Chris Aukland is the managing director of specialist recruitment agency Ambition and is responsible for the growth and management of the Hong Kong business. He has 15 years’ consulting experience in the UK and Asia.
Re-negotiating a role at a company is always easier with a foot in the door
I have spent 15 years working as a graphic designer, but for personal reasons the last three years I’ve been working part-time at a software firm. Now I’d really like to get back to full-time work and secure a position at the company, but am unsure how to negotiate this with the head of department. How can I best propose a change in my current contract, without compromising the relationships I’ve developed at the firm? I’d also like to enter the conversation with some bargaining power.
The other good news is that for talented graphic design professionals, especially those with strong web design skills and a track record of success, there are some excellent career opportunities in Hong Kong.
Firstly, given you are currently working at the organisation, before entering any discussions I would prepare well in advance as your best chance of negotiating a full-time role and associated pay rise lies in proving to your employer over a period of time your value and worth to the business. Ideally, you will have already been doing this in your part-time role over the past three years. If this is the case, make sure you have written down your key achievements, results and benefits you have delivered to the business over that period of time.
It is important to position yourself as a high-performing, valuable employee who would be difficult to replace. You can then negotiate from a position of strength by highlighting how, if you worked full-time in your role, the benefits and potential results you could bring to the business over the next few years.
I would also recommend knowing the market value of a full-time role. To gauge your value, read market-research reports to determine the typical salary levels based on your industry, profession and level of experience, and speak to professionals in the industry.
Ensure you are very clear about how you want to present your arguments, as rehearsing a convincing bid will increase your chances of success. Make sure you have in mind an ideal figure for the full-time role you are looking for, as well as a minimum you would be willing to accept. Then practice your arguments over and over.
Finally, remember that negotiating a new role or pay rise is dependent on many factors, some of which could be outside the influence of your manager. Be prepared to discuss alternatives or perhaps set targets to ensure a full-time role or pay rise is related to improved performance.
In any meeting, it is also important to remain calm and professional and not expect an immediate answer. Always thank your manager for their time to show your appreciation for their efforts on your behalf.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as With a foot in the door, you’re halfway to full-time.