By the time an employer makes you a job offer, they have done their due diligence, checked your references, interviewed you (sometimes several times), and evaluated your resume and skills. They have discussed and determined your competencies, value proposition, and relevancy to the goals of the business and the team.
The job offer typically reflects what they see as your current value to the company and takes into consideration market rates and budget. With all this in mind, the hiring manager is not thinking about what you need. Likely the hiring manger has prepared an offer package of salary, benefits, perks (possibly bonuses, stock options, car expense reimbursements, etc.) that reflect your worth to the company. When you receive this offer package – by phone, in person, or email – thank the sender, and let them know that you will strongly consider the offer and get back to them shortly. Rarely is it advisable that you accept the offer on the spot.
The Hiring Manager Wants You to Feel Good About the Offer
Hiring managers want candidates to feel good about job offers. To get you excited about the job and the company, they might even “sweeten the deal” by stretching in the compensation or perks offered to get you excited about the job and the company.
Focus on Your Worth, Not Your Needs
If you try out what you believe you are worth at the offer negotiation, you missed the point of the interview process. From your initial contact with the employer, to your resume, cover letter, interviews, thank you notes, and follow up conversations, you should be communicating your worth and value. To leave your value proposition to the end of the process is a misstep.
The employer is concerned with your value, not your needs. The hiring manager’s responsibility is to their employer, not to you and what you need to feed your family or your lifestyle. It is not advised to tell the hiring manager what you “need to live on.” If you bought a lavish car, live in an affluent neighborhood or have expensive taste in clothing, is not the hiring manager’s concern. They have a range of what the position pays for someone with the skills and experience to do the job and who will add exponential value to the company.
If You Still Want to Negotiate
If you feel compelled to negotiate the offer, perhaps to secure more salary, time off, benefits, or a more flexible schedule, remember that:
- The hiring manager likely presented to you their best offer given your skills, experience, talents, and value to the company, as they perceive it. You might be seen as “greedy” if you ask for salary that is outside of market rates and your experience.
- Industry rates matter. Be sure to look at market averages for the job and your skills, and highlight where and how you will add value to the business in terms of tangible results.
- Some hiring managers expect you to negotiate. They might offer a bit less, expecting to raise the value of their offer package when challenged.
- If the offer is vastly different from what you discussed in the interviews, it makes sense to list out what you believe was discussed and where gaps exist between the offer and that conversation.
Not every offer will be ideal. Consider the parameters the hiring manager has to work within, and remember that you can demonstrate your value when you’re on the job, hopefully improving your circumstances (and salary/benefits package) at the company over time.