Last week a client called with the good news that they had received a good job offer from one of their most desirable employers. They were excited. I was happy, too. After getting beyond the (premature) celebration, my thoughts immediately turned to the next critical step in our process together: closing the deal!
In my previous post (Talking Money: Job Offer Negotiations Part 1), we discussed times when you may decide to accept a job offer without negotiating. I also suggested how to keep your negotiating options open until you receive a written job offer. In this article, let’s assume you have received a written job offer and managed to keep your options open for possible negotiations. What you need to do next is to evaluate the offer before proceeding with (or deciding not to proceed with) negotiations.
Here is an abbreviated version of the process I use in my practice. Answer these questions…
- Do I have any other job offers in hand, firmly pending, or possible? Your answer to this question may color your choices regarding pursuing the current offer or turning it down without any negotiations.
- What are the positives and negatives of this offer? Draw a line down the middle of a blank page and make an exhaustive list of the pros and cons.
- What are the three to five pros and cons that are most important? This forces you to ignore the smaller items and focus on what is truly important, both positive and negative.
- How strong or weak is my negotiating position? Your careful evaluation of your situational leverage can make the difference between gaining $10,000, $25,000, or much more annual income (or other benefits, such as vacation time) and blowing it. This is the linchpin consideration that you must evaluate to the best of your abilities.
- Based upon my negotiating position, how strongly, moderately, or weakly have I decided I will negotiate … if at all? You may decide at this point that you do not want to negotiate as there is always some risk associated with doing so.
If you believe you are in a good negotiating position and want to lobby for a better offer, then you need to decide what you will consider to be a satisfactory resolution, how and when you will conduct discussions, and with whom you will have such discussions. Here are some questions to guide you…
- Considering my top pros and cons I identified previously, what terms need to be changed to satisfy me and what specifically will make me happy? It is recommended you limit the number of terms (salary, bonus, vacation, etc.) to be discussed to two to four and that you quantify your goals (Increase salary from $75,000 to $85,000, etc.).
- How will I introduce my desires, in which order will I introduce them, and with whom will I discuss them? It is critical that you plan out your strategies and the process you will utilize.
I believe that a methodical, strategic approach to each step in your job search (and career) will provide you the best end results. That’s why I wrote Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!) as a modern replacement for the aging What Color Is Your Parachute.
The preceding questions will allow you to more strategically negotiate, when appropriate, your next job offer. What are your experiences with job offer negotiations, going well or going South? Please share your thoughts regarding how to produce better results in this area.
Richard Kirby is an executive career consultant, speaker on career strategies, and author of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!). Richard Kirby’s earlier experience includes managing engineering, human resources, marketing and sales teams for employers that ranged from a Fortune 100 to a VC-funded entrepreneurial startup. For the past 11 years at Executive Impact, Richard has helped hundreds of executives and professionals successfully navigate today’s transformed 21st century job market and achieve better employment for themselves. Richard’s expertise includes career assessments and goal setting, personal marketing/branding, resume enhancement, strategic networking and job interviewing, and “contrarian” job search methodologies. He is a Board Certified Coach (in career coaching) and a Certified Management Consultant (recognized by the ISO).