Advice: Negotiating The Job Offer

Spring has finally sprung and during this season of renewal, you may be thinking about your next big job opportunity. You beat the competition and got the offer, or perhaps a promotion. Congratulations! The next step? Negotiating. This is easier for some more than others, but it’s no less important. Whether it’s your first job out of college or your dream job in the C-suite, it’s best to always advocate for what you’re worth.

When it comes to negotiating a job offer, there’s generally one rule: ALWAYS NEGOTIATE. If you’re a novice at negotiating or the thought of going back and forth with an employer about an offer makes you nervous, you’re not alone. But it still has to happen. There are plenty of resources out there to help guide you through the process, but to help you get started here are three mistakes to avoid:

Mistake #1 – Making uninformed, unreasonable asks. Before beginning any negotiation, it’s important to be clear and reasonable about what you want. In salary negotiations you want to find out the general salary range and caps for the role you’ve been offered. In seeking out this information, be mindful of specifics such as your level of experience, where the job is located, and seasonality that can impact your ask. In other words, do your research.

Mistake #2: Only focusing on the dollars and cents. The salary is often viewed as the most valuable part of the job offer. And let’s face it – how much money you’ll be taking home every pay period is very important. For any number of reasons employers may be limited in what they can offer salary-wise beyond the initial offer. This is when it helps to have a more holistic view of your offer and consider your total compensation, not just salary. Signing bonuses, performance bonuses, stock options, and commission are all examples of compensation that can be negotiated with your employer. Outside of compensation, there’s time off (vacation, sick, personal, etc), flex work schedules, transportation and technology subsidies, travel requirements, and even your start date, which are all fair game when it comes to negotiating your offer. Money is important, but don’t forget about the value of other components of your offer.

Mistake #3: Picking the wrong method of communication. Negotiations can take place in person, via phone, or over email or some other written form of communication. When possible, pick the communication method that you’re most comfortable with to carry out the negotiation. If you find yourself unable to think on the spot or contain your emotions during a conversation with your employer about the offer then negotiating in person or via phone may not work in your favor. Move the negotiations to email instead. The goal is to communicate your asks and carry out negotiations with clarity, confidence, and a calm disposition.

Whether you’re a recent graduate or an experienced professional, remember the old adage: a closed mouth doesn’t get fed. Also, remember to remain professional and gracious throughout the negotiation process. Give it your best shot. You may be surprised at the outcome.