New Job: Negotiation

Congrats on getting the offer! Take a minute to brush the imaginary dust off your shoulder. Now, time to negotiate. If that word made you cringe, you’re not alone. According to, 59% of employees didn’t try to negotiate when offered their current job, 52% of those employees were men and 68% of them were women. Often, people don’t negotiate because they just don’t know how to strategically. If a person lacks confidence during the negotiation process, they likely won’t get what they’re asking. That’s why it’s so important to learn how to properly negotiate. And it’s not only salary that’s on the line, consider benefits and your self-worth when beginning negotiations.

With salary, it’s best to decide on your walk-away number. You don’t have to tell the employer the number, but it’s good to settle on it privately for yourself as negotiations begin. Your walk-away number is the number the employer must offer, or you’ll walk away. We all have a number our employer needs to meet for us to simply live. Your walk-away number should be a little more than that. Mind you, the walk-away number is not your goal. The goal is to get more, which is why you should keep it to yourself. To expand on that, if the employer can’t reach that number, it’s okay to walk away. There’s another opportunity out there. As Forbes plainly puts it, “You’re negotiating your salary for you.”
When negotiating anything, it’s best to put it in writing. Negotiate through email, especially if you’re new to it. With email, you can edit it and employers won’t be able to hear the anxiety in your voice if you’re not confident enough with the process just yet. Most importantly, always show gratitude to the hiring manager for extending the offer and enthusiasm for the job. While asking for more is necessary, and expected, it’s a great thing to show how much the existing offer means to you. Use the following script and adjust it for yourself:

Dear [Name],
Thank you for offering me the position of [job title]. I’m excited to [bring a certain skill to the team, or work on a certain project discussed during the interview].
Before I can accept, however, I would like to discuss the matter of compensation. [Reiterate accomplishments you can bring to the table if hired]. With my expertise and previously mentioned salary requirements, could we settle on [$$,$$$]?
[Use this paragraph to re-establish the value you’ll bring to the company and your enthusiasm for the opportunity].

Everything is on the table. Make a list of what’s important to you and what you need to in order to be happy at this new company. Monetary value given to an employee can be calculated by the benefits in addition to salary. For example, consider the cost of additional paid time off. However, money isn’t everything. The benefits offered can often be more important when deciding if the position is right for you than salary alone. Time, energy, and mental health are all spent as much as currency in our lifetime. These are things to consider during negotiations. So, you’re probably wondering what is up for negotiation. Some examples include: the ability to work from home, flexible work hours, repaying student loans or funding professional development or graduate school, and assistance with parental leave or childcare costs. All of these potential benefits could contribute to a more well-rounded work-life balance.
Once again, put these negotiations in writing. It’s alright to lay out these expectations during the interview process, but it’s best to email the negotiations back-and-forth to ensure it’s in writing before it makes it onto the offer letter. Your email could be a personalized version of the following:

Dear [Name],
Thank you, again, for this opportunity. I’m delighted to bring [name a certain skill-set] to the team.
[Use this paragraph to restate your previous position, how long you were with the company to showcase loyalty, and one or two major accomplishments you contributed].
While I am happy with the base salary, I am hesitant to accept the offer due to [hindrance on your life that a job perk could help with and introduce the benefit you’d like to negotiate].
[How this could benefit them as well, perhaps not costing them additional money]. I’m confident that we can come to a mutual agreement.

Lastly, keep in mind that accepting this position (with the negotiations included) is a mutual agreement. Therefore, the perks you’re asking for should provide benefit to both you and your new employer. Consider how a better work-life balance for you improves productivity for the company.

Know Your Worth
It’s important to remember that negotiations are expected after receiving a job offer. Not many employees understand that. More importantly, negotiating shows that you know your value. So, how do you discover what you’re worth? Do your research. What are the industry and city standards for salary for that job title? Be clear and honest about your skill-set and accomplishments that you can bring with you to improve the company’s business. Ask several questions about the job responsibilities and the company’s expectations. Having a better understanding of what you’re bringing to the table and what your day-to-day will be like increases your worth and, therefore, your options for negotiation.

You have the power to create your dream job. And don’t forget to include how providing each of these things to you will benefit THEM. Negotiation is first and foremost about arranging a mutually beneficial relationship between you and your future employer. For more career advice, keep following our blog, and continue to visit pdxMindShare for current job listings.