How to Negotiate a Job Offer

How to Negotiate a Job Offer

This article is adapted from Harvard Business Review

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1. Don’t underestimate the importance of likability

People are going to fight for you if they like you. Avoid the pitfalls by practicing mock interviews to see how others perceive your approach. 

2. Help them understand why you deserve what you are requesting

They have to believe you are worth the offer you want. Don’t just state – tell the story. Explain why it is justified.

3. Make it clear they can get you

Make it clear that you are serious about working for this employer. Let them know under what conditions you will be happy to forgo those options and accept an offer.

4. Understand the person across the table

Negotiating with the prospective boss versus negotiating with a HR representative. Your prospective boss might be more willing to accede to your special request. 

READ: How to Hire Without Getting Fooled by First Impressions

How to Negotiate a Job Offer

5. Understand their constraints

Large companies hiring many people at the same time probably are not as flexible in their negotiations as a smaller company. But may be able to negotiate on start dates, vacation time and signing bonuses.

6. Be prepared for tough questions

The goal is to answer honestly without looking like an unattractive candidate, and without giving up too much bargaining power. 

7. Focus on the questioner’s intent, not on the question

8. Consider the whole deal

Dont get fixated on money. Consider the value of the entire deal – responsibilities, location, travel, flexibility in work hours, opportunities for growth and promotion, perks, support for continued education, and so forth. 

9. Negotiate multiple issues simultaneously, not serially

If someone make you an offer and you are concerned about parts of it, you are usually better off proposing all you changes at once. 

If you have more than one request, dont simply mention all the things you want. Signal the relative importance of each to you. Otherwise, she may pick things you value least, and feel she has met you halfway. Then you will have an offer that is not so much better and a negotiating partner who thinks her job is done. 

10. Don’t negotiate just to negotiate

11. Think through the timing of offers

If you want to consider multiple jobs, it is useful to have all your offers arrive close together. Overcome this by if you want to delay an offer, ask for a later second round of interview.

12. Avoid, ignore, or downplay ultimatums of any kind

Instead, say “I can see how this might be difficult, given where we are today. Perhaps we can talk about X,Y and Z.”

13. Remember, they are not out to get you

If the wait for an offer takes longer than expected, ask for clarifications on timing and whether there is anything you can do to help move things along. 

14. Stay at the table

What is not negotiable today may be negotiable tomorrow. When someone says “no”, what he is saying is “No – given how i see the world today”. Be willing to continue the conversation and to encourage others to revisit the issues that were left unaddressed or unresolved. 

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