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Negotiating Job offers

  The importance of negotiating job offers.

  1. Points in Negotiating Job Offers
    1. Importance of Negotiating a Job Offer Once you have received a job offer, you have more "power" now than at any other time in the interviewing process. Aside from the main goal of making the right decision, a lot can be gained or lost from the way you negotiate your offer.
    2. Characteristics of Receiving a Job Offer
      1. Time - An offer can arrive anywhere from one day to six weeks after your second or third interview. Occasionally employers will give you the offer at their final interview.
      2. Impressions Still Count - Continue to make a good impression when the offer arrives. It is important to let employers know you are pleased to receive an offer, but do not let them hear you announce to your roommate or significant other that "I got the job!" On the other hand, don't make a negative impression with employers by telling them how sought after you are and how many other offers you have already received.
      3. Clarify the Offer - Be clear on all the factors that make up the offer. Get the following information before you get off the phone with the employer:
        • Salary
        • Location
        • Reporting date
        • Travel or relocation expenses offered
        • Signing bonus (if any)
        • When they need your answer
      4. Negotiate Time of Decision - Don't accept the job offer on the spot. Although you may have already been considering the possible offer, you need time to evaluate all the factors of this decision. Remember not to be star struck by the excitement of the offer. Be prepared to negotiate when you can give the employer your decision. Have a date in mind when you can give the employer your decision prior to receiving an offer so you won't get caught off guard. Employers know you are interviewing with other organizations and will appreciate your being honest and careful about your decision.
  2. Factors that may be negotiated
    Remember you have nothing to negotiate until you have an offer. However, once you receive an offer, it is important that you consider all the possible factors that could be negotiated.
    1. Salary to certain limits. The offered salary may or may not be negotiable; it may or may not be a fair offer. Prior to negotiating this factor, research salaries offered in your field by geographical location, experience, degree level, major, and previous offers. You will often find that the salary an employee receives varies greatly from job to job, employer to employer, and from one region of the country to another.
    2. Location of position. There are many differences between working in one city or another. Take the time to check out the geographic area of your new position. Does the community offer you the lifestyle you are looking for? Do you have the option to choose the location of the job? With some positions, negotiating where you will live can make the difference in accepting a job or not.
    3. Reporting date. Depending on the organization and your job, some employers might be able to offer a flexible starting date. If you have ever dreamed of backpacking or cycling through Europe, now may be the time, or maybe you just want to take some time off to relax; remember, now is an opportunity to negotiate when you will begin your new job. Appraisal reviews. Depending on your job, some employers may give bonuses for job performance. Often these salary increases are attached to your appraisal reviews. If the organization incorporates this type of appraisal system it might be possible to ask for an earlier review to increase your earnings sooner than normal. Relocation expenses/signing bonuses. Some employers may provide relocation benefits to help you move to the community where the employer is located. This may include travel to the community to look for a home or apartment, mortgage assistance, cost of moving possessions/car, and/or hotel/food expenses until you are settled. It may also be in the form of a signing bonus, which is simply an agreed upon amount of money given to you at the time of your acceptance of the offer. If an employer does not present these benefits, you might want to consider negotiating for them. Division/department you want to work in. In general, not all jobs are created equal within an organization. Find out as much as possible about your options before you accept an offer. If you decide that certain divisions appeal to you more than others, let it be known before you sign. Your specific work assignment might be a factor that can be negotiated.
  3. Making the Right Decision
    Making the right decision involves a host of factors. At the very least, individuals should look at job offers as they relate to their individual, family, and career goals.
    1. Individual Needs/Goals - Does this job match your interests, values, skills, and beliefs? Does it provide you with the lifestyle, prestige, independence, creativity, security, altruism, and economic returns you are looking for in a job?
    2. Family Goals - Does this job accommodate your needs and lifestyle preference with regard to your family? Is the geographical location conducive to you and your family's hobbies, community activities, and social support groups?
    3. Career Goals - Is the nature of the employer, the job's pay and benefits, and the work activities what you are looking for in a job? What is the employer's reputation? Is the training program attractive and comprehensive? Does the organization provide advancement and mentoring opportunities? Will you be given significant responsibility? Are the surroundings and people pleasant? Is there job security? Does it offer room for professional, personal, and educational growth? Is the salary adequate for your needs? How does the benefit package compare to those of other employers?
    4. Use Effective Decision Making - It is suggested that you evaluate each offer based on the same set of factors to determine which one best meets your needs. Remember only you can decide what factors are important to you; what is important to one person isn't necessarily important to someone else.
  • Negotiating the Offer
    1. Decide Your Conditions - It is important to determine what you want from the offer, but it is also important to know the minimum you will take from an offer. Create a plan that will allow flexibility. For example, if you ask for more salary but the organization cannot offer more money, would you be willing to take a signing bonus instead? Remember, you only have one opportunity to get the most from this offer so thoroughly plan prior to any negotiation.
    2. Negotiate with One Organization - Only negotiate with one organization at a time. Don't spend time and energy negotiating with the organization that is your second or third choice until it is clear that your first choice is no longer an option.
    3. Call Early - If you make your decision early, by all means call the organization and begin negotiations. The earlier you negotiate the more likely that the organization has not filled all of their positions and could be more inclined to negotiate with you.
    4. Maintain Your Professionalism - Too many candidates make the mistake of becoming too laid back after they've received an offer. Remember, the person you are negotiating with may be your supervisor or at the very least your colleague.
    5. Make a Decision - Be prepared to make a decision once the organization has stated their final offer. It is not appropriate to try to hold out for more time or another offer.
    6. Commit Fully - No matter whether it was a hard decision or not, let your employer know that you're with them 100 percent. No one wants someone to work for them who acts like they would rather be somewhere else.
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    8. The Final Step - Decline/Acceptance Letters
      1. Decline Letters. Declining an offer should be done in writing and as soon as you accept another position. This is an important step because you may need this contact later on, so never burn your bridges.
      2. Acceptance Letters. Acceptance letters are extremely important in restating your understanding of the offer. Remember to include the following:
          • Salary
          • Starting date and time
          • Location
          • Any perks, signing bonuses, etc. that were negotiated
          • Any other factors that you feel were vague or were not in writing
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