer a higher salary figure, there may be still room to negotiate other benefits which may have greater value to you than the company. Things like childcare vouchers can save you hundreds of pounds. Every employer must offer a pension now which can help you to make savings, so make sure it’s in the contract.  Are there subsidised lunches, healthcare plans or car allowances? Ask what’s on offer and when they kick in – often it’s after a probationary period.

  1. Talk about holiday allowance

Your contract is about more than just money. The hours you work might also be up for negotiation. Some employers may not be flexible on budget, but they might be able offer you a couple of weeks’ extra holiday (paid or unpaid). If that’s worth a lot to you, now’s the time to ask for it.

  1. Don’t forget to talk flexibility

This is also the time to agree your hours. If you know you’ll be a better worker starting at 9.15 rather than 9am, having completed the school run, arriving in less of a fluster and a rush, then ask for that flexibility. The employer doesn’t have to pay you for that extra 15 minutes, but setting it out in your contract now will save everyone any difficulties that could emerge later on if it isn’t formalised.

  1. Part-time pro-rata rule

People often sign contracts and don’t realise there are slight oddities about part-time working that need addressing first. These include what happens if you don’t work on Mondays and there’s a bank holiday and pro-rata holiday allowance. Make sure the HR department or recruiter has addressed these. If you’re unsure, ask.

  1. When your contract arrives…read it!

It may sound obvious but it’s amazing how many people go straight to job offer and then neglect to read their contract. These can be lengthy with legal wording but there may be something worth checking, a hangover from a previous person’s contract, or something that’s meant for a different group in the company and may not be applicable to you. This is also a good time to check your notice period.

We know that women often don’t negotiate salary as hard as men and that’s part of the problem of the gender pay gap. If you’re using an agency, they should be working hard on that score for you.

Here at Ten2Two, we usually call our candidates (our Members) to say they’ve been offered the role and ask if they accept. Many people are not expecting to be offered the job – often surprisingly so – so it’s definitely worth being prepared. If you think about these issues upfront, you’ll get off to a flying start. Good luck!


4 min read