How to Negotiate When You Get a Job Offer

By Danni White on January 22, 2018

When you are offered a job right after graduation or even while you’re on the last leg of your college journey, you typically don’t want to immediately say “yes,” even if you are absolutely certain you want the job and would love the opportunity to work in that position. The best thing to do is to take your time and evaluate the job offer, or all the job offers on the table, to give yourself space to breathe and think about what you are about to embark on. In this evaluation stage, you not only want to consider company culture, location, people fit and so forth, but you also want to look at the salary package.

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Now, granted, you are fresh out of college, and unless you are an angel sent from heaven, you are unlikely to get the absolute best job that you could get or even that you want. Along with that is the fact that the compensation package might be different than the stars circling in your head. This is fine, and not really anything to get super hyped about. While you want to take the best job offer for you, you don’t want to get hung up on a top-level salary that you don’t take any of the job offers you’ve been given.

If the salary package is not what you were expecting, you may want to think about giving a counter offer, or negotiating the job offer with the potential employee so you both get something that works for the both of you. Negotiating a job offer doesn’t have to be hard, neither should you approach the matter with fear and a lack of confidence. It is important that you know your worth, know what you can bring to the company, and be upfront about what you desire. Prepare yourself to get what you ask for and also be prepared to walk away if you don’t get it.

Here are some tips to help you negotiate your salary when you receive a job offer:

1. When you know the value you are bringing to the company and can articulate it to the hiring manager.

One little bit of truth here: Employers really care about they can grow their company and how they can boost their bottom line. When it gets down to it, potential employers really don’t care how much your rent or mortgage is each month, how much student loan debt you have, or how much you spend on parties every weekend. They care about how you can help them grow their company and boost their revenue. You have almost any employer’s ear when you can carefully articulate how your skill set can make that happen.

If you have a job offer in hand and you don’t like the salary package as much as you would like the job, consider delineating what type of value you can bring to this potential employer. Consider letting them know what makes you unique for this job position. Negotiating over money itself is somewhat pointless as most employers are dead set on what they are offering. However, good employers will pay more for employees who add value to their company. An investment in value is an investment that can’t go wrong.

Image via Pixabay

2. Avoid accepting a job offer too fast if you know you want to negotiate the salary.

The interview process can be weeks, even months long, for some companies. This is especially true for major companies such as Google, Apple, and many others, with thousands of employees. You might be tempted to accept a job offer as soon as you get it just for the sake that you waited so long to get it. However, it could be a mistake not to weigh all the possibilities in negotiating a salary before accepting the offer. Even the best offers from the brightest companies should be reviewed after a day or two of receipt. This allows you to have a clear head when making the decisions.

Most employers will give you anywhere from several days to up to two weeks to review and accept their job offer. This is the time where you want to leverage the power you have to be certain you make the right decision. Be mindful of the time limits that you have been given as employers typically want to fill positions quickly. If you know you want to negotiate the salary, start planning how you will do it as soon as you get the offer.

3. Be professional and maintain composure.

Of course, you want to get a better salary, but one sure way not to get it is by coming across as rude, demanding, unprofessional, or entitled. Remember, the way in which you negotiate your salary package is equally as important as what you are negotiating. A great compensation with a sorry attitude doesn’t make for a very good employee. Hiring managers will quickly see through this and make you work extra hard to get what you are asking, or simply rescind the offer if you step out of bounds. Your bank account is never more important than your personal demeanor.

Maintain a professional composure at all times. Use professional language through the negotiating talks. In fact, you may want to take some time to practice what you are going to say and how you are going to say it with a friend, colleague, or someone whom you trust to give you honest feedback before you step through the doors to negotiate. Just as an employer can rescind an offer letter, you can also turn down an offer letter. No one really loses.

Negotiating your salary takes time, effort, and patience. Take your time to think about the offer, consider what you would like to make, and use the magic words when asking the right questions and giving the right answers. Remember, while discussing your salary, also discuss the value and benefits you will bring to the company. Make small concessions if necessary, and always stay polite and professional. In the end, you may just get what you asked for and the company will gain added value.

Danni White is a developmental psychology graduate student at Liberty University. She works in the digital publishing, media, and technology industries. After this degree, she will go on to work on a PhD in social psychology in which she hopes to do research on perception and social cognition’s impact on human behavior. She hopes to apply this research in corporate HR departments and community-based organizations. In her otherwise limited spare time, she blogs, writes and reads. She loves coffee, sports, music, cooking, meeting new people, and binge watching Netflix.

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