- Negotiation is a normal and expected part of the hiring process.
- You typically have the most leverage when you are negotiating a job offer. It can be much more difficult to negotiate once you are in a role, so it pays off to negotiate at the time of hiring.
- Negotiation starts with research: know the norms of your industry and field.
- Think beyond salary: vacation, benefits, moving expenses, flex time, and more, can all be negotiated
Build your case
Being prepared will enable you to conduct a stronger negotiation. Know the variables that will influence the offer:
- Supply & demand for your skills – what’s hot, what’s not?
- Type of employer – some pay more, some pay less
- Geographic location – salaries vary regionally, nationally, and internationally
- Experience level required – this is your biggest card when added to your degree
- Industry/position salary range – know the lowest, average, and highest Build your case
- Anticipate scenarios and questions – remember that employers expect you to negotiate.
- Practice responses – practice will increase your confidence and calmness.
- Strive for mutual agreement versus confrontation – remember you are advocating, and when done well, you will gain respect from this prospective employer. Stay calm, stay focused and demonstrate value.
- Be strategic – consider the timing of questions concerning salary expectations
What do I say?
What salary are you looking for?
- Salary is really not my first concern. I am really more interested in the people, the opportunity, and the job itself. I’m sure this will not be a problem for us. Can we come back to this later?
- I want to learn more about the job before we discuss salary expectations.
- I would be happy to discuss a salary at a competitive rate for my skills, knowledge and education and track record.
- Let’s see if there is a fit before we discuss salary.
What did you earn in your last position?
- My last position isn’t comparable as it was in such a different industry and was a summer internship. I know my value and it is in the range you are recruiting in.
- My salary was in the appropriate range for the industry at my level of experience. (You also add: ‘What salary range did you have in mind for the position?’)
When offered a salary below your expectations.
- How can we bring these numbers closer together?
- I really feel that someone with my experience and background should be in the upper level of the range we have been discussing – what can we do to make this happen together?
- Based on my [amount of industry experience, degree, etc.], and proven ability to [raise funds, build teams, etc.], I feel the base rate offered is low. Is there any flexibility here?
Once the offer is made
Before agreeing to an offer you should request:
- To see the total compensation package and offer details
- To have adequate time to review the offer, make your decision, and get back to them (1-3 days is standard)
- Never agree on the spot, and certainly not before reviewing the total offer
Keep in mind, when considering the offer:
- Identify negotiable and ambiguous items
- Evaluate your total package and decide if aligns with your goals, expectations, etc.
- Know and define your walk away points – you can always say no!
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