Let’s say you finally landed a great job offer after six months of searching and the salary is decent - it’s about what you expected and you’d really take anything at this point because you really need a job. Should you negotiate your job offer? Yes.
Now let’s imagine you just got an offer at a company you’re obsessed with for a job you’ve always wanted. To top it all off, the compensation is even higher than you expected. Should you negotiate your job offer? Yes.
Ok, but what if you…. Actually, it doesn’t matter.
No matter what your scenario is, the answer to the question “Should I negotiate my job offer?” is always:
Let's go a little deeper.
The interview process is the time for you to sell yourself and get the company excited to have you on their team. It’s not the best time to negotiate hard. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't talk about compensation at all, but it shouldn't be a focal point. For example, you may be asked something like, "What are your salary expectations?".
Once the hiring manager has made up their mind that you are the right person for the job, thought through the compensation package, and given you the offer, THEN it’s time for you to advocate for higher compensation.
They have invested a lot in you at this point and they have decided that you're what they are looking for! The hiring manager, and everyone else involved in the process, devoted time and energy to try to bring you onboard. They’re also humans who have emotions, so they’ve likely gotten their personal hopes up and are excited to have you on their team.
This gives you leverage to negotiate because the company wants to make this work with you. If you don't accept, they have to do a ton of work to re-evaluate the less qualified candidates and go through the offer extension process again. They don't want to do this!
When you land a new job, you have a rare opportunity to set yourself up for a more lucrative long-term compensation trajectory. Starting a new job is simply the best time to secure a higher compensation package.
The most common hesitation people have to negotiating their compensation package is they don’t want to rub their new manager or employer the wrong way. After all, you could come across as greedy, argumentative, or ungrateful, right? Not if you approach it the right way.
In fact, employers expect candidates to negotiate. They usually give themselves some wiggle room for this by giving an initial offer that’s lower than they can realistically go. They’re waiting for you to negotiate!
Take advantage of this opportunity to not only earn more income, but also to practice a skill that will pay off (pun intended!) long-term. As you progress throughout your career the stakes will become higher and higher, and you’ll want to have practiced these conversations so you feel confident and comfortable.
When evaluating your job offer, and thinking about how to approach the negotiation, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about base salary. Consider your entire compensation package. This includes your base salary as well as annual bonuses, signing bonuses, relocation, and benefits. There’s a lot of factors that contribute to your overall compensation package which gives you the opportunity to creatively ask for a package you feel really good about.
Base salary is the hardest part of a package to negotiate. If you’re nervous about asking for a higher salary or truly don’t feel like you warrant a higher salary, have a conversation about the other factors that contribute to your compensation. A one-time bonus or financial support for relocation are relatively easy for a company to give - you have a higher likelihood of a successful negotiation if you focus on those.