Leveraging Salary Negotiations at the Right Time


The hiring process is lengthy for both the candidate and the company. What starts with a job posting evolves through applications, phone interviews, in-person interviews, background checks, and more. Finally, a decision is made and an offer is extended. But where does salary negotiation come in?

While candidates may be so exhausted that they readily accept an offer due to worry the hiring organization will change their mind, this is a big mistake. Turns out, the company is probably just as exhausted as you. They want you in the door and they want you ASAP.

This moment is the absolutely ideal time to negotiate, one of the necessary steps to take before accepting a job offer.

The company wants to be done with the hiring process so they can start the onboarding process. They’ve invested a lot of time and money into sifting through applications and candidate profiles. They don’t want to invest any more. They want you, and this puts you in control of the negotiation.

As long as you’re professional and courteous, most companies will welcome a salary negotiation. Plus remember, it’s not just salary you can negotiate. You can also discuss other benefits like vacation, pension/401(k), paid education, and parental leave. You may also address perks like paid child care, paid travel, and bonuses. If important to you, you may want to discuss title, responsibilities, and reporting line.

Even if you end up at the company for 10 years, it’s very likely that this moment is the best time to set standards and negotiate for more. Remember, it’s all about shifting different levers back and forth so both you and the company come to an agreement that is satisfactory.

How do you determine what to negotiate? Ideally you have already made a list of the minimum you’d accept for each item of negotiation. This is the best reference when you’re moving the pieces of the puzzle around. Maybe the company can’t negotiate as high a salary as you requested, but they are able to add a week PTO and throw in a few extra perks. It’s a give-and-take on both sides in order to reach a respectful mutual agreement.

Remember throughout negotiations to remain confident but always professional. And never fear the silence. Many organizations need time to process and approve negotiation terms, so if you don’t hear back, it doesn’t mean they’re rethinking their offer. Sit tight and try not to worry. You’ll get the answer you need soon.

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