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                                 Negotiating an Offer
Congratulations on your offer! Hop...
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Otherwise you may be putting the offer in jeopardy, and get it rescinded with a “request...
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Negotiating a Job Offer


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Negotiating a Job Offer

  1. 1. Provided by Negotiating an Offer Congratulations on your offer! Hopefully it is exactly what you have been looking for and can be met with an immediate and enthusiastic “YES”. In many cases, aspects of the offer may fall short or raise some questions leaving a feeling that you should ask for more or there may be a better opportunity lurking out there if you just waited for it. Every situation is unique and there are a lot of factors in play, but if you like the company, the job and people you’d be working with it is in your best interests to negotiate away the shortcomings. These tips will help you focus and sort through the process. Express gratitude and set the stage – Most companies first extend a verbal offer and then follow it up in writing to fill in the specific terms and conditions. Strengthen your ability to negotiate by expressing gratitude and enthusiasm, but then say that you are looking forward to reading through the details of the offer before formalizing your final acceptance. Sometimes a provisional acceptance is a good idea but this will reduce room to negotiate later. The company needs to know that you are as interested in them as they are in you. Identify if there is a sense of urgency and how long you have to respond. Many written offers have contingencies like a drug screening or reference check. Assess your bargaining power – Which party has the upper hand in these negotiations? Some people are fortunate to be currently employed yet have several job offers on the table at the same time. They may have a rare and highly demanded skill set, it may be good timing or they are great at conducting a job search. On the other hand, some companies are highly sought after because of their career-maker status. Objectively consider these factors first:  Are you unemployed and for how long? On severance and/or have time to shop?  How in-demand are you? Are your skills rare and highly sought after?  Is this the company you see yourself with long term? Is there high turnover?  Are you aware of competitive backup candidates? Is this a buyer’s market? In most cases, the employer has an advantage but this needs to be a win-win for both parties. Weigh the offer and see the big picture – Look at the overall package, and if possible put salary down on the priority list behind the company, the job and future growth. If it is a good company, a job that fits and one that you will be successful at, the rest will follow. If the salary will not meet your basic needs in the short term, then this needs to be the focus of your negotiation. Factors to consider include: Growth – Is the career path acceptable to you? Is there a record for employee advancement? Challenge – Is this job going to challenge you and add valuable skills to your skill set? Salary – Is the level sufficient? Are there incentives? What is the salary review process? Benefits – Does the package suit your needs? (health coverage, profit sharing, IRA contributions, vacation and sick time, flex hours, pension, child care, discounts, life insurance) Location – Is it a viable commute? Will relocation be required? Is there a reimbursement? Intangibles – Is this a culture fit for you? Are there other intangible factors that matter? Be flexible and find the middle ground – If you want to negotiate some element of the offer, prepare to give something up in exchange. The best negotiations are all about give and take and the person you are negotiating with will be more accepting of your request when tempered with an exchange or compromise. • 877.998.7654 • 1415 W. 54 • Suite 103 • Durham, NC 27707
  2. 2. Provided by Otherwise you may be putting the offer in jeopardy, and get it rescinded with a “request” that the company cannot comply with. Requesting a time extension is the most common reason for a rescission because other candidates are likely in the wings who would accept on the spot. It’s an indication that the company is not your #1 selection or that you are not sold on the job. Choose words carefully with tact considering the request from their perspective. Pose your request first as a general question to open the discussion. If you get a “no” then move onto something else where there may be room to negotiate. Justify your request – Approach the negotiation by reinforcing the skills and strengths that you offer to support your request. For example, saying that you have a big mortgage payment that you need to cover to get a higher salary is not the best approach. Repeat your high level of interest in working for the company and confidence at doing a great job for them. Gently ask if there is any flexibility in whatever the item is that you would like to negotiate. The other party may have to comply with internal policies that would prevent them from negotiating certain items, so avoid drawing a hard line. Information is your ammunition. Internet research and salary calculators can sometimes be helpful in supporting a higher salary request, but they alone do not justify it. Salary parity at the company and the available local talent pool weigh more heavily in deciding the final number. Your proven abilities to make or save the company money through hard work and dedication will justify asking for something more. Final thoughts – Here are some thoughts that may be helpful in your negotiation. 1. Request an early salary review if they can’t give you a higher starting salary. 2. Sometimes a sign on bonus can be granted or increased when starting salary is fixed. 3. Find out if the performance bonus can be increased if you meet certain benchmarks. 4. If you feel it is a low ball offer, don’t panic and ask calmly how they came to that amount. Ask if there is room to negotiate or if it’s their final offer. 5. If comfortable with this, ask if you could put more of your compensation “at risk” so the total projected comp could be higher. For instance, take a slightly lower base salary for a much higher commission. 6. If you are receiving a base plus commission, ask for a guarantee to cover your ramp-up period, or ask that the guarantee period be extended if there already is one. 7. If you want added vacation time, suggest that it could be unpaid if they have a policy that cannot be waived. Ask if vacation days are accumulated from year to year. Ask if they could accommodate a working vacation. 8. If not already part of the offer, ask for incentives like a bonus if you exceed your goals. 9. Ask if the title can be expanded within a certain timeframe if you meet goals. 10. Ask if the company would pay for special training or certifications. 11. If it is a startup or high business risk situation, ask for equity and a severance package up front. 12. If relocating, ask if they would pick up some or all of moving expenses. Or, ask for job hunting assistance or expenses for a spouse. 13. Offer to sign a non-compete agreement in exchange for some other concession. 14. Note that getting into a bidding war and playing one offer against the other may backfire. 15. Get any negotiated changes in writing. Set a hard start date. Best of luck in your negotiations! • 877.998.7654 • 1415 W. 54 • Suite 103 • Durham, NC 27707