We may be afraid the employer will withdraw the offer or find us ungrateful or arrogant.
Or we don’t really know why we don’t negotiate. “I just can’t see myself doing it!”
Before you decide “I can’t” or “It doesn’t make sense in this economy,” please take a moment to think about it.
(My hope is that this post will motivate you by showing you why you should negotiate. In a post later this week I’ll explore the how, including a simple formula for the negotiation discussion.)
1. Because it’s not just about your initial paycheck. Future raises will be a percentage of that. The same may be true for bonuses and benefits. And future employers will ask about your salary history.
2. Because any aspect of the job may be negotiable. Do you want to telecommute one or more days a week? Leave early for classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays? This is your best opportunity to get adjustments in any aspect of the job. These are concessions an employer can make regardless of the economy and the budget.
3. Because it’s safer than you may think. Once they’ve made a firm offer – preferably in writing – very few employers will withdraw it just because the candidate made a reasonable attempt to negotiate. The worst that’s likely to happen is that they won’t budge.
4. Because many employers expect you to negotiate, and may respect you more for doing so. They often plan for it, leaving “wiggle room” above their initial offer. Negotiating shows you are a savvy professional with confidence in the value you bring.
5. Because assertiveness and negotiation are important on-the-job skills. This is especially true in management, sales, human resources, project management, anything involving vendors, etc. – and potentially in any job. Demonstrate these relevant skills!
6. Because you don’t have to feel totally confident to succeed in it. Confidence helps, but negotiating nervously is better than not doing it at all. The mere fact that you’re negotiating shows that you mean business.
7. Because if you’ve never negotiated salary before, you’re going to feel a great sense of empowerment once you do!
How to negotiate?
In my next post, I’ll go beyond the usual tips about researching how much you’re worth, etc., to lay out a simple, step-by-step framework for opening and conducting negotiations once you have an offer in hand.
Be prepared in advance, because an offer will happen!