Monday, December 29, 2008
Don't Forget That Even in This Job Market, You Can Still Negotiate a Job Offer
If you've ever been out of work, you know the feeling when the job offer finally comes. You want to scream, cry, kiss the feet of the hiring manager and dance in the streets. You're a wild mix of emotions and yet it's never been more important that you think clearly and put your brain in charge.
It's time to negotiate.
Now, some people may think that there's no room for negotiation in this job market. But that's what employers want you to think. The truth is, many of them are going to low ball you because they think they can. But if they have gone to the trouble to wade through the resumes they're being bombarded with, if you've risen to the top with all that tough competition out there, then they want you. Really want you.
That gives you some leverage. But the trick in this job market is knowing how to use that to your advantage so that you don't look like an arrogant jerk and start off your new job on the wrong foot. The other point to consider is that you may get a fair offer right off the bat. If you've done your research, you know what you're worth. In that case, you may be very comfortable accepting their initial offer, and everyone shakes on it.
But if you get an offer you believe could use some improvement, it's time to move onto negotiation. If that's the case, here are some things to consider:
* Do your homework. Have your facts and figures in place about what you want. Make a list (in order of importance) of the things that really matter to you -- debating anything else is a waste of time and energy. When the employer tosses out the initial offer, don't be afraid to say: "Is there a chance that you could offer a higher number?" if you know from your research that the salary is not competitive.
* Practice. Just as you would with any presentation, it's important that you make eye contact, have a well-modulated, calm voice and display confident body language. Even if you're negotiating over the phone, your confidence and calm will be evident.
* Be realistic. Things you may have deemed important a year ago may be off your list now. Be realistic about this job market, about the things you really require in order to be happy in the job. If you accept an offer that makes you feel like a martyr then you're going to be miserable in a matter of months -- and be looking for another job. Sure, the employers have more of the power in this market -- but when haven't they? It's a rare case when an employer is willing to give into all of a job candidate's demands.
* Stay strong. If there comes a point in the negotiation that you feel strongly about and the employer appears to have dug in as well, don't rush to concede. Be content to stay silent and see if the employer is willing to speak first -- that usually bodes well for you. Silence can be a very effective tool for getting what you want.
* Take a breath. After concluding your negotiation and agreeing on final points, ask if you can have a day to look it over so that you make sure you review the offer carefully.
What are some other things to consider when negotiating a job offer?