Even the most experienced professionals have a hard time negotiating a job offer, so you aren’t alone. The important thing is to be prepared with your expectations beforehand so you can properly advocate for yourself and your worth.
We’ve provided some job offer negotiation strategies and advice so you can confidently accept a job with all your expectations met.
Do Some Research
Before you begin negotiation, you should research the average salaries for your role. Consider the starting salary and weigh it against your experience level. If you are a woman, consider the gender pay gap, in 2020 it still takes women an extra 42 days to earn as much as their male counterparts. Some companies are also transparent about their salary and benefits package in the job description so be sure to read take notes and compare it to their offer.
Familiarize yourself with salary trends and the job market in your area of expertise. You can also research the company more to find out if they have had recent layoffs or financial issues. Maybe the company has recently offered a signing bonus to new hires.
Knowing what situation you are walking into will help you in negotiation and most highly effective job seekers will be prepared with this knowledge before they even apply to a job.
Prepare Your Expectations
Take some time to prepare your expectations before accepting or negotiating the job offer. Are there certain benefits that you must have to take the position like good health insurance or a certain amount of vacation time?
Read through the job offer package, benefits, and compensation package and take notes. This isn’t the time to just skim the information, you should be fully aware of what they are offering before the initial conversation. You may have determined an acceptable salary range before even applying and if this isn’t what they are offering, you should still consider the benefits package and the nature of the work.
The salary can always be negotiated so check out some salary negotiation tips and still go to the meeting with an open mind. Maintain a realistic salary range expectation and don’t push too hard that you throw them off. The hiring manager could surprise you with a significantly better offer, so don’t make any quick decisions before at least one round of negotiation.
If you receive a contingent job offer, you should begin preparing to negotiate as soon as they make the offer. The necessary background and reference checks may take a couple of days or even weeks and you should use this time to review the information given. Don’t begin negotiating until your references and background checks are approved.
At the same time, know what you want and what you are willing to accept at the minimum. If the job offer doesn’t meet your baseline expectations, then you will feel more confident walking away.
Back-Up Your Negotiations with Evidence
If you are coming into the job offer negotiation with expectations for higher pay, more benefits, or other perks like a more flexible schedule, you should always be prepared to back up these requests with your experience, skills, and accomplishments.
Advocate for your strengths and build your case for how you would improve the company’s bottom line. Don’t be afraid to mention your success at previous companies and your most transferable skills. Capitalize on what you are bringing to the table. The company made you an offer for a reason and they might have their heart set on you, so use this to your advantage.
During negotiation, you should always be honest with the hiring manager or potential employer’s representative. If they ask you about other job offers or how much you are interested in the position, be truthful.
Shadiness or false statements may come back to bite you and can hurt your relationship with your negotiating partner. Don’t inflate your past salaries or compensation packages to reach your own bottom line, this can cost you a job offer if you are caught in a lie.
Be prepared for your current employer to make a counteroffer, as well. If you are considering if you should accept a counteroffer instead, be honest with the other potential employer if they ask. Be respectful of their time and don’t continue into unnecessary rounds of negotiation if there is another job offer that you are taking more seriously.
Ask Questions and Listen
Although you are negotiating your job and salary compensation, this conversation isn’t all about you. It is perfectly okay to have expectations and know your worth, but you should also take the time to ask questions and listen to what the company representative has to say.
Approach the conversation with an open mind and work to build an empathic connection. The potential employer chose you for a reason and you don’t want to hurt the relationship by being too aggressive. If there is an element of the salary package that you don’t understand, ask for clarification and if they deny extra vacation days without a stated reason, politely ask why.
If you want to work for this company, you need to understand where they are coming from and know that they likely aren’t out to take advantage of you. But, of course, if you feel that they are even after listening and trying to see their side, then it’s probably time to walk away.
Know When to Make a Decision
After a successful negotiation, you and the prospective employer will make compromises and come to a place where you have enough of your expectations met and they are happy with the offer. Know that it is unlikely for a potential employer to meet every single one of your requests so work with them and know when to make a decision.
Back-and-forth conversations can be exhausting for both of you and it isn’t worth it to fight for minor details if they won’t budge. At the same time, if the job offer lands on less than your current salary or fails to meet your most important expectations, then it’s time to walk away respectfully. If you don’t burn any bridges, the hiring manager may still come back with an offer that reaches your salary target after you initially declined.
A staffing agency like FirstPro can help you navigate the hiring process and prepare for job offer negotiations. You can always benefit from a career expert who knows industry standards and negotiation strategies, so check out our blog on How to Ace a Staffing Agency Interview.
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