Negotiating before You Accept an
I just got the job offer of my
dreams, except for one thing. The compensation seems very low in
view of the position's responsibilities and my prior experience. I
would like to ask for a better compensation package, but I'm afraid
I will lose the job or start off on the wrong foot with my new
employer. Should I take the offer as is or ask for what I want?
As a rule of thumb, it's never a good
idea to accept an offer that doesn't excite you, unless you've just
found an eviction notice in the mail. Settling for less usually
leads to resentment and the desire for something better.
Consequently, your agreeing to a compensation package out of sync
with your expectations does neither you nor your boss any favors.
Aside from avoiding a lose-lose
scenario, there are other reasons why going for the gold, before you
say yes, is very important:
At this moment, you are the number
one candidate for the position. The employer wants you and no
one else. Chances are she is willing to up the ante, if your
request is relatively reasonable and couched with diplomacy.
Future raises and benefits are
typically based upon initial compensation. If you start too low,
you may stay behind the curve for a long time.
It will take at least a year after
you've been hired to rebuild your perceived value to
pre-employment status. It's human nature for your manager to
appreciate you more now than once you're on board.
Some companies expect a little
dickering, especially if they are sales driven. They want to see
how hard you'll push for a good deal.
If you decide to negotiate, here are
some tips for making the process easier:
Research what the market is paying.
It's more comfortable to ask for a package you think is
reasonable. Only "The Donalds" of the world relish demanding the
Start with a counter request that is
100% of what you want. If you ask for only 95%, it's unlikely
you'll get more. Think about benefits and perks as well as
salary, commission and bonuses. Sometimes it's easier for an
employer to tender an package of enhanced vacation time,
computer equipment or continuing education, which improves the
overall offer without increasing your taxable income.
Also develop a couple of
alternatives worth less than your plan A, but more than the
company's initial offer. If you don't like the employer's
counter proposal, suggest your plan B or C instead.
Listen carefully to counter offers.
They may contain ideas you like just as well or better than your
If your negotiation proves
fruitless, don't take the position. Otherwise, the frustrating
process you've just completed represents what's ahead anytime
you need more resources. You can count on a corporate scrooge
being forever stingy.