Why Negotiate?

negotiateIf you don’t ask, the answer is always, “no”.

This blog could end with that, however, there are a few other compelling reasons to negotiate a job offer before you accept.

I’m always a little surprised when job seekers settle for the initial offer.  When asked why, the most common reasons for not negotiating include: 1) “I was afraid they would reneg on the offer”, and 2) “I was pretty happy with the first offer.

To date, I’ve never heard of a single case where an offer was taken off of the table for politely asking if there was any flexibility.  And, even if the initial offer is more than you expected, would you (or your partner or kids) be less happy if you earned 10% more each month?

The truth is, talking about money is uncomfortable.  But, is 10 minutes of potential discomfort worth $5000 or more to you?

I’m guessing yes.

Even beyond the financial gain, there are other reasons to negotiate.  In particular, the salary discussion is your first opportunity to have an important conversation with your new Manager.  Assuming that you accept the job, chances are there will be many situations where you need to ask for what you want or get support from your boss.  The salary negotiation can be an early chance to see if your new Manager will go to bat for you, which can be helpful data when you’re making an important decision such as where you will spend 50 hours/week for the next few years.

Moreover, in some fields – Sales for one – it can be detrimental NOT to negotiate your job offer.  After all, negotiating and influencing are likely key skills needed to be successful in your new role, so the Hiring Manager may be concerned if you skip over this anticipated part of the hiring process.

Still need more convincing?  Take a moment to think about your long-term earning potential in this new role.  All of your future raises, bonuses, merit increases, etc. will likely be calculated based on your starting salary.  It’s much harder to get a large bump in base pay once you are on the inside.

Lastly, negotiations don’t need to only focus on your paycheck.  You can negotiate extra vacation time, relocation dollars, travel perks, virtual work days, tuition reimbursement, parking costs, association dues, etc., etc., etc.   Think about what is most meaningful to you or what would leave you with more money in your pocket at the end of each month (e.g., if the company pays for your cell phone, that could be $1500 per year that you can spend on other things).

The bottom line (no pun intended) is that your new employer wants you to come aboard motivated and happy.  After all – out of all of the candidates, they chose YOU.  A few thousand dollars may be negligible to them, but may mean the world to you.  So take 10 minutes to start off your next job on a win-win.

Happy negotiating!

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