You’ve landed a job offer, but it’s less than you expected. To seal the deal, you’ll need to learn how to successfully negotiate with the employer.
If you’re intimidated by the idea of negotiating for a higher salary or more vacation days from your employer – don’t be. Employers expect successful candidates to negotiate the details of the position, provided the negotiation is reasonable and performed in a civil manner.
If the job offer falls way below your expectations, negotiation is probably pointless. But if it’s relatively close, here are a few tips to help bring your job search to a successful resolution.
Carefully Review the Job Offer
Before you begin to craft a counter offer, take the time to carefully review the written offer you receive from the employer. Although salary is the primary consideration for most jobseekers, benefits and paid vacation time should also be evaluated. If the offer seems low, you will need to assess whether the employer is being cheap or if your expectations are not in line with industry standards.
Identify Job Wants vs. Job Needs
After you have taken a closer look at the employer’s initial offer, it’s time to be honest with yourself and separate wants from needs. Although an extra $20k a year would be great, what is your bottom line salary requirement? Which benefits can you absolutely not live without? By separating wants from needs, you can begin to establish your parameters in the negotiation process.
Craft a Counter Offer
We recommend submitting a counter offer in writing. A written counter offer creates a record of your requests and is usually worded better than a face-to-face negotiation. Above all else, your counter offer should be precise and explain why you are asking for additional salary or benefits (e.g. the employer’s offer falls below the position’s average compensation level).
Expect the Employer to Counter Again
It’s common for employers to meet new hires somewhere in the middle. So if $55k per year is your bottom line salary requirement, make sure your counter offer is for at least $58k to give the employer a little wiggle room. It’s also important to remember that negotiating with a potential employer isn’t the same as negotiating with a used car dealer. At most, negotiations shouldn’t last more than one or two rounds.
Negotiate Honestly with Employers
The golden rule in negotiating job offers is to be honest. Don’t use a competing job offer as a bargaining tool unless you have actually been offered a position at another company. If the employer discovers you’ve been dishonest, you can forget about negotiation – your job offer will be rescinded immediately.