How To Negotiate A Job Offer: Tips To Keep In Mind - University of the People (2023)

Before you get to the negotiation stage, you need to land an interview and then make a good enough impression to get a job offer. Many people are so worried about losing a job offer after putting in so much effort that they don’t bother to negotiate at all, but that’s a big mistake.

Negotiating a job offer doesn’t have to be awkward or nerve-wracking. In fact, by focusing on the right negotiation points, you can make yourself seem like an even more desirable candidate for any job.

Here, we’ll teach you how to negotiate a job offer, including letting you know what is and isn’t negotiable, why you should always negotiate, and tips to use for your next job offer.

What are Salary Negotiations?

Salary negotiations are when you and a representative from an employer discuss salary expectations. The representative can be someone from HR, a hiring manager, or a department manager.

You also don’t need to be in the recruitment stage to participate in salary negotiations. It can be done at any time even if you’re currently employed but want to discuss changing your salary with your employer.

Of course, before you decide to negotiate your salary, you need to reflect on why you believe you deserve your preferred starting salary or a raise. It’s important to arrive at the negotiations prepared. This means being able to demonstrate your value as an employee and also show what you’ve already accomplished.

You should be prepared for some push back, so don’t let this scare you off. Additionally, since this is a negotiation, expect some back-and-forth when it comes to settling on a salary. You should be somewhat flexible in your terms, but also firm in what you want so that you don’t settle for less than you deserve.

Why is it Important to Negotiate Your Salary?

Your salary is a reflection of your value as an employee to your company, so it’s important that you negotiate a salary that you feel you deserve. More than that, a higher salary can often come with a promotion, so negotiating your salary is part of advancing in your career.

Aside from your paycheck, there are other perks and benefits you should include as part of your negotiations. Costs such as education reimbursement, childcare costs, and health benefits are equally as important as the salary you take home, and they can be great leverage points in your negotiations.

Overall, you want to negotiate a salary that you’re comfortable with in addition to other benefits that may not translate into monetary gain, but can help you in your career and personal life in other ways.

What is Negotiable?

In addition to the benefits we already mentioned, there are other things that should always be on the table in a salary negotiation. Whether you’re in the recruitment process or you’re trying to negotiate a salary increase or higher position, these are the things you should consider negotiating aside from your paycheck:

  • Your job title
  • Paid vacation days or time off
  • Relocation costs
  • Signing bonus
  • Work tech, such as a paid phone, laptop, or work from home office setup
  • Insurance, including healthcare and dental packages
  • Gym membership or wellness allowance
  • Work flexibility, like working from home, working remotely, or setting your own schedule
  • Professional training or certification
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Childcare costs
  • Company car
  • Stock options
  • Your level of authority in the company

If you discuss any of these benefits during your salary negotiations and your employer agrees, make sure to get it down in writing. The best thing to do would be to have it included in your contract when you start a new job, or ask to renegotiate your contract or involve HR if you’re already in a position and your salary or perks are changing.

How To Negotiate A Job Offer: Tips To Keep In Mind - University of the People (2)

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Tips on How to Negotiate a Job Offer

While these tips are mainly focused on new job offers, you can also use them to negotiate your salary for your existing role.

Know Your Worth

First things first, you need to have a salary in mind before entering negotiations. If you leave it up to the employer to set the starting salary, then you might not have as much space to negotiate as you’d like.

Do your research on the average salaries of other positions similar to the one you’re applying for. Take into consideration things like location, years of experience, and job requirements. Check the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find data on similar jobs and tools like Glassdoor’s Know Your Worth salary calculator.

State Your Salary Expectations Early

Don’t shy away from stating your expectations early on in the recruitment process. You don’t want to go through multiple interviews only to get an offer that’s way lower and not as negotiable as you’d like.

Ideally, you want to state your salary expectations in the first interview. This will give the employer a good point of reference so that neither you or they waste time in the recruitment process. If it doesn’t come up in the first interview, don’t be afraid to ask. You can inquire about the salary range for the position instead of asking for an outright number in order to give you a better idea of where the negotiations should start.

Present Your Value

If you have a salary expectation that’s higher than the employer’s stated starting salary, you’re going to need to be able to justify why you deserve it. Practice presenting your value to the employer by pointing out things like your education or certifications that are relevant to the role, significant accomplishments in previous jobs, or even mention specific ways you would add value to their team.

Create Leverage

Up the stakes by creating leverage during your salary negotiations. Most often, leverage comes in the form of other potential job offers. You should mention during the recruitment process that you’re either actively interviewing with other companies or you’ve already received some offers. In reality, you really should be doing this and it shouldn’t be just an empty threat to “scare” a company into hiring you just in case you really are out of their budget.

If you’re already employed and are happy to stay where you are while looking for jobs, this can also act as leverage since you’re creating a situation where the potential employer needs you more than you need them.

Practice Your Pitch

Many people will skip this part, but it’s actually a crucial step to getting the salary you want. Don’t overlook the power of practicing. Ask a friend or colleague to listen to your pitch and provide feedback. Jot down some talking points and practice them in front of a mirror to hear what it sounds like out loud. If you appear comfortable and confident in your negotiations, you’re already more likely to get what you want.

Don’t Accept the First Offer

Though it might be tempting, especially if you’re currently out of a job, you shouldn’t accept the first offer. When you receive the offer, stay neutral and let the person responsible for hiring know you’ll consider the offer and get back to them within a reasonable time frame. This will create even more leverage so you’ll be able to come back with a strong counteroffer.

Ask Questions

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the interview process and during salary negotiations. A lot of people think it’s taboo to ask about salary or benefits during the recruitment process since it seems like you’re more interested in the paycheck than the actual job.

However, your salary is a reflection of your value to the company and is a key part of your work, so there’s no reason to avoid asking to clarify things like perks, benefits, or even if a salary is negotiable to start with.

Get the Salary You Deserve

When it comes down to it, getting the salary you want has a lot to do with your attitude when you go into negotiations. You should be confident, not only in the salary you asked for but also in your skills and your value as an employee. Learning how to negotiate a job offer isn’t always easy, but it’s an important element of finding the right job for you.

If you’re a University of the People student, be sure to check out our career service center where you can get help with building a great CV, searching for a job, and practicing your interview and negotiation techniques.

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