The Most Nerve-Wracking Step: Negotiating Your Job Offer

Your job search has gone well.  You interviewed and now you have been offered that dream job you went after.  You are reviewing the offer letter.  Many things are perfect, but a couple items have you feeling a bit underwhelmed.  Now’s the time to negotiate for what you want.

Tips for negotiating your offer:

  • Tell the hiring manager or recruiter again how excited you are about the job and the opportunity to join the company.
  • Discuss the items that you are happy with.
  • Now, carefully list out, by level of importance, the items you are not happy with.
    • Job Title:  If you were thinking this position had a different seniority level, discuss that now
    • Compensation:  If this is the first time salary information is being divulged, and it isn’t where you need it to be, bring it up, gracefully.  Some ideas on how to say this:
      • “I am really excited to be joining the company as a Tasting Room Manager.  Reviewing the offer, the annual salary offered is $60,000.  Industry averages are $10,000 above this.  My current salary is higher than this offer”
      • “This is a great job, and I’m ready to hit the ground running.  Reviewing the salary information, it is lower than I anticipated.  I am looking for an annual salary of $100,000.  If we could agree to that I’m ready to accept the job now”
    • Paid Time Off/Vacation Time:  If you currently have a more senior role or a long tenure at your current employer, you may have accrued more time off than the offer outlines.  Companies often keep paid time off specific to seniority levels or years of service.  It never hurts to ask for extra time off at the offer stage.  You may not get it.  You need to figure out how important this paid time off is, perhaps in light of a higher salary you’ll be getting or more flexibility the company allows. 
      • You could say something like “If we can agree to 3 weeks paid time off I will accept the offer today”.
    • Allowances:  Car, laptop, phone, home office.  If your position requires driving for work, using a laptop to do your work, communicating with a cell phone or setting up a home office, typically the employer will provide allowances for that.  Often the allowances are standardized across positions or job responsibilities.  Now is the time to find out what is available to you.
    • Start Date:  If the offer letter wants you to start in two weeks and you have to transition a new employee into your job at your current employer, ask for a later start date.  Remember, right now the company wants to hire you and wants you to join their team.  Having to wait one more week for you to come onboard is a small hurdle to getting you hired. 
  • Your counter offer elements will need to be reviewed by the hiring team, and if they can agree to your requirements, have them send you the revised offer. 
  • Avoid a lot of back and forth in the negotiation.  When you are reviewing the offer, make sure you understand all of the elements and get clarification when needed.  Once you have told them you are ready to accept the job if certain elements are changed, it is not the time to start negotiating other elements.  Remember, it is an offer.  Offers can be cancelled or withdrawn by the company prior to your acceptance.  Negotiation fatigue can set in, and at a certain point the company may just call off the offer if you are being unreasonable in the negotiation. 
  • It’s okay to take time to consider the final offer.  Ask if you can get back to them within 24 hours or on the next business day if you’re in discussions close to the weekend.  It lets the company know you are serious, but also allows you to really decide if the new offer checks all the boxes for you, and often, for your family. 
  • Once you’ve had time to think it over and you are saying yes, call or email the company right away and let them know you are accepting the position.  Reiterate how excited you are, and provide a signed offer letter to them.  I do encourage you to get a signed copy from the company too.  There is no room for ambiguity once you start if you can refer back to your executed offer letter. 

Congratulations on the new job!  You just survived the most nerve-wracking part of the whole process.  By giving knowledgeable and timely responses during the offer stage, you have kept the interest level high to get you hired.  You successfully negotiated a better offer and you are starting in a few weeks.  Keep up the good work!

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