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How to Negotiate The Wage You Want For That Perfect Job Offer

Updated on March 17, 2013

You've finally received an offer and it feels like the perfect job. It has all the elements you wanted in a job; independence, responsibility, an opportunity to learn, a fast-paced environment, and great people to work for. So what's the problem?

The only problem you have with the offer is the wage that has been offered. So now what?

Delay your decision! Ask the prospective employer for a little time to consider the offer. Explain that you want this to be a win/win for both of you and you want to make sure you are making the right decision. When the offer is on the table there are a few things to remember that may help you get the job and the money.

  1. Keep your personal finances out of the discussion. The employer doesn't care that your monthly expenses total $2500 when they offer you $2200 per month.
  2. Don't automatically accept and settle for less than you are worth. Ask for some time to consider the offer with a promise to let them know in a reasonable amount of time.
  3. Don't reject the offer too quickly. You need time to clear your head and sort out your financial needs from personal greed.

Put It On Paper

We've all heard of or used plus/minus or positive/negative comparison list to weigh the good and bad of a situation. It works for a job offer too so get a pad of paper and a pen and lets go to work. It's time to put it on paper.

Make yourself two columns on a piece of paper. Label one column "Positive" and one column "Negative". Now, list the things you like about the job under the "Positive" header and the things you don't like under the "Negative" header.

If there are more items in the positive column, it's time to plan your negotiation for a better wage.

Non-Salary Perks as Wage Altenatives

Most employers are leary of offering higher wages because it doesn't stop there. They not only pay you but they have to pay the payroll taxes too. It's easy to understand their concern.

There may however be alternative ways to get what you need financially for your own security but you may need to give it a different name. The potential employer may consider one or more of the following as a means to bridge the gap in your salary expectation and their offer.

Car expense account/travel account

  • Sign-on bonus
  • Guaranteed performance bonus at a designated time
  • Extra vacation time
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Gym membership
  • Paid Internet service
  • Cell Phone
  • A "work from home" day each week

These are all non-salary perks that an employer might consider to bridge the gap between your salary expectation and their offer. Pick one or two that would provide the best benefit for you and plan your strategy for negotiating.

You Won't Know Unless You Ask

If you really want the job and the only thing holding you back is the wage, then you owe it to yourself to push forward. If the employer has made you an offer, then they already have a vision of you in the position. You're almost there.

It's time to schedule a meeting to negotiate. Make sure your attitude is in the right place. Be positive and enthusiastic about the job. Don't forget body language. An employer knows when you're on the defense. Look on the bright side. The worst that can happen is that you have to walk away because they either don't think you're worth it or, they simply can't pay what you need to take the job. There's no harm in asking.

When you meet to negotiate, just be yourself. Be friendly and cheerful and explain why you think you are worth more. Be reasonable though. Don't claim skills that you don't have.

Negotiating doesn't always work but it can and sometimes does, make the difference. Go for it!

© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.


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  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks for the comment and the advice, fpherj48. And, congratulations to you for having the confidence and wisdom to take the job. Like you, I am confident in my abilities and my work ethic. Unfortunately, this company was very small with almost zero growth potential. Otherwise, I would have jumped right in.

  • fpherj48 profile image

    Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

    Irc7815.......I can answer this quite easily, since I found myself in this dilemma about 22 years ago. However, 22 yrs ago, jobs were not scarce and the cost of living not as ludicrous as now.

    It was not a question, at the time, for me, whether to accept the offer, but as you make clear in your hub, I did take the time and effort to negotiate the non-salary perks. These ARE just as attractive as a higher salary offer, since they represent money left in YOUR purse.

    Ultimately, the negotiations paid off and I went on board.

    Think about this, if you will. What this new employer did not know, that I did, was the fact that I am so confident in my talent, work ethic and productivity, it would not be long at all before I would be offered a raise and/or a promotion. (Do not consider this horn-blowing....I simply know my worth and where it is strongest.)

    Long story, short....within 6 months, the Big Kahuna himself, offered me the position of a lifetime.....

    My point is, keep in mind, this could happen to you.. Take the offer!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks FSlovenec. I appreciate your reading and your comments. So often we leave ourselves at the mercy of others rather than making our own destiny.

  • FSlovenec profile image

    Frank Slovenec 5 years ago from San Francisco, CA

    There is no harm in true!! Too many people accept the position at the lower rate or walk away without asking, then they are either dissatisfied in the job or they will always wonder whether it could have worked out...good advice..let people know what you want/need.

  • kellyteam profile image

    Willette 5 years ago from Michigan

    You are most welcome.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Hi kellyteam! Thanks for the vote up. I'm a list girl, for sure. Thanks for reading!

  • kellyteam profile image

    Willette 5 years ago from Michigan

    Hi lrc7815. Good tips. Making a list is always helpful. When I do I get more done. Voted up and useful.

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thanks Glimmer Twin. It has helped me for sure. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

    Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

    Great tips for the job seeker. I think the list positive/negative list is the best way. Seeing things in black and white really helps me. Good hub!

  • lrc7815 profile image

    Linda Crist 5 years ago from Central Virginia

    Thank you tammyswallow. It is a tough market out there today for certain. I appreciate your comment too. Feel free to critique anything you read of mine. It helps me become better. :-)

  • tammyswallow profile image

    Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

    These are some great tips. In this economy it is hard to turn down any decent offer, but taking such a job can hurt in the long run. So much to consider. Great hub!