Confiance Career Connection LLC
How To Negotiate Salary Without Losing The Offer
By Daniel M. Rover, CEO
You were successful with the job interviews. Now, you’ve got an offer in hand.
But does the salary meet your expectations?
Negotiating for a better offer can be scary, even for the most prepared people. Here are some do’s and don’t’s when it comes to getting the offer that is right for you:
- Do research before the interviews. Know about the role and the company before you go in. Salary averages are typically reported in a range. The employer may pay toward the top or bottom of that range, and you should know that going in.
- Don’t disclose your current salary unless it is absolutely mandatory. Use this phrase if you are asked: “I understand you may be interested in my current salary, but this position is different from my current position. I am much more experienced going into this position than I was in my last position, so I would like a salary that is commensurate with my current qualifications and the current position.”
- Don’t offer up your salary figures in the interview process. Use this phrase, “I’d like to have a complete understanding of the role, the expectations, and what you are willing to offer before I make a decision about salary.”
- Do know what you are willing to accept. Identify your “Bottom” and “Top” before going in. Know what you want to make (Top) and the lowest number you are willing to accept (bottom). Don’t adjust these numbers after the offer is made, know your numbers and stick to them.
- Do look at the total package. The offer isn’t just about salary. You have to consider what the total monetary value of the benefits you’ll receive. Ask yourself if you willing to take a minor cut because you get so much PTO? Is there a sign-on or performance bonus included? Look at the total picture when you’re sizing the offer up.
- Do take time to think. Unless the offer is absolutely perfect, you should always thank the hiring manager for the offer and ask for 48 hours to look it over. Examine each part of it, and know, without a doubt, that this is the offer you want before you accept.
- Don’t take more than 48 hours to look over your offer. If you’re going to say no, they need to be able to make that offer to another candidate. Don’t hold up the process for everyone else.
- Do negotiate. Chances are that the offer isn’t quite perfect. You might want an extra week of PTO here, or a performance bonus there. Either way, find what could make it better and ask about it.
- Don’t accept your offer, assuming you can have a review in 6-12 months and ask for a raise. This is the most common mistake people make in the job offer process. They think they can settle for what’s on paper, then prove their worth for a time period, and then ask for more money. Remember that a salary offer is reflective of what you and your employer think your work is worth. Asking for a raise when you’ve already agreed your work is only worth a certain amount, doesn’t show you’ve gone above and beyond. That is what was expected from you from the beginning.
- Don’t ask close-ended questions. The question should not be, Can we look at an increase? Instead, it should be, I’d like an increase of $$ to feel good about accepting the offer. How likely is it that the offer can be changed to accommodate that?” Yes/no questions (close-ended) can shut down a conversation quickly. Open-ended questions keep a dialogue moving forward.
- Do be clear about what would make the deal more appealing. If it absolutely must be money, be clear about what you are willing to accept. If you are willing to accept a lower salary in lieu of a performance bonus at the end of a year, or an extra week of PTO, say that.
- Don’t leverage another offer against this one unless you’re willing to follow through. Too often, candidates will mention another offer they’ve received to try and pit two employers against each other. Unless you are really happy about that offer as well, don’t take the gamble. The employer you’re leveraging against may walk away from the table and you could be stuck with the first offer.
- Don’t take negotiation personally. A good negotiation means two parties met in the middle. Each feeling they won a little, and lost a little. It doesn’t mean one side wins and the other loses. It is not a reflection of your skill set.
- Do get the final offer in writing. Don’t sign an offer that doesn’t reflect the revisions. You will be bound by the agreement you sign, regardless of verbal negotiations or handshakes.