A Job Offer is On the Table: Tips for Responding and Negotiating Job Offers

Job Offer ConceptAnd here we are. You’ve made a good impression with the employer, successfully completing the interview (and there may have been a series of them!) and a job offer has been presented to you. In all likelihood, several job candidates were under consideration,however, after full evaluation, it comes down to you with the appropriate skills, experience and likability factor that have made the difference.

Responding to the Call of an Offer

After the lengthy process of hunting for a job and going through several rounds of interviews, your time and efforts have finally come to fruition. You may be feeling a rush of adrenaline and excitement as you hear the words, “We would like to offer you the position…”

You are ready to jump right in and get started.

But wait a second. Is the offer presented the best offer? That is a key question every job candidate should ask and evaluate before accepting an offer. Do not shy away from negotiating job offers. If an employer has made the decision to offer you the position, you obviously have something to bring to the table that is of value to them.

In most cases, employers would rather negotiate on an offer that is satisfactory and fair for both sides as opposed to restarting the process of finding an appropriate candidate once again. Just as it took you time to find job opportunities and go through interviews, the employer also has to invest time and money to finding appropriate job candidates.

So, before you say anything as you hear the words of an offer,take a deep breath to prepare your response. You should expressappreciation, excitement that they have confidence in you, and request for some time to evaluate the offer.Typically asking for a few days (2-3 days) or at most a week (for those who need to factor in relocation) is a reasonable request.

You do not want to and should not need to provide an answer on the spot. Any good employer will also want you to take the time to review the offer. It does not provide an employer a good impression when a candidate acts on impulse. Employers have more confidence in candidates who want time to evaluate an offer. This shows the employer you are serious, professional and care about the decisions you make.

Tips on Negotiating Job Offers

The greatest advantage over the negotiation process for a better salary and benefits package happens at the time of a job offer. Once you are in work mode with the employer, negotiating for a better salary may have its limitations. In most cases, it only happens during the yearly review.

When evaluating an offer, there are various components to review. Aside from salary, other considerations in an offer package include health benefits, paid vacation days, sick days, bonuses, tuition reimbursement, relocation package, if appropriate, and other benefits.

Another aspect to evaluate that is not in the offer is a good understanding of the situation, which you should have obtained during the interview process. Do you have skillsets that are in demand and hard to find? Could there be many other immediate qualified candidates waiting to step in for the offer should you decline or put a request that is unreasonable for negotiation? These are all factors to consider in how you come to terms and approach negotiation.

When it comes down to negotiation, know exactly what it will take for you to accept the offer and be upfront about it with the employer. The employer will appreciate this. It puts the employer in a better position to seriously evaluate your terms since they know the negotiation process will not drag on.

Below we offer a guideline and tips to negotiating job offers successfully:

  • Obtain and clarify details on the offer. The employer will disclose information on basic components to an offer package, such as salary, start date, sign on bonus, vacation days/sick days and other details.
    • Tip: Ask any questions you have on these components now so the negotiation process is not muffled by too many miscellaneous factors.
  • Request for the offer in writing. An offer in writing formalizes the whole process and will provide clarity to all factors for evaluation.
  • Determine what it will take for you to accept the offer before you start negotiation. You need to know the minimum that is acceptable. Think through the various scenarios of what changes can be made to the terms to enable you to accept the offer. Do not strictly focus on salary. Perhaps salary is not negotiable, but other factors may.
    • Tip: Have all your research ready to back up your reason for the requests, whether it is information on salaries or other standards in the field.
  • If possible, offer a response on the offer before your deadline. If you come to a decision before you are due to call back, don’t delay. Begin negotiating job offers earlier. The employer will appreciate your efforts to move the process along.
  • Negotiation can be a streamlined process. You receive an offer; you evaluate the offer; you renegotiate for terms that are acceptable; the employer accepts/declines or gives you something in between your terms; and you accept/decline the offer.
  • Always give back in renegotiation — Acceptance. Negotiation should be a win-win situation. If the employer meets your terms reasonably you must give back in return – your acceptance to the offer.
    • Tip: Do not go through negotiation with an employer if you know you will decline the offer. It is not professional to decline an offer when the employer has reasonably satisfied renegotiation terms. You would not like any employer to present you an offer to later rescind on it when you are planning to accept it.
  • Remain professional throughout the process. Regardless of the outcome it does not do you any favors to be unprofessional and uncordial. If you accept, you may be working with the individual. If you decline, you may cross paths with this individual in the future.

Successfully negotiating job offers creates a win-win situation. If what you ask for is within reason of industry standards, most employers will satisfy your request. So remember, before you make a request, do your research. And remember that this is the start to a relationship with your employer. Negotiation should stay at a level that is courteous and gracious no matter what the outcome.

Additional Resources: Understanding the Job Negotiation Process