You’ve submitted a resume for an executive position that earned you an interview. Kudos! You aced the interview process, and now they want to talk money. Is a little fear creeping in? You don’t want to lose the opportunity by not properly negotiating one of the last steps in the hiring process—your salary!
You have the offer. Your highest sphere of influence and power when negotiating a salary is during this time—when the offer is presented. And knowing what you want gives you a goal that you can clearly articulate to the hiring manager. Hedging around can cast doubt in the mind of the hiring manager and may cut negotiations short. Be prepared before negotiations start with a credible counteroffer ready to use in case it is needed.
Know your worth. The employer is hiring you for what you can do for them—the value of your experience, accomplishments, talents, and skills. Demonstrate that you are worth the salary you are asking for so they will consider your value equal to or more than the salary they expect to pay.
Don’t walk away yet. Okay, so the offer wasn’t exactly what you expected. You’ve put a lot of time and effort to get this far in the hiring process. Don’t give up without a little effort. Give some consideration to how you can negotiate a better deal. Most recruiters and hiring managers expect to negotiate salaries, so they typically start with an offer lower than where they expect to end up.
Sleep on it. Thank the potential employer for the offer, and tell them you’ll give them an answer in 24 hours. If you want to get another opinion, talk it over with your spouse or other significant people in your life. They may have insights or bring up issues you hadn’t thought about while in the throes of the hiring process. Give yourself some time to look at the offer with fresh eyes and a clear head.
Best offer? Sometimes a potential employer will tell you when they are relaying the offer that they are giving you their best deal possible. Company policy, budget restrictions, whatever their reason, it might be risky to push salary negotiations too far at this point. You can always consider negotiating benefits that would help “up the ante” to satisfy some needs that would have been covered by a higher salary.
Evaluate the pros and cons of the salary offered versus your situation. Everyone is different, and only you know what will work best for you.