After a few months of prospecting jobs, submitting applications and interviewing, you finally get a job offer. Congratulations! However, before you celebrate, now comes the hard part—the compensation negotiation. If you’re serious about accepting the offer, but feel you deserve a better package, the negotiation process can be stressful and nerve-wracking. Some common concerns include: coming across as too aggressive, greedy, or unsure of yourself.
To ensure you can confidently negotiate a better offer if you truly feel you deserve one, keep these tips in mind:
1. Timing is of the essence
One of the most important things to know about the negotiation process is that your timing is critical—negotiate too early and you may send the wrong message to your potential employer, but negotiate too late and you risk selling yourself short. So, how do you know when to start?
A general rule of thumb is to wait until an offer has been physically or verbally extended to you, which usually occurs towards the end of the interview process. As a candidate, negotiate too soon and you risk coming off as over-eager and impatient. On the other hand, if you negotiate with the right person at the right time, you will be better positioned to address any matter about the job offer thoroughly.
2. Quantify your knowledge and skills honestly
Do you know how much the average person with your experience in your position makes in your location? If not, before you think to negotiate for more money, do your research on what is competitive in today’s marketplace. To find out how much your skills and experience are actually worth, some helpful sites include Glassdoor.com and Salary.com. In addition, never make the mistake of lying about your past salary in hopes of receiving a higher offer. Once an employer finds out you lied (they always do), not only will it cost you the job, but this can also tarnish your professional reputation within your respective industry.
3. Remember, money isn’t everything
When candidates think about negotiating an offer, some only think about the salary that is presented to them. However, a good rule of thumb is to consider other facets of the offer, rather than just the dollar amount. Other areas to consider in your negotiation include: bonuses, health/medical benefits, stock options, training opportunities, tuition reimbursement, time off, etc.
4. Only negotiate if you want the job
A general rule of thumb is to only negotiate if you are genuinely interested in accepting the job offer. Once you are ready to being the negotiation process, it’s first important to thank your interviewer and express your excitement about joining the company. Then, while the negotiation is underway, it’s best to keep an open mind and maintain flexibility in your requests, as this may set the stage for a more productive negotiation.
5. Be likable
Finally, if you are receiving an offer, you got it because the employer likes you. Don’t give them a reason to regret their decision by being arrogant or unwilling to budge on your demands. To maintain your appeal to the employer, try and find a balance between being firm in your demands, yet respectful to the company’s needs. The more amicable you are, the more willing your interviewer may be to meet your demands, or find a happy medium.