You have finally received the phone call or email you have been waiting on regarding your recent job interview. But, the excitement begins to fade when you realize that the offer isn't exactly what you were looking forward to when you initially applied for the job.
When that happens, you can either take up the offer anyway or negotiate better terms — the latter is always the best thing to do, even though it may seem a little bit uncomfortable at first. For this reason, this article discusses the art of negotiating a job offer, hoping you will find the much-needed courage to ask for what you believe you deserve before taking on a new job.
What to Negotiate
The answer is simple — you can negotiate anything that does not meet your requirements as far as the job offer is concerned, as long as it is reasonable and negotiable. Here are some examples:
- Your salary: This is usually the most commonly negotiated item on a job offer. We will discuss more on this later.
- Work schedule: If the job offer doesn't suit your schedule, you can politely inform your potential employer about it. Chances are, they will consider realigning their proposal to match your schedule. The last thing employers want is an employee who doesn't show up on time for work because of a conflicting schedule. Most employers will consider this request, especially if you are a student who needs to dedicate some time to study because they know you will benefit the company in the long run.
- Child care: This usually comes up if you have no one to care for your child while at work.
- Travel expenses: If your job requires a lot of traveling, you can negotiate with your potential employer to develop a structure that creates a win-win situation for both parties in terms of plane tickets, mileage, accommodation, etc.
- Start date: You can negotiate a different start date if the one stated by your new employer does not match your availability at the time.
- Hiring bonus: These days, many employers provide hiring bonuses to entice workers to join their firms. However, if the hiring bonus does not live up to your expectations, you could consider negotiating it higher.
- Other benefits: Things like sick leave, vacation time, and stock options are other examples of items you can negotiate more to your liking.
Why Negotiate Your Salary?
According to studies, most managers expect new and potential employees to negotiate their salary and benefits, despite not mentioning that the job offer is negotiable. So even if the job offer does not state that it is open to negotiation, this should not stop you from negotiating. If you are reasonable, there is often nowhere to go but up!
It is therefore advisable to negotiate your salary if:
- You intend to continue with your education, and you need extra money for tuition.
- You have lots of experience in that specific field.
- You're paying for a student loan, and the current salary offer won't be enough to cover loan payments and other bills.
- You require special medical insurance to cover a specific condition that your potential employer doesn't cover.
- You will be providing mentorship or coaching to employees of the company offering the job.
- You need childcare services, but the job does not provide such.
Tips For Negotiating Your Salary
Now that you have decided to negotiate your salary, your next move will determine whether the potential employer will accept your proposal. Here's what to do:
- Don't accept the first offer just yet. Taking the first offer means you are also accepting its terms, making it more challenging to negotiate. Unfortunately, many job seekers are often quick to accept such proposals out of excitement, only to find out later when it is too late that some terms do not meet their expectations. However, you will also need to clarify to the employer that you are still interested in the job even though you have not formally accepted their offer.
- Know your worth. Most hiring managers will want to know how much you made at your previous job. Your response helps them decide where to begin the negotiations from the financial perspective. So, if you undervalue yourself, they will always want to start at the lowest wage possible or maybe a little bit higher, but not exactly what you are worth. As a result, it will take you years to reach the salary you should have been earning earlier.
- Prove your worth. It is one thing to know your worth, but proving it is different. When demonstrating your worth, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have any extra training that would benefit the potential employer?
- Are you studying any course that would help the potential employer?
- Do you have any job-specific skills or experience?
- Did your previous employer offer better pay for the same role?
One of the most important things to know before negotiating a job offer is that you do not need to challenge every offer element. You do not want to seem like a dissatisfied employee even before working at your new job.
Instead, choose two to three issues that you want to discuss with your potential employer and then build your case around them. Also, for the best results, remember to keep a positive attitude throughout the negotiations.