Professional Development:

The Art of Negotiation Before Accepting the Job

So you've gotten the offer for the job of your dreams! The position is challenging and exciting and everything else you were looking for in a new position. But there is one problem, the compensation. It's not nearly what you feel you are worth. It's not even close to what you were getting compensated in your last position. With all your experience, you definitely feel you should be getting paid a lot more. You've got a dilemma on your hands. Should you just take the offer and hope it eventually leads to a brighter financial outlook or is it ok to try to negotiate what you want?

Many people are very hesitant when it comes to asking for what they want when it comes to a job offer that doesn't necessarily meet their expectations financially. They are afraid that the offer will be revoked or that even if they do get what they are asking for, it will somehow start them out on the wrong foot with their new employer. Neither of these scenarios is very likely though. Let's take a look at why.

First of all, you should never accept an offer that makes you feel like you are settling for less than you deserve unless you are so financially strapped that you cannot afford not to take the first offer that comes along. There's a very good reason for this advice. If you start out feeling under-appreciated or like you aren't getting what you are worth, these feelings will undoubtedly lead to feelings of resentment, discontent and the desire to find something better and more suitable for you. Therefore, you should never just accept a job offer that doesn't excite you. If you are thinking that you'll just accept the amount they are offering and will make up for it in raises in the future, you need to keep in mind that most raises and benefits are based on your initial compensation. If you start too low, it may take you quite a while to get to where you feel you should have initially started out in the first place. Therefore, there is only possible move for you. Ask for what you want!

Remember, if you have already gotten an offer, this means that you are the company's number one choice for the position. They have already decided they want you and feel that you would fit in well in their company. This gives you some leverage, as more likely than not, the hiring manager will be willing to up the ante to get what they want. Most companies expect to do a little haggling, but you will not get anything if you don't ask for it!

Here are some tips to help make the process a little more comfortable for you:

  • Research the salary level of similar positions in other companies in your industry. It will make it much easier for you to negotiate for a salary figure that you know is fair and is the going rate.
  • Make a counter request for the full amount you believe you are worth. If you only ask for 85% of what you truly want, that is probably all you will get and you will not be in a favorable position to try to up the ante even more after.
  • Develop a couple alternatives just in case your first counter request is shot down. Sometimes it is easier for employers to negotiate more vacation time, equipment or a continuing education deal than it is to renegotiate salaries. This way, you will have improved your deal without increasing your taxable income.
  • Pay close attention to counteroffers. They could wind up being even better or just as well as what you were looking for, only the idea is different from what you expected.