6 Essential Tips to Negotiate a Job Offer
Updated: Jun 11
It was a bright Monday morning, and Simran was on her way to her potential new employer’s office for a final round discussion on her job offer. She was more nervous than when she was heading for an interview! She now has an offer, but feels that she deserves more compensation. The voices inside her head were a potpourri of conflicting thoughts and emotions. Should she just accept the compensation, and deal with asking for a raise later? Or perhaps, her new manager will see what she’s worth and automatically give her a raise a few months after she joins? But, if they really valued her now, why shouldn’t they offer her the raise she deserves, right from the get go?
Does the idea of a negotiation make you squirm and feel really uncomfortable? Don’t worry, you are not alone. Research suggests that 20% of women don’t negotiate at all. Negotiating is an inevitable part of our lives and careers, and yet a lot of us struggle with it.
Here are six specific things you can do that will help you gain confidence during a negotiation, and help you walk away from it knowing that you got what you deserved:
1. Know that there is always room to negotiate When an offer or a new title is presented to you, don’t think that’s the final decision of the other party. In fact, look at it as a start.
2. Have all the data And by all, I mean ALL. There is nothing more powerful than being prepared. What is your market salary? What have others in a similar position received (especially men)? Has the firm struggled with hiring recently, and thus may be willing to pay a little more for a good hire?
Being equipped with all this data will not only show that you are conscientious, but will also give you more ammunition to negotiate with. Another important piece of data is finalizing your absolute lowest “price”, and deciding not to settle for anything less than that.
3. What’s your BATNA? BAT- what? BATNA is the “best alternative to a negotiated agreement”, or a fancy acronym for a backup option. Always have this at the back of your mind and in your prep notes. A common example of a BATNA in a job offer negotiation is another job offer. It could also be taking off a few weeks to find the job you truly love, and one that will give you a compensation that you truly deserve.
4. Take your time, and don’t show all your cards at once A negotiation doesn’t have to wrap up in a single discussion. You can (and in most cases, should) always go back, digest the latest details, discuss with your family and mentors, and be ready to return for another meeting or two to truly close out the discussion. Separately, information is crucial – don’t show all your cards at once.
You have another job offer? Wait until the right moment to tell the new employer that.
Your last compensation? No need to bring this up if they don’t ask. Even if they do ask, feel free to try to avoid telling them that. Some companies have a policy that they won’t give you an offer number until you give them your current CTC numbers, so use your best judgement on when to divulge the numbers.
You have concrete data that a previous employee in a similar position had a much higher salary? Bring this up at the opportune time.
5. Aim for a win-win outcome
Not just “win”, but “win-win”! Why? Because it’s critical that both parties feel they have won. That’s the only way a fruitful, long term relationship can blossom. If you get the short end of the stick, you may get unmotivated on the job. If an employer feels like they overpaid, they may question their decision for some time to come. However, there’s nothing quite like you both feeling that you nailed it and got an incredible deal!
6. Do mock negotiations: Find a friend or a partner, come up with role-play situations where you both need to negotiate with each other, and practice over a cup of coffee! It’s fun and it makes you more at ease during the real thing.
Settling for a compensation or title may seem temporary, but it has long lasting consequences throughout our professional careers, and very obviously, it can deeply affect our finances over the course of our lifetime. Be ready to walk away if you’re not satisfied with the results – and while this sounds hard and daunting, in a lot of cases, it might be the right thing to do.