Negotiating Job Offers

Once you’ve received a job offer, you may be in a position to negotiate the terms of the job with the employer. Some jobs, such as those with union-specific pay scales or those under prearranged government contracts, are not negotiable.

But many other jobs, especially with smaller companies, are open to negotiation. In fact, your future boss may even expect it. Salary, benefits, work schedule, and educational benefits are examples of the kinds of things you can include in your discussion.

Negotiations, obviously, are easiest when you have more than one offer to work with. If you are in a position to negotiate aspects of the job you have just been offered, allow yourself some time to “try the position on” (possibly twenty-four hours) before communicating your acceptance or rejection to the employer. Most decision-makers are open to giving you time to consider their offer, but be sure to ask when a decision is needed, and try to demonstrate your understanding of their situation.

Successful negotiations are usually achieved when you’re able to remind the employer of the value and skills you’re bringing to the position. The more the potential employer envisions you in the position, the more committed he or she will be to coming to an agreement. It also helps to know what the industry standard is for salary and benefits for this position and to use this information as justification for your requests.

Be ready to identify areas where you can compromise. If you’re not comfortable asking for an outright increase in your starting salary, yet you feel it is warranted, try getting a firm commitment for a three-month or six-month review that would include a raise. This tactic is usually an easy compromise for the employer. He or she will have a chance to see you in action, and you’ll have a track record of solid work performance to use to your benefit.

Create a table designed to help you with a negotiating agenda. In the first column, write out all the issues you wish to discuss, such as compensation or benefits. In the second column, write out the rationale for your request; for example, your experience or business contacts. In the last column write out the specific benefits of your skills to the employer. Think through the potential obstacles in the negotiation process and how you will overcome any barriers. Come to an agreement on the crucial issues before you decide to accept.

Here are you column headers again:





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