Negotiate a Job Offer

You’ve been offered a job. Now what? Here’s how to negotiate a salary and compensation package so you’re paid what you’re worth.

1. Consider everything

When you get an official offer for the job you’ve been hoping for, it’s natural to want to say yes right away! Before you make any decisions, be sure to consider every part of the job. Don’t just look at the salary.

Do you receive benefits? If so, what are they? How much do they cost? Is there a 401K plan? How much PTO do you get? Is there opportunity for future growth? Be sure you can answer all of these questions before signing anything.

2. Don’t be afraid to say no to the first offer and negotiate

You can say no if you don’t agree with all of the terms and conditions. Be prepared to backup all counter offers with concrete data. This is a normal part of the hiring process and the employer isn’t going to rescind your offer because you decide to negotiate.

3. Do your research

It’s always smart to research the average salary for that position. It’s not uncommon for employers to provide a lower salary for students coming out of college because a lot of recent graduates don’t know what pay is common for their role. If you’re making a counteroffer to the proposed salary, be able to back it up with data such as averages for similar positions.

Read reviews online to get a better idea of what past and current employees really think of the company. Keep in mind that most people only leave negative reviews, and that not all experiences with the company are bad. You may find some insight into what others think of the health plan or whether or not they are receiving fair pay.

4. Be reasonable

Doing research will prevent embarrassment if you make an outrageous counteroffer. If you’re entering a starting position, you shouldn’t ask for a salary that matches the president of the company. “Because I want more money” isn’t a good reason to negotiate. You have to be able to support your proposal with data you find about similar positions.

5. Don’t settle

You made your counteroffer and they came back with yet another low number. Don’t settle. If the number is reasonable but lower than what you had hoped for, try negotiating other parts of the package. If health benefits weren’t included in the original offer, see if there is a way to compromise during this phase of negotiation.

After this phase, If you’re still not comfortable with the arrangements, now would be the time to politely decline the offer. Make sure you clarify which parts of the offer led you to decline. Sometimes an employer will call back asking one last time what it will take to convince you to accept the offer.

6. Get everything in writing before making any decisions

Every time you negotiate any part of the job offer, be sure you get it in writing. Verbal acknowledgement of your proposed changes means absolutely nothing. Before you agree to or sign anything, ask to see it in writing. It’s okay to make negotiations over the phone, but once you have come to an agreement, be sure everything is put into a formal document.

Once everything looks good, sign the documents and celebrate because you just landed the job (officially!!!).

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