Once you receive a job offer, all the negotiating leverage switches from the employer to you. They are no longer thinking about hiring anyone else, they’re now focused on getting you in the role. The result: items that weren’t negotiable before the offer are now suddenly negotiable. Use this new leverage and the following guidelines to make thousands in minutes.
Negotiate with the right person
Try to negotiate with the person who cares the most about your coming on board. Usually this person is your prospective boss, not the recruiter. They will be your strongest advocate in getting you what you want.
Don’t Negotiate on the Spot
Wait a couple of days after you receive the offer before negotiating. Give yourself time to both understand all aspects of the offer and come up with a negotiating strategy based on what you’ve learned.
You’ll normally ask the person who made the offer about the details. Usually this person is an internal recruiter or the hiring manager. If the offer happens to come from an external recruiter, however, don’t rely on them for the details; the employer needs to answer your questions directly.
As you’re getting your questions about the offer answered, set up a separate meeting with the hiring manager. In that meeting you can both negotiate the offer and get any remaining questions about the role itself answered, e.g., around expectations or resources.
Make the Business Case
Saying “I would like 15% more” isn’t making the business case. On the other hand, saying “my research shows that your offer is 15% below the market rate for this role, and here’s the evidence” does make the case. Research will be your best friend in a negotiation (you can find compensation research links here). Share the results of your research with the hiring manager. Even if the offer is already at the market rate, you can still make a case for more money by explaining what you bring to the table that justifies above-average compensation.
Another way to make the business case for more money is to expand the role’s responsibilities during the interview. Then, point out these expanded responsibilities in the negotiation.
Have a long list of items to negotiate
If your prospective employer says “no” to one thing, they are more likely to say “yes” to the next; they don’t want to keep saying no to you since they like you! Keep in mind that you can negotiate nearly anything, including raises, job title, responsibilities, work-from-home, severance, time off, moving expenses, perk’s and more.
Feel free to be creative. For example, a client received more on the base, but there was still a gap vs. the market rate. She said, “I appreciate the direction this is going, but there’s still a significant gap between your offer and the market rate. How about we agree that, assuming I’m doing a good job, you give me a 10% raise in six months?” Her prospective boss agreed, and she accepted the offer (and six months later she got that raise).
Keep it positive
You don’t want to come across as adversarial. Look for opportunities to say things like “I appreciate your thinking of me for this role. I know I would enjoy working for you and with everyone else I’ve met, and I’ll be able to hit the ground running.” Another example: instead of saying “There’s still a $15,000 gap, what can you do about it” say “…what can WE do about it.” Convey that you’re on the same side of the table as them, where you’re both trying to solve a business problem together.
Too many jobseekers hesitate to negotiate a job offer, thinking “What if I say the wrong thing and they withdraw the offer?” If you come across as positive, non-adversarial, and sensible in your negotiation (that is, you’re making the business case), you’ll find that they will be impressed and may want you even more. Clients have reported being complemented on their negotiating approach by their prospective employers.
Consider negotiating the job itself
A client recently came to me for help, saying “I never should have taken my current job, I wasn’t set up for success from the beginning.” Don’t make this mistake. Improve your odds of success before you accept the offer by negotiating both expectations and the resources you need to meet those expectations.
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