Why Negotiate?

Many people have misconceptions and fears about negotiating their job offer which prevents them from advocating for their needs and can lead to lack of clear expectations and feelings of disappointment. However, negotiating with your future employer is just having a conversation and it does not need to be scary. Common fears about negotiating include “If I ask for more, I may jeopardize the offer”, “I might be seen as greedy if I ask for more”, and “Negotiating is only for aggressive ‘wheeler dealer’ types”. Although you may think to take your job offer without asking any questions, it doesn’t hurt to prepare a conversation and ask for what you would like.


Buying and Selling a House

Think of negotiation like you would think of the process of buying and selling a house. The employer’s job description is like a house listing. The resume that you submit is like prequalifying for a mortgage with the bank. The interview is when you go to take a look at the house, you aren’t going to make an offer right away, you are just checking it out. The owner of the house is not going to sell until a good fit comes along and that is when you start negotiating. The agent is the one that negotiates with the buyers because it takes the emotion out of it. Take the emotion out of the equation for good business sense when you receive a job offer.


What’s Negotiable?

  • Salary, Benefits, Stock Options, Relocation Expenses, Bonus (starting or incentive)
  • Vacation, Start date, Terms of a Contractual Relationship (don’t be afraid of temporary to permanent positions; if you are helping them meet their needs and they can keep you, they will.)
  • Reporting Relationships, Job Title, Level of Authority
  • Everything is negotiable!


Guidelines for Successful Negotiating:

  • Negotiating begins after you have received a job offer. Do not give up a job until you have the other one in writing. Negotiating after you have accepted the job is difficult because you have less leverage.
  • Make a head decision, not a heart decision- plan your negotiation strategy and do your homework rather than accepting an offer on the spot. Doing your homework includes researching your salary range, knowing the value of all the benefits you are addressing, and determining your deal breakers beforehand.
  • Think of the big picture (not just salary), begin with salary then consider other benefits that you value. Ask “what type of compensation model have you used for this position?”, provide a salary range but state that you’re negotiable, and ask about the company’s experience with performance bonus plans.
  • Negotiate for the present and for the future. Negotiating is about compromise, rather than only making demands, think about what you are going to bring to the table.
  • Stay positive, reasonable, and genuine; you are still on an “interview”. Handle this conversation professionally; they also want you to be happy in the position, so have a good, reasonable conversation and they may consider your proposals.
  • If you are excited about the company, tell them! Say “I’m excited, let’s sit down and talk about the details and the next steps”. Negotiate in person whenever possible
  • When you have completed the negotiations ask for the changes to be put in writing or offer to write them and submit a copy.
  • If you don’t dare to ask, the answer is automatically no.


How Can I Learn More?

Come to the “Negotiating Your Job Offer” workshop at RochesterWorks! Aside from this overview, the facilitator provided negotiation worksheets and actively involved participants in the presentation and extensively covered how to negotiate salary as well as other benefits. For additional information visit the Workshop Calendar and Descriptions on the RochesterWorks! Website:  

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