You did it. You finally got a job offer. Whether you’re fresh out of school or you’ve been searching for months, this is an exciting moment. Now comes the tricky part: negotiation. Keep your poker face on, and get down to brass tax. It’s time to talk moolah. It may be tempting to just jump up and down and scream and laugh and accept the offer no matter what, but trust me: it will be way better for you in the long run if you stop and negotiate a job offer before you accept. Here’s why:
1. They chose you
This is not an interview anymore. You’ve been selected by them. They want you to work for them, and they’ve already made that decision. Yes, you could still change their mind by behaving terribly, but odds are you have a pretty solid foot in the door at this point. Keeping this in mind is the first step to understanding the leverage you already have.
2. This makes you more than just “the new hire”
By showing that you’re comfortable enough and confident enough to negotiate a job offer, you’re establishing yourself as a force to be reckoned with. Instead of just being the next new hire, you’re someone who already has some level of power and credibility.
3. This’ll be your last chance for a while
You’re not going to be up for a raise or a promotion any time within the first year of your hiring. In fact, it could even be five years before your salary or position are discussed again outside of cost of living raises. You need to take advantage of your opportunity! If you don’t up your wage now, you won’t be able to up it for a while.
4. It puts you on a better path down the line
It’s simple trajectory. By starting higher, the numbers above that become even more attainable. If you start making $40,000 and later ask for a 5% raise to $42,000, you’re a lot more likely to get it than a $37,500 employee asking for over 11%. Percentages are exponential, so you need to start as high as possible. If you don’t, you could be costing yourself thousands over your career.
5. Their first offer is their worst offer
This is true of any negotiation. The first offer is the standard offer that they are willing to give to any old yokel who walks in the door. They chose to hire you because you were the best of the candidates. Now think, what if you were better than what they were expecting to get? If they can afford to pay the rate their offering to some hypothetical employee they hadn’t met yet, it’s definitely not the max that they have to offer. Use this knowledge to your advantage: there is way more money there than they’re showing.
6. You can use this for leverage somewhere else
First of all, you should never just be applying for one job at a time. Hiring managers can smell desperation from a mile away. But if the first place to give you an offer is by no means your first choice, it may not seem worth it to spend time and effort negotiating if you think you’ll end up rejecting the position. This is the opposite of true. For one thing, by negotiating with the non-optimal company, you have a leveraging piece for your first choice job. “Oh XX Company, I’d love to accept, but YY is offering me $XX,XXX so I just don’t think I can afford to turn that down for so little…” Additionally, when you come back to the second tier company you’re thinking of rejecting, they may offer you even more money! By playing two places off of each other you’re setting yourself up for success.
7. Negotiating prevents complacency
It can be so easy to just take the first offer and be happy you have a job at all. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for complacency, lack of ambition and future failure. By working your way up initially and choosing to negotiate a job offer, you are getting yourself ready to do very well later on.
8. There’s no harm in asking
If you’re wondering why you should negotiate, ask yourself “why not?” It’s not as if they’ll rescind the offer the second you ask for something more. The worst they can say is that they can’t offer any more money. In that case, at least you tried and you still get some of the leg-up perks of perspective discussed earlier. Contrary to what you might think, hiring managers will respect you much more for negotiating. In many fields, failing to negotiate is looked down upon. You’ll be seen as weak and unmotivated, and this may cause people to think that they can walk over you later on.
9. 37% of people negotiate
If you’re afraid that you’re gonna be that one hard-ass being greedy and grubbing for money, stop your worrying. Even in an office of 10 people, odds are that three others already negotiated their starting offer. You’re not alone here.
9a. Only 37% of people negotiate
Think about that! You’re going to be one of the minority who is already way ahead of their co-workers, and way ahead of where you would be if you hadn’t decided to negotiate a job offer. You’re setting yourself up to be among the top 37% of the most successful people wherever you are.
10. Why settle?
You know that there first offer is the minimum. Why settle for that? You deserve better than that. If they’re trying to hire you, then they already agree with that. Use this knowledge to boost your confidence, and subsequently your negotiating ability. You’ve got this. You are worth this. Go get it.