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How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Aside from the interview, salary negotiation is one of the most challenging phases of the job search. As you move up or move around in your career, you’ll develop strategies for how to negotiate salary in a job offer.

First, find out if the salary is negotiable. Some jobs are truly fixed-rate, including some hourly wage jobs and some civil service roles. While this is uncommon, some offers have been rescinded during the negotiation process, but that can usually be avoided with the advice below.

You may want the job at any salary, but you’re at the job offer stage – so you know they’re interested. Now you just need to get the best deal. Recruiting is expensive and time-consuming. The employer wants to hire you, not look for new candidates. Use this to your advantage.

Guidelines on How to Negotiate a Job Offer

1. Do your Homework

Just because the salary offer feels like it is enough to cover your expenses doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the market average. As such, it is critical to do your research and know what your role is worth before you step into an interview and negotiate for a higher salary. One great resource for this is O*NET where you can see salary information by job and geography.

One way to do so is to check online for salary comparison, this will allow you to calculate the average salary range based on your sector, location and work experience. There are websites like Glassdoor you can explore; these typically share salary numbers revealed by members and are categorized by job positions for easy viewing.

2. Establish your Worth

You have a number in mind. But never agree to discuss it until you’ve established your qualifications. Your value to the organization is sometimes more than just the position that you are applying for. For instance, if you are applying for the role of a Customer Service Supervisor with 20 years of experience already under your belt, you are going to be able to command a certain amount of salary.

Don’t be rattled if the employer makes an offer first, and it’s lower than expected. You should show excitement at being offered the role but you should follow up by asking about flexibility on the compensation piece. “I’m really excited about this opportunity and think it’s a great fit for me professionally, but that salary/hourly wage is a little lower than expected. Is there any flexibility here? I was expecting something closer to XYZ because of this reason.”

3. Give an Exact Number or Small Range

Research shows that when you provide a more precise amount, it implies that you have done more extensive research and are more informed of your market value, and you would more likely get an offer closer to what you are looking at. This can be even more persuasive if you can back up your request with data or other evidence.

4. Bridge Gap with Other Benefits Aside from Base Salary

If the salary on offer isn’t enough, perhaps you can negotiate for other benefits in your compensation package, such as better incentives, bonuses, flexible work schedules, additional leave, transportation allowance, etc. And while we are on the point, don’t be limited by your imagination.

Another great way to close the gap is via non-monetary incentives or perks. These can include work-from-home options, health plans, and subsidized parking, meals, and training opportunities.

Do’s and Don’ts in a Salary Negotiation

1. Do’s: 

 2. Don’ts: 

No Assurance in Salary Negotiations

At the end of the day, there are no real guarantees in salary negotiations. Beyond the value you can potentially bring to the company, there are many considerations to be had from the employer point of view (such as tight budgets and even tighter competition).

Two other things to consider as we conclude: 

  1. While this is rare, some offers have been rescinded during the negotiation process - this is usually because a candidate is overly aggressive or the company has another strong candidate willing to take the job at the lower pay amount. 
  2. It is also important to know when to wrap up negotiations. While this has happened to candidates before, a reasonable employer won’t withdraw an offer just because you tried to negotiate. But dragging out the salary negotiation can frustrate the hiring manager and start out your relationship on a sour note. If the company can’t meet your requirements after a few discussions, respectfully withdraw and focus on opportunities that better match your compensation expectations.

If you want to watch a video on how to discuss salary during the interview process, here is a great resource