How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Posted: 09/24/14 | Category: Interviewing Job Search Salary

It’s often taboo to negotiate a job offer. The offer, whether verbal or in writing, has been made and it seems to be set in stone. But what if the job offer is only a slight increase from your current salary, an amount considerably less than the industry average? Low compensation can follow you from job to job. It might be time to speak up and negotiate your salary.

Look Up Your Average Pay

First thing’s first: are you actually being paid less than average? It’s easy to find out. compiles and averages wages from employers across the nation and allows you to search by industry, job title, and region. All of that salary data is then illustrated in a bell curve chart. 

That narrows down the range, but what about your individual salary expectations? Your professional achievements can help pinpoint that. Reflect on your level of expertise, your certifications, and your on-the-job accomplishments to dictate where you end up on the spectrum.

Honest deliberation is critical at this point. Objectively compare your skills and achievements to the position and don’t immediately ask for more money if you fall short. However, you can still find out when they’d consider giving you a raise in the future.

Outline Your Interview Responses

To negotiate your job offer during the interview, you need a flawless routine. Illusionists put hours into preparation and though you don’t need to pull a rabbit from a hat, you need to convince your audience of your phenomenal capabilities.

Captivate your interviewer with seamless responses to his or her questions. Highlight your greatest accomplishments and resolutions with an artful flourish. Set the stage for when you negotiate your salary. Then bring all your talking points together.

For example, if you are an iOS Developer who has designed and built apps for a long list of Silicon Valley clients, describe those projects in detail throughout your interview.

Then, summarize your reasons after you’ve asked for more money. It’s like bringing together a mosaic from different pieces of tile: the end results are more attractive if you’ve used the best pieces to reach your goal.

Ask Without Being Too Blunt

Negotiate your job offer with tact. Start with something along these lines:

“I’m excited about this opportunity. It sounds like I’ve got a lot of the skill sets that fit with this. What salary range do you feel my skills will merit?”

It leads with your passion for the position and makes salary secondary.

Then, you want to follow up with all your previous talking points. Keep it brief and don’t rehash all the details. For example, you can follow that first sentence with:

“Well, I’m making [current salary], but I’ve done the research and [insert salary range] is the average for someone with my experience and skills. Moreover, I will bring the lessons I’ve learned from [successful projects/a story about your greatest weakness] into my daily projects.”

Be brief, reiterate why they’re interested in you, and leave the choice in the interviewer’s hands.

Accept Their Answer with Grace

Whether it’s a yes or no, your response to the interviewer should be the same: cordial and grateful. You’ve been given the opportunity to state your case and you have to respect their response. However, your options aren’t exhausted yet.

This is the perfect time to determine whether or not a raise will be in your near future. Find out when performance raises are given and what would be expected to receive one. If it still won’t get you to your projected wage, you have a choice: accept the offer or move onward.

On a Final Note:

As you consider whether to negotiate your salary, it’s wise to take all other factors into consideration. Engaging work, an enjoyable office atmosphere, a short commute, or a great benefits package can help to mitigate the effects of a lower salary. Sometimes, when a job is a perfect fit, money isn’t everything. 

Moreover, working with a recruiter can help you negotiate your job offer. They know the market range for your position and they can communicate that to clients.

by James Walsh

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