How to Negotiate a Job Offer

Shaun Enders

Whether you’re landing your first job or your third, you want to be prepared to negotiate the job offer you receive. You could be leaving a lot of money on the table if you choose not to negotiate. For entry-level employees, some research suggests that failing to negotiate just $5,000 more for your starting salary could equate to a loss of over $600,000 throughout a career. That’s a lot of money that you could be putting to good use through the years. And experienced hires who fail to negotiate a job offer could also be leaving a lot of money on the table.

In addition to salary, there are several other factors to consider when reviewing and negotiating a job offer. It could be that additional paid time off is more important to you than that extra $5,000, or maybe a bonus is on the table that makes the base salary acceptable when you take benefits into account. What matters is that you don’t settle for less than what you feel you can live with when you accept a job.

Here are some negotiation musts to help you get the most out of your job offer.

Apply Research to Back Up Your Request

You want to go into any conversation about a job offer equipped with research to support your case. Do your homework to determine what other companies in your industry and market are offering for the type of job you’re discussing. Think about not only salary but bonuses and benefits, as well.

Researching job boards are great options to get a decent idea of the salary range and benefits offered. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook can also provide you with the typical pay range and job outlook for your job title. Further, when working with a recruiting and placement firm, they will work with you to determine a fair ask in a job offer based on market research and your work experience. At Transition Staffing Group, we will always advocate on your behalf for the best possible compensation package.

Share Your Value and Worth

In addition to knowing how much the job is worth, you must be clear about your worth and what you bring to the table. Make your case as to why you’re more qualified and the best candidate for the job than the competition.

When have you stood out? What projects have you completed? If you can provide quantifiable examples of your successes, it helps the employer visualize what you bring to the table.

As an experienced hire, you can look back on performance reviews to identify achievements to share. For entry-level hires, reflecting on successes in part-time jobs, extracurricular activities, and class projects are options to determine note-worthy achievements.

Consider the Entire Compensation Package and Prioritize

Although most people think about negotiating salary when a job offer is presented, there are many other options to negotiate. For example, consider PTO, vacation, sick leave, bonus payouts, stock options, benefits, and flexible work arrangements.

Prioritize what is most important to you and what you consider deal breakers. For example, it’s not uncommon for candidates to accept less pay for a better benefits package and more paid time off. Or maybe having a remote or hybrid work environment option is crucial for you, and you would accept a job with less pay for a job that offers such flexibility. Also, some employers have more flexibility when negotiating items like time off vs. base pay due to budget constraints, so you might come to a happy medium you can both appreciate when you’re willing to negotiate items beyond salary.

Clearly Communicate What You Want

When you sit down with a hiring manager, you want to come across as confident and clear in your desires. You’ll be better equipped to identify what you’re willing to accept by taking the time to clarify and communicate what you want. Further, clearly communicating will support your negotiation efforts by helping the company assess what they can and cannot offer based on your preferences.

Choose Not to Settle

Of course, you’ll get all of your job offer wants in an ideal world. However, when that’s not possible, being clear on your priorities will help you make a final decision. What’s crucial is that you develop a plan to negotiate your job offer, so you don’t sell yourself short or settle for less than what’s possible. And, you won’t know what is possible unless you ask and speak up for yourself.

Transition Staffing Group is an award winning San Diego based staffing agency providing solutions on a Temporary, Temporary-to-Hire and Direct Hire basis. Through our affiliate network, we have offices in 40+ metropolitan areas, staffed by over 250 specialized recruiters. TSG offers a national reach, with local job market expertise.