How to Negotiate a Job Offer

You did it! You received a job offer. Now what? How do you make sure you get the best terms you can without alienating your future boss?

1. Make sure your initial response is positive, even if you think the offer is horrible. Your first words to any job offer should be positive. “I look forward to the possibility of working with you” is a good general response.

2. Take time to consider the offer. You should already have a sense of what you’re looking for: For example, are you willing to take a lower than average compensation package for a more flexible work schedule? These are choices that should have influenced what company and organizations you applied to in the first place. (see How to Figure Out What Job You Want for more about choosing wisely).

When faced with an actual offer, though, review your priorities. What flexibility do you have? What aspects of the offer need improvement? We face issues in the US that you might not in other countries, such as health benefits and vacation time. Know your market and your industry and what’s normal to expect from the company making the offer.

What do you say to get the time you need? “I’d love to think about this to make sure I understand your offer fully” is always good. “I’d like to organize my thoughts and get back to you with questions. Would that be ok?” also works.

3. Trust your recruiter, especially if he or she is getting paid based on your first-year base compensation. If that is the case, your interests are naturally aligned. If your recruiter is working through a retained-search agreement (getting paid a set fee), then you will want to push him or her a bit more to negotiate a fair salary on your behalf. In some instances, the recruiter will let you negotiate directly. Much depends on the profession and the agreement the recruiter has with the company.

It never hurts to ask if you can negotiate for yourself once you get this far in the process if you trust your own bargaining skills.

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4.  Don’t quite have a solid offer yet because they don’t want to name the first number? Consider naming your salary for yourself. Naming the first number might just work in your favor according to recent research.

5. Still don’t want to name the first figure? Consider saying “I know you’ll be fair with your offer” if the company is pushing for an exact figure from you.

Looking for more information about negotiating a job offer? Check out this article from HR World and this article from US News.

Are you happy with how you negotiated your current salary and how did you do it?


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