7 Tips for Negotiating a Job Offer with Confidence and Grace
Negotiating a job offer you have for a position can be stressful. Consider these seven tips to help you achieve your desired outcome in this situation.
You’ve interviewed for a job and have an offer for employment. The problem is that the terms of that offer aren’t exactly what you want. Maybe the pay is less than you expected or the benefits are a bit off. But you’re also not sure how much you can press for more without seeming pushy or ungrateful, potentially losing the offer completely.
The good news is that negotiating a job offer in the right way can create a win-win situation. The employer gets the candidate they want and you don’t feel like you got shortchanged in the deal. If that sounds good to you, here are seven tips for how to negotiate a job offer with confidence and grace.
Sometimes it’s easy to get so caught up on one aspect of the job offer that you ignore everything else. You become so focused on the salary being lower, for example, that you miss the high number of days off per year or the extensive health insurance package. Before even thinking about negotiating a job offer, look at the big picture. Consider all the benefits the position provides and whether it’s worth going to the bargaining table for one thing.
It’s difficult to be confident during a job offer negotiation if you’re not sure what the standard is in the industry or even for that employer. That’s why it’s important to do your research up front. Look at what similar employers are offering new job candidates with your level of education and experience. This gives you some insight into what you can ask for without seeming like you want too much. It can also strengthen your leverage because you’re not just asking for something out of thin air. Instead, you can establish that it’s in line with current standards.
A potential employer may be less likely to change their offer if they feel like you’re attempting to leverage them so you can turn around and accept a job someplace else. That’s why it’s important to reconfirm your interest in the position (and the employer) when negotiating a job offer. Let them know that you will gladly accept the role if you can strike the right deal.
You can learn everything possible about how to negotiate a job offer effectively, but if the employer has no room to budge, it can all be for naught. Their budget may limit them from offering a higher rate of pay, or they may have other constraints that keep them from agreeing to another change. You can save yourself a lot of time and frustration if you simply ask if there is room for negotiation. This one step also keeps your confidence from taking a hit when you know that their unwillingness to budge is a reflection of where they are versus having anything to do with you or your qualifications.
In a negotiation, both sides must typically bend to get the deal done. Decide in advance how much you’re willing to concede in case they come your way a little without giving you exactly what you want. If you wanted $10,000 more per year, for example, will you take the job if they offer you $5,000? Knowing your bottom line when negotiating a job offer keeps you from trying to make a decision on the spot, then regretting that decision later on.
If you ask to change some aspect of the job offer, this may prompt a few questions. The employer may inquire whether you have other offers on the table or if you’d be willing to say “yes” right now if they concede on a particular benefit. While it may be tempting to answer in a way that puts you in the best light possible—or in a way that gives you more leverage—it’s best to always be honest with your response. This reduces the risk that you will come across as ingenuine or that your dishonesty will be found out, both of which can make negotiating the offer irrelevant as it could be pulled entirely.
Negotiating anything can be stressful, for both sides. But if the process turns negative at any point, it’s likely game over. If you’re wondering how to negotiate a job offer while staying positive at the same time, it helps to approach the conversation with an attitude of thankfulness. Let the prospective employer know that you appreciate their offer and are grateful that they want to hire you. This can help keep negotiations from getting tense or make them feel like you’re issuing an ultimatum. It may even increase their desire to bring you on board when they see that you’re able to be positive and kind in difficult situations.