Have you ever received an offer that you were dissatisfied with? If you did, it is probably because you were not coming from a position of power in the negotiation process. It is a recruiter’s job to eliminate that variable, as their goal is to negotiate the best offer possible on your behalf. However, when you apply to a job on your own, you are responsible for negotiating your own salary. So how do you do it?
The most important thing to note is to NEVER list a number when it says on the application what is your DESIRED salary. The moment you write a specific number down or verbally give a specifics, you have essentially eliminated any room for negotiation. Always write “negotiable” or “flexible” on the application or when asked verbally for your salary requirements, let the employer know you are “open to any fair offer” or if pushed for a number, give a range such as low to mid 80’s.
Let’s say you get an offer of $80,000/year, with a 10% discretionary bonus and full benefits. You are currently earning $78,000 a year with a similar bonus and you were hoping for at least a $5,000 increase to make a move. How do you handle it once you receive the offer?
The first thing you have to ask yourself is: Am I willing to walk away from this offer? If you are, then you are in a very powerful negotiating position, however, if you are not, then you have some serious thinking to do. Are you willing to risk losing the offer over a few thousand dollars?
If you do believe that you deserve to make that extra few thousand dollars, you have to be able to justify why you are worth it. A few things you can use as negotiating points to justify why you deserve to make the extra money are as follows:
-How many years of experience do you have in the business?
-How do the benefits compare to your current benefits?
-Do you have any specialized skills, qualifications or advanced degrees that make you more qualified then another candidate?
-What is the industry standard compensation for the position you are applying for with your level of experience?
Next, if you are willing to walk away from the offer, then you should be direct with them and let them know once the offer is extended what your bottom line that you are willing to accept is and why you feel you are entitled to that level of an increase using the above listed negotiating points.
If however, you are unwilling to risk the possibility of losing the offer you currently have, but still want to see if there is wiggle room, I would suggest the following script.
“Thank you very much for your generous offer of $80,000 a year. I really appreciate the opportunity to work for your company. In a perfect world, I was hoping to be closer to $83,000 a year given my years of experience and qualifications. Is this a firm offer or is there any possibility of getting me to my previously stated goal of $83,000 a year?”
Typically you will get one of two responses:
A) No, there is no room for negotiation.
There might be, let me check.
If you get the first response, you can then go to a default plan and see if there is the possibility of a review after 90 days or 180 days for an increase. Otherwise, you will have to determine if you can live with that offer. If you get the second response then you should be patient and see what they come back with as a counter offer.
Good luck in your negotiations!