Negotiating a Job Offer

When looking for a job, it can be intimidating to make demands about your salary, benefits, and anything else important to you about a job. However, it is crucial that you advocate for what you deserve when it comes to compensation. Negotiation is necessary!

Use industry standards to set expectations.

The first step to determining your “worth” as an employee is researching what those around you are being paid. You can use websites like those listed here to gather information about salaries in your area for positions with your education level and work experience. Use the average of your findings to create a range of what to reasonable to expect. Before going into an interview or negotiation situation, determine your goal compensation, the lowest you will go, and the highest you will ask for. This way, there is little to no need for you to do quick math on your toes during the conversation.

Weigh your benefits

Remember to take benefits (or lack thereof) into account when negotiating. Benefits have a monetary value as well, so make sure you are not overselling or shortchanging yourself! Are you looking to work from home or have flexible hours? Ask about these things—they have value too!

Shoot high

Typically, you should ask for a little above what you would like to be paid. Most employers will try to meet you somewhere between their offer and your counteroffer. Avoid suggesting an outlandishly high number—this will only result in laughs. Counteroffer with the high end of the salary range for your position and try to meet them in the middle at your goal rate.

Consider other options

If you have multiple job offers on the table, it doesn’t hurt to let them know! If another company offers you better compensation, ask the company you want to work at to match it! While it doesn’t hurt to ask, be careful how you do it—threatening to go to the other company instead can come off as insolent. A respectful suggestion could go like this, “{Company} offered me $000,000 for the same position. Is there any chance you could match that?” Asking lets them know that you have other options, but you are still serious about accepting the position at their company.

KEY TIP: Do not “threaten” to decline a job offer unless you are ACTUALLY willing to let it go. Otherwise, you may have significant regrets if the company does not budge on its offer.  

For some rules to follow when negotiating, check out this Harvard Business Review article. As always, go into these interviews and meetings with confidence and humility!