The Professional’s Guide to Negotiating a Job Offer
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Many job hunters mistakenly believe that when they’re hired for a job, they must accept what’s being offered to them in terms of salary and benefits. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. In fact, in many cases, workers can successfully negotiate better terms for a job offer so they don’t end up leaving money on the table. But this is only possible if they ask a potential employer for what they want.
“You get what you negotiate. Your career is your responsibility. Very few things in this world are certain. That includes your career. If there is something important to you, don’t presume that anyone can read your mind or will fight for you,” says career coach Carlota Zee. This guide is designed to increase the chances of job-seekers getting what they want from an offer. Continue reading for negotiation strategies, as well as information on what parts of a job offer can be negotiated and how to create an effective counter offer.
Finding the Average Salary and Compensation Package for Your Position
1. Salary Databases and Other Online Sources
Websites like PayScale and Glassdoor have salary estimates for just about any position. Some of these sites allow users to filter the information based on location. You can also go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provides a comprehensive database of salary information for different jobs.
Other Salary Comparison Websites
2. Dig Deep to Learn All About the Company
Find out if the company has job grades or bands, and what band your target position is in. If they have a job grade system, you have to accept that it’s almost impossible to go above their imposed upper limit.
The salary also differs based on the company’s size and industry. A mom and pop shop will have a smaller budget compared to a multinational conglomerate, and it’s the same case if you compare a Wall Street firm with a local restaurant.
3. Ask Other Employees in Similar Positions
Ask your friends, family, professors, former colleagues, and mentors to give you feedback on the job offer you got. Ask them if it’s fair based on what they receive. People are, in general, uncomfortable talking about their income, but you’ll be surprised how open some friends are.
4. Gather Salary Info From Unions
5. Compare Cost of Living of Your Location
Compensation is also affected by the job’s location due to cost of living and talent demand. Big cities like New York and Silicon Valley have higher compensation, as opposed to small rural towns.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Time to Negotiate
Anna Runyan, Founder of Classy Career Girl, explains, “You don’t want to send a signal that you only care how much you can get. So always wait for the employer to make an offer, and never be the one to start the discussion about salary.”
This is a basic rule of negotiation, you have more power when the company has narrowed down their prospects to just one candidate—you. Sure, they probably have a second choice, but they prefer you more than the second pick, and a lot more than the other candidates. That’s leverage you can use.
When It’s Too Late to Negotiate
You can’t take your word back after you agreed to the job offer. Even if you realize the commuting expenses are terrible, and the money isn’t enough to pay your loans, your chances of winning that negotiation are slim to none.
The employer, the HR manager, and all your co-workers will think you’re either not serious about the job, or a total diva. Either reputation isn’t appealing when you’re starting out with a new company.
Email Templates to Lean on
Making a counter offer
- Express your continued excitement regarding the company and the role
- Discuss why you are the best candidate for the position — this is the time to bring in those value-enhancing qualities you found earlier.
- Include a statement of the total compensation package you were offered.
- Detail your full counter offer, including numbers and the reasons behind them– this is a time to bring in value-enhancing qualities and other research you did on the typical position salary.
- Re-emphasize your interest and appreciation for their consideration, as well as any key points you’d like them to reflect on.
- Express your willingness to discuss the counter offer further. Meeting in person is likely the best way to accomplish this.
Hello (Recruiter Name),
I would like to express my excitement and personally thank you for offering me the Project Manager position at XYZ Company. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work for such a fast growing, forward-thinking company whose values align so well with my own. With my above average leadership experience and quality management skills, I’m confident that I will make strong contributions to your organization.
I found the equity and signing bonus to be agreeable, and would like to thank you for making them so generous. However, I would like to discuss refining the base salary. The salary of $57,000 that you offered is a bit less than what I was hoping for. The industry average falls at $65,000 and I would like to propose raising my base salary to match that. I believe that amount better reflects the experience and skill set I would bring to this position.
XYZ is a fantastic company and I look forward to joining the team! I appreciate you taking the time to consider my proposal and hope that we can come to an agreement. I would love to continue the discussion whenever you’re ready. You can reach me at this email address or at 123-456-7890 and I’d be happy to arrange a meeting.
I look forward to hearing from you soon!
Expressing disappointment outright
Hi (Recruiter Name),
I would like to express my excitement and personally thank you for offering me the Project Manager position at XYZ Company. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to work for such a fast growing, forward-thinking company whose values align so well with my own. With my above average leadership experience and quality management skills, I’m confident that I would make strong contributions to your organization.
I found the equity and signing bonus to be agreeable, and would like to thank you for making them so generous. However, I found the base salary to be somewhat disappointing. Based on my research, it is a bit lower than similar positions at this level. Are there any changes that can be made to the salary? If so, I would like to take them into account before making my final decision.
Thank you for your consideration and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
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