Negotiating Your Job Offers Like a Professional
You have just received a job offer. It is a great position, but the salary seems a bit low. “I am not going to mention anything,” you tell yourself. “If I try to negotiate, I might make a bad impression. What if they rescind the offer? I am going to accept it anyway.” Does this situation sound familiar? If your answer is yes, worry not. This week’s blog post will equip you with handy strategies for negotiating your job offers like a pro.
1. Don’t be afraid to negotiate
“There is no good reason to not at least try and negotiate your job offer,” says Bob Menard who has been advising graduate-level students at the John Molson School of Business for the last fourteen years. As long as you come back with a reasonable counter offer, it’s highly unlikely the offer would be rescinded – after all, the company has chosen you for a reason. In fact, many managers expect you to negotiate. “They want to see you display a variety of skills and standing up for yourself is one on them,” explains Menard. In many cases, managers have even reserved some funds for a salary increase in case the candidate asks for a higher pay. If low confidence or lack of negotiating skills are the reasons you shy away from negating job offers, don’t give up. These are competencies you can develop through training and practice. For example, you can take our workshop GPCB631 - Negotiating Your Job Offers and practice mock negotiations with a friend.
2. Prepare your answer to the “most dreaded question”
What is your salary expectation? This is a difficult question. A too high number might make you look greedy, while a too low number might portray you as inexperienced, cautions Menard. Moreover, answering this question might limit your negotiation opportunities. So what should you do? First, try to avoid answering. For example, you can say ”I am still trying to make sure I am the right fit. Maybe you can tell me what you are looking to pay for this position?” Sometimes this strategy does not work. Your second best bet is to give a range. “Make sure your preferred salary is at the lower part of the range and there is no more than 10% difference between the high and the low number,” advises Menard. “And use odd numbers. They make you appear better-prepared.”
3. Never take no for an answer, but be reasonable
Salary is not the only thing you can negotiate. If your prospective employer is unable to give you a higher pay, you can try to negotiate other aspects of the job such as vacation time, benefits, starting dates or even working from home on certain days. But make sure you are always polite and reasonable. “Set your priorities straight early on and negotiate only the most important things,” advises Menard.
4. Provide a strong rationale
When you negotiate a job offer, it is important to back up each of your requests with evidence. For example, before asking for a higher pay, research what people with the same position are making at other places. Menard suggests some great websites to help you with the research:
- http://johnmolson.concordia.ca/en/career-services/students (for JMSB students)
But, be careful. Don’t trust a single source. It is better to do your research using all these sites and even additional ones, so you can ensure the accuracy of your salary expectations.
Another good rationale for negotiating a job offer is the extra value you add to the job. After you determine the payment scale for the position, think about where you fit on this scale. Do you possess any additional relevant qualifications? For example, if the minimum requirement for the positions is a bachelor’s degree, and you have a master’s, you have a good reason to ask for extra compensation.
5. Pace yourself
If you want to negotiate more than one aspect of the offer, such as the salary, the vacation time, and the flextime – don’t negotiate them as a package, recommends Menard. Start with the biggest request from the perspective of the manager – often, this is the salary. Then, go through each individual item, leaving the easiest ones until the end. Menard explains that this way you can take advantage of a phenomenon called buyer’s acceptance. “If they agree to do the biggest item, it is much easier for them to say yes to small items.”
6. Don’t rush into accepting
When you finally receive a long anticipated job offer, you may feel ready to accept it right away. Don’t rush. Make sure everything from the position title to the salary is what you and your prospective employer agreed on. Mistakes happen. If something is unclear, don’t be afraid to ask questions in person or call the company.
The entire GradProSkills team wishes you good luck with negotiating your future job offers!