Negotiate Job Offer

Tips on Negotiating the Job Offer

February 22

As a general rule: when an offer is made, don’t accept it immediately. Take you time, reflect on it. Consider all pros and cons and put them in balance. Analyse the current offer and see points where to negotiate for a better deal. Most of the offers are not fixed in stone, regardless of what the recruiter might say.

Once you’ve been given a specific offer that includes details about salary, signing bonus, and stock options, you need to decide whether you’re satisfied with it. This shouldn’t be a snap decision — never accept an offer on the spot. Always spend at least a day thinking about important decisions like this; it’s surprising how much can change in a day. Dealing with Recruiter Pressures Recruiters often employ a variety of high-pressure tactics to get you to accept offers quickly. They may tell you that you must accept the offer within a few days if you want the job, or they may offer you an exploding signing bonus, a signing bonus that decreases by a fixed amount each day. Don’t let this bullying rush your decision. If the company really wants you (and it probably does if it made you an offer), then these limits and terms are negotiable, even when a recruiter claims they aren’t. You may have to go over the recruiter’s head and talk to your hiring manager if the recruiter refuses to be flexible. If these conditions really are non-negotiable, you probably don’t want to work for a rigid company full of bullies anyway.

There are situations when the salary  offer meets of exceeds your expectations. If this is the case, you’re all set and you should close this post. Because you’ve just opened this page, I assume that you’re still interested in the topic ;).

If, after careful considerations, you’re not completely happy with the salary offer, it’s the right time to try to negotiate. Almost every offer can be negotiated – to some extent. In many cases, people assume that offers are non-negotiable and reject offers without negotiation or accept offers they’re not pleased with.

Don’t reject an offer because of the monetary reasons without trying to negotiate. If you’re ready to walk, there is nothing to lose anyway. Try to negotiate even if the offer is in the range you expect to.

In fact, almost every offer is negotiable to some extent. As long as you are respectful and have reasonable demands, you will not lose an offer just because you tried to negotiate. But… what is reasonable?

There are few steps to consider:

Step 1: Focus next on WHY you want this job. Figure out what you really want and what is important for you. You might want to have flexibility, working from home of a flexible schedule, to reduce the time spent in the traffic therefore the location is important, more vacation days, signing bonus, better pay, more stock options, learning packages.

Step 2: Schedule a call with the person who gave the offer. Give some time for the person to prepare before having this discussion. Explain your case in a clear and simple way. Be honest – by means not arrogant  – and explain why you’re not completely happy with the offer. You might start with:

“Thank you for the offer / I am very pleased to have received the offer, I am having hard time (trouble) accepting it because .. is not competitive with my other offer or I know from discussions with my peers and other companies that this offer is below market rates.”

Possible reactions:

Scenario 1: If the negotiator asks  more details about the companies and the other offer, you are not obliged to answer. In fact, by not responding, increases the confidence level.

“Unfortunately I cannot disclose / I keep all my offer confidential, including yours, and I am sure that you will understand this.”  

Thanks the negotiator for his time and always conclude that you’re looking forward to hearing from him again.

Scenario 2: The negotiator might also ask what you have in mind, what offer would make you happy.


Scenario 3: The negotiator might also tell that the offer is non-negotiable.

In both cases, your response should be polite and respectful spelling out exactly your expectations, by giving the negotiator a chance to consider what you’ve said. The last one is often a hardball negotiation tactic.

Rarely a negotiator will change the offer on the spot. They will need to put in balance the current budget, options and your skills.

Be aware of the fact that many people find negotiation uncomfortable and also that is very common for people to accept the very first offer just to avoid this negotiation step. So, the chances for you to feel the same are high. Don’t be afraid as you don’t have anything to lose. Even in the case when you negotiate for as little as an annual increase of  $2000-$4000 consider it like this: If it takes you a 30 minutes phone call to increase the offer, you’ve made $4000-$8000 per hour. Even lawyers aren’t paid that much ;).

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