10 Ways to Negotiate a Job Offer
The current job market is exceptionally competitive, with employers, in most cases, holding all the cards. When a recruiter gets in touch, they probably have other options and want to see how much leverage they have over you first. If you are interested in the job, but you need certain things straightened first, before committing, you need a fine balancing act that will ensure that both parties happily agree to work together.
Achieving this balance is challenging; however, you can seek the help of professionals through leadership coaching, executive coaching, or mentoring sessions to guide you on the right way to negotiate a job offer.
This is important because once you accept a job offer; you lose your leverage.
With knowledge from these coaching sessions, you will learn to maximize your advantages in the following areas;
- Employee benefits and perks
- Retirement plans
- Stock options
- Vacation time
- Schedule flexibility
- Job titles
- Working location
- Tuition reimbursement
While this list is by no means conclusive, it covers most job negotiation variables you will need to talk about with your prospective employer.
How to Negotiate a Job Offer?
With this knowledge, here are some ways you can negotiate a job offer:
1. Be Prepared to Walk Away
The first item on this list is perhaps the most important. Negotiating a job offer is a complicated task where things can sometimes go wrong. Consequently, you should always have a line which, if crossed, you can walk away from.
You should set a walk-away point before embarking on negotiations. This point will help you analyze risk, define your relationship with the other negotiating party, and know when to walk away.
Approach this preset point with calm and only walk away when the other party becomes unreasonable or if you cannot achieve a win-win agreement.
Always remember that a no deal is always better than a bad deal.
2. Get Ready for Tough Questions
A tough question can be unsettling. If not responded to adequately, it can expose you further, lowering your leverage. Some of the tough questions you might get asked include:
Why do you think you deserve this offer?
If a similar offer arises from our competitor, would you take it?
If we make you an offer right now, will you take it?
When faced with such a question, answer honestly. This helps if you had prepared in advance.
3. Exercise Emotional Control
Emotional control is a crucial skill to master to extract the most out of any negotiation.
You will inevitably run into uncomfortable situations when negotiating; however, you can make your emotions work for you. With proper emotional control, you can re-energize your negotiating strategy and strengthen relationships with the other negotiating party.
You can boost your emotional control using the following methods:
- Exercising mindfulness of other people’s emotions
- Identifying emotional triggers and steering negotiations to other topics
- Accept your emotions
- Regulate your emotions but do not suppress them
- Understand that you cannot always have your way
4. Understand the Value you bring
Your value lies in the strengths and the contributions you will bring to a company or organization.
Knowing your value will help you build your case and get the best offer possible.
Factors to consider include: your job history, skill level, education level, geographical location, & career level.
Of the above perhaps what carries weight is evidence of performance. For example, if you worked as a sales manager and grew sales on a new product line by $3 million within three years, this shows impact and a demonstration that a company will generate a return on investment.
5. Prepare Before Negotiating
“before anything else, preparation is the key to success”
Alexander Graham Bell
When you prepare well, it gives you latitude.
Only through preparations will you strengthen your case and increase the chances of persuading others to agree to what you are proposing.
You can prepare for negotiations by:
- Researching industry salary standards and trends
- Consider what perks and benefits you want
- Establish a walk-away-point
- Practice with a trusted friend or colleague
- Get help from an executive coach
6. Do Not Make Demands; instead, Ask Questions
Prospective employers often use job negotiations to gauge your willingness to cooperate and your ability to handle pressure.
It is thus recommended that you use diplomatic language. Asking questions as an alternative to making demands will help you elicit responses from the other negotiating party without antagonizing them.
For instance, if the other party doesn’t want to meet your salary requests, you can ask the following questions:
- What salary range do you have in mind?
- How big or small is your budget?
- Can we revisit this later?
7. Rehearse with a Trusted Party
Negotiating a job offer calls for confidence, eloquence, and polished presentation skills. Rehearsing with a trusted party such as a friend, family member, or mentor will help you build these skills in a safe and controlled environment.
8. Prepare to be Negotiated Down
A general principle when negotiating is that you should ask for more than you need, then slowly walk back your offer to a set target.
For this reason, you should be prepared to be negotiated down by your prospective employer.
This strategy might seem counterintuitive, but it opens a door for the other party to perceive the outcome of the negotiations as a win.
9. Be Flexible
It is not uncommon for job negotiations to go off plan. This is where flexibility comes in as it allows you to consider a variety of options available. Being flexible doesn’t mean abandoning your goals and objectives. Instead, it is about being willing to consider alternative options and backup plans.
10. Get Everything in Writing
Human memory is famously malleable. Recollections might vary, or some employers might not want to honor agreements.
Getting everything in writing means asking for a signed document as proof of all promises and agreements.
Some things to put in writing include:
- Agreed hourly rates
- Overtime costs
- Working hours
- Benefits and perks
- Payment timetables
- Roles and responsibilities
Putting everything in writing might seem like a daunting task, especially to new employees; however, it provides you with protection against miscommunication and misunderstandings.
With a written agreement, you can fight back against exploitation, underpayment, and harassment.
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How Highrise can help
At Highrise, we understand that job offer negotiation is not easy. If you go unprepared, you will likely be forced to settle on what you had not envisioned. Our experienced coaches will guide you on how to press the right buttons to ensure the best possible outcome.