If you have received an offer of employment from the consulting firm of your choice, you may still want to negotiate the terms of the offer.
How should you go about doing this?
Use your bargaining power
Your ability to negotiate the terms of your offer depends on how much bargaining power you have. The consulting industry is currently experiencing growth in various markets, and so it may be possible to negotiate a more favorable employment contract.
Whatever the state of the economy, it is worth considering negotiating the terms of your offer. After you accept your offer of employment you will have virtually no bargaining power, and so the time for negotiation is beforehand.
If you are friendly and businesslike then negotiating needn’t create a negative impression, on the contrary, it demonstrates that you have a keen business sense and a healthy level of self confidence.
Obtain written confirmation
You need to obtain written confirmation of all terms that you successfully negotiate.
Terms to negotiate
There are a number of offer terms that you may want to negotiate, these include:
- Office location;
- Start date;
- Starting position;
- Annual leave; and
- Offer response deadline.
1. Office location
To negotiate a change of office location, a first step might be to explain the reason for your request to the recruitment manager. If they agree to look into the matter, make sure you agree on a date to follow up with them.
If your request is turned down, try to identify a person in your target office who can vouch for the transfer. When you find someone, contact them to explain your situation and ask if there’s anything he or she can do to help you. Offer to meet with them in person.
2. Start date
In a weak economy, you may be able to negotiate a later start date. This benefits the firm by allowing them to start paying your salary later than planned.
3. Salary and bonus
Given the strong growth of the consulting industry, it may be possible to negotiate an improved remuneration package.
The best form of leverage is to have another offer that pays more money. If you are an MBA or lateral hire and your previous salary was higher then you can use this as leverage. You may be able to convince the recruiter that you are being undervalued.
4. Starting position
If the job offer is for a position at a lower level than you believe is justified given your qualifications and experience then you can ask for higher starting position. If this doesn’t work, then you might want to ask for a shorter performance review period, which will allow you to prove yourself and get promoted sooner.
5. Annual leave
If you don’t like the amount of annual leave provided, then you might want to try asking for more. If that fails, ask about the firms unpaid leave policy.
6. Offer response deadline
Consulting firms are in a war for talent and can sometimes give applicants an “exploding offer”, which expires within a very short time period.
Exploding offers are designed to pressure applicants to accept an offer as soon as possible in order to minimise the risk that the applicant accepts a more favourable offer from another employer.
If you need an extension to the offer deadline, ask for it. It’s a very common thing to get more time to make a decision.
[For more information on consulting interviews, please download “The HUB’s Guide to Consulting Interviews“.]