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10 Tips for negotiating a job offer

Updated on April 7, 2013

A common misconception among candidates looking for their first job, or for a new job is- salary isn’t negotiable. Almost 90% of candidates accept the first salary offer they are made. They make no effort to negotiate the offer, because in their mind, it is not possible.

However, the truth is, if you have the skills, you can actually negotiate a job offer. Here are some tips that will help you negotiate a better job offer:

  1. Do not define your range at the beginning- Most interviews start with your expected salary. You are asked to define your expected range. Don’t fall in that trap. Avoid it by asking them instead for the salary band. If they are insistent, say something like “any reasonable offer suits me.” If they are insistent on a number, give them a number from the top end of your expected spectrum.
  2. When negotiating, avoid definitive answers- When you are negotiating a job offer, avoid giving answers in a simple yes or no. Instead, keep your options open. Reply with lines such as “we could work something out for sure.”
  3. Sell your uniqueness- Sell yourself to the organization. Clearly define what you bring to the table and what the company is bound to lose if they don’t hire you.
  4. Research and find out their weak points- Try and find an inside contact in an organization and get as much as information as possible about the role being offered. The role may have a high attrition rate, the company may be looking for a replacement urgently etc. Exploit these pain points to negotiate a higher offer.
  5. Trade- Sometimes, a higher job offer may not be possible, genuinely. However, you can still better the offer by trading. When you are settling for a lower offer, ask for the favor in return. Reduce your working hours, ask for more benefits, or anything else you could think of.
  6. Talk about money right before it is about to end- Instead of leaving salary issues for the very end, bring them up a little before the end. That ways, you will have some cards to play in order to negotiate.
  7. Listen more, talk less- A company isn’t going to listen to somebody who doesn’t listen to them. During the interview, try to listen more and talk less. Often, experts suggests the 70/30 rules- 70% listening and 30% talking.
  8. Gauge the supply and demand- Globally, there is an increasing dearth of quality engineers. Thus, engineers are in a position of negotiating a higher job offer. Gauge the supply and demand of your industry. A higher demand and lower supply means you are at an advantage.
  9. Never say no- When you are offered your final salary figure, do not refuse it straight away, although it may be lower than your expectations. Ask for a couple of days’ time. Analyze the offer and then get back to them. You never know, it might be a good offer.
  10. Exploit chinks- Some organizations may have their offices in one corner of the city, which may require a whole lot of commute time. Others may have graveyard shifts. Exploit such chinks to negotiate a better job offer. After all, you will making sacrifices in your lifestyle and you are entitled to negotiate.

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