How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Catherine Tabuena
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Negotiating a new job offer rarely feels comfortable. Most people cower at the thought of negotiations; the very concept of it makes some people cringe. However, don’t let fear or lack of confidence stop you from getting what you want. It’s time to improve the conditions of your new job or increase your salary. Most employers will happily consider your demands as long as you negotiate the right way.  

What is Negotiable?

Aside from salary, other things can be negotiated; it all depends on what you need and want. Take some time to assess your professional priorities before the interview. Here are some ideas of what can be negotiated:

  • Salary
  • Job title
  • Level of authority or decision making
  • PTO or Vacation
  • Subscriptions, association dues, memberships
  • Home office technology, mobile phone, laptop
  • Job share or flex-time schedule
  • Re-certification or training costs
  • Access to resources, budget management
  • Stock options

When Do You Start Negotiating?

You should only start negotiating when you receive an official job offer, either through a verbal or written statement.

Never attempt to negotiate beforehand. Asking for anything before an offer is given may result in immediate rejection- a hiring manager might view you as demanding or difficult to work with.

Once you’ve received a job offer, you can now officially start negotiating. Arrange a specific time and date to talk on the phone or meet in person.

Negotiating Your Job Offer

When you meet to discuss the offer, don’t forget to show your interest and enthusiasm for the job. Going in with an aggressive, game face on isn’t ideal.

Remember, companies don’t negotiate; people do. So, don’t underestimate the power of likability. Research suggests that people who are overly competitive or aggressive, do worse in negotiations.

I suggest beginning to negotiate the salary first. If successful, you should be willing to make compromises on other items you wanted negotiated. Don’t worry if you didn’t get the salary you wanted. You could still push for other things you’re interested in.

More Tips to Remember

  • Don’t make demands; ask questions instead. It’s better to form your requests as questions to avoid looking too aggressive. If asking for a higher salary, you can say: “Based on my skills and years of experience, I was expecting a higher salary. What can we do to increase this?”
  • Negotiate with the right people. You need to know which individuals have the ultimate authority to make negotiations. It is not always HR who take responsibility. Sometimes it’s better to talk to the hiring manager.
  • Always get it in writing. Make sure to get the agreed terms in writing before you sign on.
  • Be prepared to walk away. You might be better off declining an offer if it doesn’t meet your expectations. You don’t want to end up bitter and resentful when you accept less.

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  • Bella  E.
    Bella E.

    Thank you!

  • Natalie K.
    Natalie K.

    Yeah, Kim? What's different when you're a person of color?

  • Kim H.
    Kim H.

    Not being rude none of this applies if you are a person of color

  • Tim E.
    Tim E.

    Thanks. It’s pretty true these methods. Tim.E.

  • Amy T.
    Amy T.

    Thank you for the tips!

  • Karen B.
    Karen B.

    Thank you, this was very informative

  • Nathan P.
    Nathan P.

    This is very helpful, thank you.

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