If you've received a job offer, congratulations! Now is the time to assess – and, if necessary, negotiate – the offer. Read the information below and stop by the Center for Career Development during walk-in hours to get some advice on how to handle and respond to the offer.
Once you receive an offer, thank the employer and ask for time to consider the offer. This is your chance to evaluate how well the offer fits with your values, skills, interests, personality, and living requirements. Rank order what criteria are most important to you and examine how well the position and organization match your criteria. This may include:
Only enter into negotiations if you plan on accepting the offer if your request is approved. Employers expect to negotiate with potential employees. In a recent survey cited in the Wall Street Journal, 90 percent of human resources professionals say that job candidates can negotiate their salary. The key to negotiating an offer is
Research the market value of the job, taking into account the geographical location and the level of the job. There are many resources out there for finding realistic salary expectations.
Consider your skills, education, experience, and accomplishments. After getting to know the company by reading company literature and talking to employees, be prepared to recite your list of attributes! Match your skills to what you researched about the company goals.
The Golden Rule of salary negotiation is to avoid talking money until you have a job offer. Make them want you first. The power in negotiations is with the employer until they make you an offer. At that time, the power shifts in your favor. This is the time to negotiate. Do not talk about salary unless the employer brings it up. If salary is brought up before you get an offer
The object here is to not directly answer their questions about your salary requirements, and instead, focus the conversation on your fit for the position. You do not want to be ruled out prematurely. Have you ever bought something you couldn't afford? If they are sure you're the person for the job, they may be willing to pay more than they planned for the position. Practice saying these deflecting phrases until you are comfortable:
The object here is to get them to name their range first so you know what ballpark they are in. Try phrases such as:
When asked what salary you expect, you could simply answer "comparable to market value." If you are forced to say a number, give a ballpark range slightly above market value. Go for the top mark of the range. (You need to have done your research by now.) Something like: "Similar positions would pay ___ range, but let's clarify the duties and responsibilities of this job and make sure I'm the person you want."
After you have reflected on the offer and before you negotiate, clarify with yourself what you want, which points you want to negotiate, and have a clear rationale for asking for more. Know in advance your "walk away" point – the point at which you will say no to the offer if your criteria are not met. Also know what it will take for you to accept the offer.
When you discuss the offer, begin by thanking them again for the offer. You can start by clarifying any questions you had. If you have clear criteria in mind, you can state a counter offer. Career expert Don Asher offers a more general response to a salary offer: "I really had in mind more than that. What can we do?" As long as you negotiate respectfully, the employer is unlikely to rescind the offer. If they simply say no to your counter offer, then the ball is back in your court to decide if you will accept their original offer.
Numerous other benefits of the job can be negotiated, not just salary. Some of the many other negotiable areas include: