After resume screening, a few emails, and some interviews, you’ve almost reached the end of your job-hunting journey.

You’re one of the last few candidates—if not the only candidate—left standing. You’re excited that the job is within reach.

You’re already picturing what your first day on the job will be like. Except, there's one thing left to finalize—your job offer.

How do you negotiate a job offer and get what you want without seeming greedy or money-driven? Walking the tightrope between being eager to land the job and wanting to be compensated fairly can be tough. 

Two woman sitting in restaurant having a converstation, looking at laptop, smiling.
Two woman sitting in restaurant having a converstation, looking at laptop, smiling.

Try these tips while negotiating a job offer and how to do it as gracefully as possible.

1. state your salary expectations early

There’s a misguided belief that you shouldn’t discuss salary until your second interview. Here’s why that strategy doesn’t make sense: if you and your potential employer are too far apart on salary expectations, you’re wasting time and effort building a relationship headed nowhere.

Your salary is crucial to whether the ‘fit’ is right at any new job and should be discussed. If the salary doesn’t come up in conversation during your first interview, make it a point to ask when the interviewer asks if you have any questions. 

To avoid being too blunt, ask for a range; this allows both you and your potential employer some room to negotiate a job offer down the line.

If their proposed salary range is below your expectations, make it clear what desired salary range you’re looking for; you might be surprised how frequently there’s wiggle room if you’re perfect for the role.

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2. think of the first job offer as a negotiation starting point

If you’re unhappy with your first job offer, don’t despair; you can negotiate your offer. Bring to the table a counteroffer instead of wasting time wondering where job offer negotiations went wrong. 

Remember: Salary negotiations are a two-sided discussion. If you don’t feel that the salary and benefits proposed are fair given your skills and experience, there’s no harm in returning a polite counteroffer. Just be prepared to explain the changes you’re asking for and why. 

Just like you, employers want the best deal with their job offer. Their offer isn’t final until you sign on the dotted line.

Go ahead and ask for changes if you feel that’s what’s fair. Any good employer should be willing to hear you out. Asking for a raise shouldn’t be terrifying!

3. remain professional at all times while negotiating a job offer

How you handle negotiating a job offer is an indicator to employers of how you’ll handle equally stressful situations in the workplace.

Why should they think you'll be any different at work if you’re rude, disparaging, or otherwise combative before you’re hired? 

No one wants uncooperative coworkers, so make sure you always put your best foot forward, even when proposing a counteroffer.

Avoid making snide statements like “Well, I got X offer from a competitor” or “You’re paying way less than everyone else.” Even if research shows that these things are true, there’s a more professional way to make your point.

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4. consider the value of other job perks

There’s no doubt that your salary is a key component of your compensation. But it’s important to remember it’s not the only piece of the compensation puzzle you need to consider.

Here are some factors that you should weigh as a part of your total job offer:

  • benefits package such as health and dental 
  • flexible work schedule
  • ability to work from home
  • paid vacation time
  • job perks, like group discounts
  • job stability
  • how much you’ll enjoy the work

All of these benefits packages have a value that you might not be able to measure in money. Sometimes it’s worth accepting a job offer on the lower end of your range if it comes with other non-monetary benefits.

5. have solid research at your disposal

If you’re going to negotiate a job offer, be prepared to explain why. Research average salaries in your profession, and be prepared to clarify how you bring value to the company personally.

You may have an in-demand industry certification or skills to help you perform the job more efficiently.

If you have persuasive, fact-based evidence to support why you deserve your desired salary, it’s much harder for hiring managers to say no.

6. collaborating with a recruiter

If the thought of negotiating your salary makes you uncomfortable, considering seeking the assistance of a recruiter can be beneficial.

By sharing your profile with a Randstad recruiter, they will be able to evaluate the value of your experience, education, and skills in the market.

Thus, the recruiter could suggest a salary range that might exceed your expectations. Additionally, they can present this proposal to the employer they are collaborating with.

Working with a recruiter provides you with an extra advantage compared to candidates who don't, which can positively influence achieving a better salary.

And, contrary to a misconception, recruiters do not deduct any commission from your salary.

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