Job Q&A: I just received a job offer but was hoping it would be for more money. What is your advice for negotiating and how far should I push?
This is a great question but, unfortunately, you might be asking it too late in the process. Ideally, the topic of compensation is discussed early in the hiring process so that both you and the hiring manager are on the same page (at least in regards to range of compensation) and you don’t end up in the end with a number that doesn’t work for you and potentially wasting a lot of your time (and theirs).
That said, let’s look at where you are today and what your options might be. First, thank the hiring manager for giving you the offer. You have risen above other candidates to her first choice and she is placing a big bet with you joining her team/company … this should not be taken lightly.
Second, let her know that you want to take some time to review the offer and make sure it is the right move for you as well. If they are not willing to give you time to think about it, you probably don’t want to work for them anyway.
Now for the tricky part; if you are not used to negotiating, it might feel a bit uncomfortable to you, but entering a new job is really the only significant time you will have the leverage to get more. Once you are in the company, your compensation will be up to your boss and the company’s policies. Most cost-of-living increases are around 3 percent of your salary so now is the time to ask for what you want.
Ultimately, you will need to figure out what is important to you, and what you might be willing to give up. Is it just the money, or do things like vacation time or the ability to have a flexible schedule matter to you as well (which are sometimes easier to give because they are not cash based). Regardless, figure out what you really want and ask for it. While you are in the process of negotiating, you should restate any points you have made about the value you can bring to the company that might encourage the hiring manager to give you more. Another idea, though less common, is to offer to do a project prior to taking the offer that will show your value in a tangible way.
Finally, if the money is a deal-breaker for you, know what your “walk away” number is. New York is a deal-makers city so don’t be surprised if the hiring manager wants to negotiate with you as well.