Sangeeta, an experienced professional, was thrilled when she recently joined a new job with a higher designation and a lot of expectation on the huge pay hike which she had negotiated. However she was completely stumped with the first salary credit in her bank account. She didn’t waste a second to cross-check the company’s offer terms and the fine print did not disclose the deductions in her first payslip. Moreover, on the contrary, it had disclaimers that covered any adjustment to net pay under the garb of applicable policies of the company. The paltry pay hike in hand was a shocker and she instantly regretted to have made the switch!
Do you think Sangeeta stood any chance to now negotiate her salary with her new employer? What made it worse for her was that the HR recruiter, who had negotiated with her, had left the company in the intervening period! This was certainly not a savoury situation for Sangeeta. Coming to think of it now, Sangeeta realized that even if the recruiter had still been around, what would have stopped the recruiter from denying any such verbal conversation during the hiring process.
Most candidates are on the seventh heaven when they learn they have cracked the interview. They relent easily at this critical juncture and apart from negotiating the pay hike percentage, they rely on the recruiter’s verbal assurances and commitments. The question remains whether such a hike in gross salary actually translates to a corresponding increase in the candidate’s current take home salary?
Take a look at the following aspects to unearth the unknown elements:
- Salary Structure: The candidate should not be overwhelmed with the success at the technical rounds of the interview. The prospective company makes an offer only to those candidates which it feels are suitable for the open position. Hence, every selected candidate has the right to ask for the salary structure of the company. This includes the items declared as part of the offer and other items which are not clearly visible. For example, the candidate may be interested in buying a new car on company lease, which he believes may lead to tax savings. Imagine if the candidate discovers, after joining, that the company does not have a car lease policy!
- Additional Costs: The cost to company or CTC is specified in the offer letter. However, other costs which can reduce the take home salary are rarely specified at the outset. For example, group medical insurance may be available for only select members (like spouse and two children) or at a cost to be borne by the employee. Another example is that of transport facilities, chargeable at a flat rate or on usage basis, which adds to the employee’s costs. In these Covid times, it may not be uncommon for an organization to remove any subsidized facilities or services, which may add to a new employee’s expenses.
- Take Home Salary: This is the ultimate ask for any prospective employee. However, there is reluctance on both sides to address this. Even if the candidate gathers sufficient courage to ask that question, the recruiter simply stifles the same by giving vague explanations like ‘take home salary is subject to candidate’s tax savings’. In that case, the candidate should probe a little further and firmly ask for the net figure without any tax saving declarations. Most recruiters tend to brush aside this question. The fact remains that it is not impossible for either the recruiter or even the candidate to do the math. If the recruiter is unwilling to do it, then the candidate should do it and send the calculations across to the recruiter for validation.
- Acceptance with Conditions: Once an offer is rolled out, the recruiter generally puts pressure on the candidate to forthwith give written acceptance. If there is any gap in the written offer and the candidate’s understanding from verbal discussions with the recruiter, the candidate should seek clarifications. If the recruiter’s clarifications are evasive or unsatisfactory, the candidate can capture the verbal discussions in his or her written acceptance of the offer. In fact, the candidate can go a step further and make his or her acceptance conditional to the verbal discussions as well as the take home salary calculated above. It must be remembered that contracting is a two-way process consisting of an offer and acceptance, so a contract is complete only when it is accepted. In case of employment, validity of contract will depend on the acceptance of the offer by the candidate.
It is important that the above aspects are clearly spelled out so that the candidate has ample opportunity to make an informed choice before accepting the offer. This approach can be very effective to take errant recruiters to task in the event of a heartbreak on receiving the first salary. If Sangeeta had done the above due diligence, she would have had the requisite documentation to raise her concerns with the company and seek suitable redressal of her issues.