Episode 09

Before accepting the job offer, Sarah negotiates a few terms of her contract.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. You can also read the transcript.


Marcia: Hi! Welcome to WebWare.

Sarah: Thanks. Nice to see you again.

Marcia: You too. Erm, so you said you wanted to come in and have a chat before you started.

Sarah: Yeah, I just wanted to have a look around and ask a few more questions, if I can.

Marcia: Sure, fire away!

Sarah: Well, I was delighted to receive the job offer.

Marcia: Good. We were delighted to offer it to you.

Sarah: But before I sign the contract there were one or two specifics I wanted to talk about.

Marcia: OK, 'specifics'?

Sarah: Well, there's a pay scale, instead of a fixed salary?

Marcia: Yes, as a new employee you'd be at the lower end of the pay scale.

Sarah: But taking my experience into account ...

Marcia: Well, you haven't had that much experience. We see you as an investment ...

Sarah: But that salary would only be a little more than I'm making now. So, instead of asking for a higher level on the pay scale, I thought this could be compensated by adding certain bonuses. For instance, if I make certain sales targets, or even break them, I would be looking for a good cash payment or stock options in the company.

Marcia: Well, that is something we sometimes offer senior members of staff, but to show good faith I'll provisionally offer you the bonus scheme, but I'll have to OK it with Philip first.

Sarah: That's fine. I also see that there are 25 days' holiday.

Marcia: Yes. That's standard.

Sarah: It's not very much for a high-pressure job, though.

Marcia: I can't offer you any more holiday.

Sarah: No, but I was wondering if we could delay my start date, so instead of starting a week from now, as we discussed, I could start in a month's time?

Marcia: You're a tough negotiator, Sarah!

Sarah: That's one of the reasons you hired me!

Marcia: Yes, of course. OK, I think we can do that. I'll look forward to seeing you in a month and earning those bonuses!

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Language level

B1 English level (intermediate)
B2 English level (upper intermediate)

Submitted by jyoti Chaudhary on Fri, 22/04/2022 - 14:24


Is it common in your area of work to negotiate the terms of a new job, as Sarah did?
yes, it is very common in my area where negotiate the term of a new job as Sarah did. when I was starting my job in my new company I was negotiating my salary and worktime with incentives. according to my experience, I did sales in any place but I'm not punctual at my office that's why I took sufficient time to come in office and late at evening I went my home.

Submitted by Moody on Fri, 25/09/2020 - 20:15

In my area its not common to negotiate the terms of the contract, you can only negotiate about salary but if you were overqualified , you would negotiate other terms

Submitted by Andrea Cabrera on Fri, 14/08/2020 - 17:52

in Mexico it depends on the size on the company but usually in Mexico you can negotiate salary but not holidays

Submitted by ishernandez on Thu, 04/06/2020 - 03:54

In my case, I only could negotiate the starting date but talk about the salary, It was complicated because I had finished my career a few days ago, so, I hadn't enough experience to claim such as a better salary.

Submitted by Dodo Mohamed on Wed, 27/05/2020 - 22:40

Yes, it's common in my field, because every company has its pay scale and incentive schemes so we should negotiate to get a proper offer matching with experiences.

Submitted by JulianoCrispi on Mon, 04/05/2020 - 21:39

I think this kind of negotiation is for small businesses. In big companies you usually have no flexibility to ask for a bonus or ask for a few days off even before starting to work. You might be able to negotiate the pay scale tho.

Submitted by GERARD on Thu, 30/04/2020 - 22:13

Is it common in your area of work to negotiate the terms of a new job, as Sarah did? Yes it is common in particular regarding the start date and the salary. There is very often a wide salary range depending on the company and the experience of the candidate and the compensations can differ from one company to another. So you'd better discuss and negotiate.

Submitted by EddieLuv on Sat, 25/04/2020 - 20:48

It's not so common but, when the right time is come, is really good have a chance to talk about receive a better salary or a promotion.
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Fri, 24/04/2020 - 18:35

Yes. It's really possible.

Submitted by gerardbarrachina on Thu, 23/04/2020 - 19:28

No. I'm a sellerman in a clothes' shop. We earn bonus by the comissions we individually made, but there's no negotiations of the contract that the company gives to us.

Submitted by Linda Yao on Wed, 11/03/2020 - 22:51

I also assume that Sarah can negotiate with the terms because this is a small company. I think big company have standard terms, and it is hard for you to negotiate. In fact, I didn't know who I could negotiate with until I start my job.

Submitted by Linda Yao on Wed, 11/03/2020 - 22:37

What is the difference between pay scale and fixed salary? They look similar to me.

Hello Linda Yao,

A fixed salary is the money which a particular person receives for their work every month and which does not change.

Almost all companies have pay scales, as a director earns more than a lower level employee! However, the pay scale can be based on other variables than merely a person's position in the company hierarchy. For example, a person might be at one level of the scale for the first six months of their employment (a probationary period) and then move up, or might move up once certain targets are reached, such as completing a certain number of tasks or achieving a certain level of success.



The LearnEnglish Team

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Submitted by Rafaela1 on Fri, 25/10/2019 - 15:07

I'm just wondering where Daniel has gone...?

Submitted by Loc Dang on Sat, 14/09/2019 - 16:00

I have the impression that Sarah used to a negotiation! She gives logical arguments to convince her conversational partner. And she seems to know her strongness well. A candidate like her surely gets success!

Submitted by KAYAGA BARBRA … on Wed, 04/09/2019 - 14:26

It's good learning experience have really liked it.

Submitted by A_Ichiro on Sat, 13/07/2019 - 04:16

Sarah is a super negotiator! I definitely can't respond as quickly as she did in English.

Submitted by Vuqar on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 12:48

Marcia and Sarah talked about the job description.