You received a job offer or want to prepare for your next interview? In this post we provide 3 tips to help you succeed and negotiate your job offer.
The goal is to get a job offer that values you as a talent (your skills, experiences and qualifications), while also enabling you to support yourself (covering the costs of living), keeping in mind the context of the company maturity/size, industry, and job function.
While each situation is unique, there are some general tips that can help you negotiate successfully with potential employers. We summarized the tips within 3 different steps along the way.
To negotiate successfully, you need to prepare with relevant research, ideally already before your first interview. What are you looking for in a new job? What conditions are important to you, especially in the long run? This preparation involves analyzing yourself, your wants and career development goals, while also analyzing the company/industry/position.
How to do it:
- Personal interests: Consider your current position or situation. What interests you? What work do you want to do? Then consider the value you provide to the company: what valuable qualifications, experiences and skills do you bring to the new position? Also consider your costs, and think about a range of salary you would accept to cover your costs?
- Job Position related research: Conduct research on salaries specific to your industry, location and role. If possible, research salary levels for the specific company you are considering to join. You can visit PayScale.com, Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, or any other website to get references.
- Company’s related research: Try to understand the company’s needs and talent situation. Are they expanding? How many talents are they currently hiring? Does the company have talents with your skill sets or do you provide unique value?
Ideally you let the hiring manager provide you with the first offer and take time to evaluate it accordingly. Often recruiters are given instructions to not consider talents who ask for more than what a company has to offer. To have your options open and create opportunities for further negotiations, it is helpful to leave the ball in their court at first. There are various tactics to encourage the hiring manager or recruiter to provide you with an initial offer and gain time for evaluation.
How to do it:
- Encourage the hiring manager/recruiter to give you the first offer. If asked about your previous/ideal salary, you can reply by asking about the budget the company considers for this position or state that you consider any reasonable offer. This leaves the hiring manager/recruiter to consider what exactly is reasonable.
- Express excitement: First of all, be sure to express your gratitude and interest in the job, by stating something positive that is unrelated to the job offer. You could say “I’m really excited about the possibility of joining the company” or “This is such an amazing opportunity”.
- Ask for time to consider: Appealing to a higher authority is a common negotiating tactic. For example, when discussing a job offer, hiring managers or recruiters sometimes state they would have to talk to a higher authority for approval. You can apply the same tactic. How? Ask for 1-2 days to discuss the offer at home. You don’t need to explain with whom you will discuss it, as it could be anyone, your partner, spouse or family.
- Try not to express thoughts about the first offer. If it is very low however, you can ask how they arrived at the specific compensation. Knowing the details can help your negotiation later.
- Evaluate the offer: After you have asked for time for consideration, you should evaluate the offer in detail. The decision-making can involve various factors, not just the salary. Consider the work, all benefits, the company culture and any factors relevant to you personally. This can involve: salary, job title, holidays, authority, reporting, bonuses, memberships, technology, schedule, starting date, stock options and so much more.
Consider the first offer as a starting point. There are some tips and tricks you can apply to negotiate. Very important within any negotiation is likeability. If you want to win a negotiation, it is helpful if the people involved really care about “winning” you over.
How to do it:
- The importance of likeability: Increase your chances of people working with you to get a better offer by being polite and professional. Negotiating can create some tension, so it is important you don’t come across greedy. Instead, focus on the value you’re bringing to the company and position. People don’t necessarily care what you can do, they care about what you can do for them.
- Help them understand: Likeability is not enough. The people involved should truly believe you are worth the offer you ask for. You can follow up by explaining why your desired salary is justified, such as unique skills & expertise you provide, market benchmarks or job requirements (relocation, etc.). Whenever you negotiate, be confident in your value. The company usually has invested time into the process of providing a job offer, so their intention is to hire you. Therefore it is also important to make it clear that you are serious about working for the company.
- Understand the person you are negotiating with to influence them positively. How flexible are they in making decisions? What interests or constraints do they have? Focus on the intent of any questions to understand the needs. Another tactic is to ask open ended questions, such as: “Is there anything else you can do regarding XYZ?” After you ask an open-ended question, remain silent and provide time for the other person to respond. Often we tend to talk to fill the silence, but it is better to give the other person some time to think and consider what you are asking.
- When asking for more: Increase your desired salary through the technique of bracketing. This means you ask for more than your desired salary, so the other side will get back to you with an offer closer to your desired salary. It helps to make room for concessions and also in turn, makes the other side feel like they won. You can also offer to follow-up with more information regarding your rationale, so they can take time to consider or talk to others.
Don’t limit your career opportunities.
There is nothing to lose in asking. It’s really how you ask. Doing research helps you prepare for negotiating with a clear judgement of the offer. Identify and address your interests and those of the company. Remember, once you have received an offer there is genuine interest of the company to win you over.
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