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Negotiating a Job Offer

You've been offered a job? Great! Now is the time to negotiate the offer.

Negotiation is an important part of the job search. Wait until after you get a job offer to talk about pay and benefits. Negotiating is a two-way street. People make these deals differently. Use the tips below that work for you. These tips will help you make good decisions.

Think About the Offer

  • Know what salary you can expect for the occupation. Use career profiles to research salaries.
  • Think about your pay needs based on your personal budget.
  • Try to find out what the company pays before the interview. Call the human resources office or your networking contacts.
  • Pay is only one part of job compensation. A job with low pay might have good benefits like a flexible schedule or health insurance. Think about the job offer in terms of your needs, and long-term career and life goals.
  • Talk over the offer with someone you respect. Make a list of the pros and cons.

Use Good Communication Skills

  • If you can, do not accept a job on the spot. You can usually get a few days to think about it. Even if you know you are going to say "yes," ask for 24 hours.
  • When offered the job, make it clear if you want it. If you are not sure, say there are some items you would like to discuss before you can accept the job.
  • Listen carefully to the offer. If it is different or less than you expected, let them know that. Say you are still interested in the job if they want to reconsider their offer.
  • Ask for basic, practical benefits first. Those requests might include more money, tuition, or training. You might also ask for more vacation time, a flexible schedule, stock options, or parking privileges.
  • Negotiations should never be mean or emotional. This is a business meeting. Use your values and skills to negotiate. Do not use your need for the job to negotiate.

Understand the Rules of the Game

  • Don't assume the first offer is fixed. Even if the interviewer tells you it is, it rarely is.
  • Did they offer the same pay and benefits a few days later? That's probably the final offer. When this happens, you can ask for a six-month review to look at your performance and pay. You can also turn down the job, and ask that they keep you in mind for future openings. Never burn bridges. You never know what might happen down the road.
  • Don't say no as a trick to negotiate for more pay. When you say no, be ready to lose the job forever.
  • When you accept their offer, ask them to put the pay and benefits in writing.

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