Learn how to prepare clarifying questions and give a counter offer. You often have only once chance to negotiate a job offer. Learn what questions to ask when you want to negotiate salary bonus and other benefits. How do you get more information on the value of benefits like medical and retirement? Practice making counter negotiation statements when you want more paid time off or a flexible schedule.
- Are you excited about your job offer, but hoping there's a little wiggle room on the salary? Or maybe after looking at the details you're confused with some of the terms. It's time to prepare to negotiate. Since it's likely that you'll only get one shot at negotiating the terms of your offer, I've found it to be most effective to ask all of my questions at once. This means before you respond to the company, you should be prepared with one list containing all of your questions and counterpoints.
In some cases practicing actual counter negotiation points can be especially helpful. Let's start with the most common questions asked at this stage in the process. Can the base salary or bonus be increased? What's the value of the medical or retirement benefits? Is there any opportunity for flexible work arrangements? What happens if I already have a vacation planned that exceeds the amount of paid time off offered? Let's take a look at each question and talk through what you might say when it comes time to negotiate.
The first question is can the base salary or bonus be increased? Do you believe you should be paid at a higher rate? If your market research indicates there's room to negotiate here, a good counter negotiation strategy is a yes or no question. For example, you can say, "I'm really excited to work here "and I know I'll bring a lot of value. "I appreciate the offer at $60,000, "but was really expecting to be in the $68,000 range "based on my experience and past achievements.
"Can we look at a salary of $68,000 for this position?" Another strategy is to inquire about future opportunities to increase it. You can ask, "When will I be eligible to be reviewed "after I start?" For example, if the salary isn't negotiable now, but the review process is in six months, then you'll be eligible for a raise at that time. Then you may decide you're okay with the salary offer as it is. If a bonus is being offered, are you unsure how predictable it will be? You can ask some clarifying questions to gauge the likelihood of what you'll receive.
I like to ask what the bonus program has paid out in the last two years for this role. Also, if by accepting this offer you're walking away from a bonus payout with your current employer, you can ask if the company is willing to add a sign-on bonus in good faith to make up for your potential loss. The second question was what's the value of the medical or retirement benefits? Are you confused about the real value of the benefits like medical, retirement matching, or life insurance? Since every company has a unique set of benefits, it can be confusing to understand if they'll cost you more or less than what you currently have, or what another employer might offer.
I advise people to ask to speak to someone who administers the company benefits program to better understand what these programs look like in real financial terms. For example, if you're planning on your medical benefits to cover family members, then you would want to calculate what this coverage costs and what the benefits are. Or if you're receiving a 401K match from the company, is it less, more, or the same than what you're currently receiving? The third question is is there any opportunity for flexible work arrangements? Are you concerned about your commute or amount of time you may spend in the office? In this case, you can ask if the company allows for flexible work arrangements.
For example, if by taking this position your commute is longer than it currently is, you can ask if you can work one day a week from home to save on gas and time. The fourth question is what happens if I already have a vacation planned that exceeds the amount of paid time off I was offered? Let's say you already have a vacation planned, but by accepting this new offer won't have earned enough time to be paid under the policy. You should ask if you'll be taking the time unpaid, or if the company can waive it as a part of your acceptance, or even allow you to carry a negative paid time off balance.
This is your final chance to get clear on what you want to accept an offer and what would make you walk away. Once you've had a chance to evaluate each element of the offer, you should have a list of questions and counterpoints. Once of the biggest mistakes I see people do at this stage of the process is contact the employer with a series of calls and emails as they think of questions and counterpoints. This can not only confuse the other party, but confuse you as well.
By being prepared and clear with what you truly need to accept the offer and what's simply a nice to have, you can greatly reduce the stress you may feel and make it easier for the company to find ways to make you happy so you can say yes.
- Researching the position and salary range
- Asking for what you want
- Receiving and evaluating an offer
- Negotiating salary: tactics and myths
- Negotiating in special situations
- Giving notice at your old job