Job Offers and Negotiation

Congratulations - you've received a job offer! Before accepting, no matter how excited you are, make sure to thoroughly review the compensation package and negotiate. 

Why Negotiate?

You should always negotiate as companies expect it, your current compensation can serve as a baseline for future compensation at the company, and it demonstrates an important skill set.

When to Negotiate?

As noted above, wait until you've received an offer to negotiate (regardless of any salary expectations you shared earlier in the interview process). You only want to negotiate when you are genuinely interested in the role, when you have done your research and are prepared to negotiate, and when you can clearly articulate the value you will bring to the role and the organization. 

How to Prepare to Negotiate

Step 1: Understand Priority Issues

  • We all have different priorities that can shift over time. For each opportunity, consider what's important to you. Here are some commonly discussed factors to consider:

Step 2: Select Top Priorities

  • Be honest with yourself about your top priorities and your "non-negotiables" (Hint: we all have them!)
  • Generate your desired outcome and walk-away point, if appropriate
  • Compare the offer to your current job, your ideal job, and any other offers

Step 3: Determine Your Value

  • Market Value: Consider supply and demand in the field, fellow professionals, leverage compensation sites, and how well you know the organization 
  • Self Value: Consider your expertise, career stage, education/training/certifications, and how well your skills align with the organization's wants and needs
  • Gather and prioritize the more impactful data you find before the negotiation

Prepare the Numbers

Based on your research, you should now have a firm grasp of your values and your value in the market. Check out these slides for a refresher on key terms for a successful negotiation. 

Plan the Conversation

Here are tips to use in planning for a negotiation:

  • Send an email asking for a phone call (or ask for a meeting for an internal discussion)
  • Open with curiosity. Ask to discuss any questions you have and seek clarification for any "no" responses.
  • Be prepared to discuss your interests. Bring up all important questions in the same conversation and be prepared to share what's most important to you (remember your top priorities).

During the Negotiation

  • Pause and listen. Negotiations can produce anxiety, so take your time and remember to listen.
  • Never make decisions in the moment. Understand the timeline for both parties, follow up with an email about what you discussed, and allow yourself time to reflect. 
  • Remember to focus on underlying interests. 
  • Focus on why you want it, not what you want. 
  • Be firm on interests, but flexible on reaching them.

Negotiators who move past issues and focus on their interests create better win-win negotiations (in job offer discussions and annual review processes). 

While a "no" during a negotiation doesn't automatically mean the role or opportunity isn't the right fit for you, it is important to access how you feel before, during, and after the discussion. Remember there are always new opportunities waiting!  

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