How do I negotiate a job offer?

How do I negotiate a job offer?

How do I negotiate a job offer?

Hi, I’m Janet Granger, answering the question: I’m talking to a company now about a job offer – how do I negotiate with them and accept? 

First of all, I’ve added a few links below about how to negotiate (in general), because negotiating a first job, or any salary, is the same in many industries – not just marketing. Take a look at those for general advice about negotiation. 

Before you even started with them, in the screener or an earlier conversation, they may have asked you about salary. I hope that you looked at Glassdoor and you did all your research, and you know that salaries vary a lot, depending on location. The salary expectations you can have oftentimes will be dictated by where you are. In the current post-pandemic work-from-home scenario – if you are working outside a city – sometimes the salary offering may reflect that you don’t live within a city. 

I’m not saying it’s fair or that it’s good, I’m just sharing that I’m seeing this. Sometimes, salaries are much more about where you live, and if you’re not commuting and working in a major metropolitan area, they may be lower. 

Whatever it is, and whatever research you’ve done, my advice is to decide what your “number” is. Once you’ve found out what the going rate in your area is for that job position, decide what you’re worth and what you want for that salary. Pick that number and stick to it. 

It’s a number – not a range. A number: $40,000, $45,000, $50,000 – $60,000. Whatever it is –  that’s your number. And if anyone asks you, you say, “I’m looking for a position that pays $50,000 and I’m also looking for health benefits” (or whatever else you’re looking for.) 

From what I’ve heard from HR (Human Resource) specialists and recruiters, it’s not good if you waffle. They want you to be confident, so they can present you – and you’re better off getting what you want by being confident.

When you’re in the process of the negotiation – let’s say they’ve said, “here’s the offer – here’s what it pays.” Always smile, be polite and pleasant. Because even in the business world, people have emotions and this is just part of the job, in terms of dealing with you and negotiating with you. So let’s make it as pleasant for everyone as possible. 

If you want the job, you want to get to the goal – and you want to present yourself as being positive and a team player and wanting to get to the goal, too. (Either you will or you won’t or you’ll get close enough, or not). 

For example, you’re told the position pays $5,000 or $10,000 less than what you’re asking for – if it’s something that you are willing to negotiate on, you can say, “Well, hopefully we can work something else out – and we can come up with a package that works for both of us.” 

Remember that you have more power right now than they do, because they want you. (Typically, a company will only make one offer to one person at a time; they don’t make an offer to two people for the same position.) So this is as much leverage as you’re ever going to have. If you’re positive and you tell them what you might be willing to give up – or what you might be willing in to do in terms of money – and can get compensation from them in some other way – perhaps a signing bonus – or something else that you feel is compensatory for you – it’s all good.

Once you are given an offer, I want you to know there’s a clock that starts – from that moment on. 

Companies want you, as an employee coming in, to be really excited about the job. If you don’t show that you are – if that excitement doesn’t translate into saying, “Yes, that package will work for me – let’s start – what do I need to do to go from here? What do I need to sign?” It immediately makes them nervous. 

If you delay that process, the longer you delay, the lower their enthusiasm for you is going to be. The reason is that – having been on the other side of this, I can tell you that – as a hiring manager – you’re a human being. You want other people to be as excited about you (or your company) as you are about them. 

So once you’ve made an offer, if the person takes their time, it makes you nervous – and less excited about them. That’s just human nature. There’s nothing you can do about that. 

If you need time to think about an offer – take it – and just say, “I’m going to need the weekend to think about this. This could mean some big changes in my life.” Maybe you have someone else you need to talk to – a spouse, or a significant other – maybe there are considerations in terms of your family situation. Whatever it is, be very upfront and say, “I’m going to need a few days to think about this.” 

That’s fine to do – and tell them when you’ll have a decision (by Wednesday, by next Friday, whatever it is). And then give them your decision on that date. That’s expected as a courtesy. 

On the other hand, If you’re waiting on another company’s offer – or if you want to leverage this offer internally, with your current company, then what I suggest is this: the second you get an offer in writing, you make it clear with your current company (or the other company you’re negotiating with) that you’ve been made on offer that meets your requested package needs. 

If (and only if) the following is true, say to your current company – or the other organization you’re talking to: “I really want to work with you – I prefer you over (this other company) – if you can match that package, I’ll stay (or I’ll come to you).” 

Now – I recommend that you always do things in integrity. Don’t manipulate people. If you say this – and then they do it (that is, they match your package), you’re obligated to go with them (your current company or the competing company). 

Please realize that, if you use another job to leverage your current position – and you stay – your company will expect more of you. Because now you’ve leveraged yourself. 

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do this – it’s all good and all is fair in business. Just remember that you want to be professional and “in integrity” every step of the way. 

Finally, remember that time’s not on your side. The faster you can make a decision, the better off you’ll be (in terms of all parties involved) and in terms of everyone feeling that you’re a person of integrity. 

Make sure you share your decision in a timely way for all parties. My advice to you is always act with integrity – tell people when you’ll be getting back to them – and then get back to them on that date. 

I’m Janet Granger, answering the question: I got a job offer – how do I negotiate and what do I do, in terms of accepting that offer? 

Links for negotiating job offers and salary:

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