The Art of Negotiating During a Job Offer

When someone offers you a job you need to stop telling them why you deserve it and start thinking about how to make the situation work to your advantage. When an offer is presented, for the first time in the interview process, the candidate has the power. Here is an effective protocol for receiving a job offer:

Thank the person for the offer. This is the time to appear humble. You’ve spent a significant amount of time telling your counterpart how great you are and now they believe you. Let them know that you are honored and flattered that they value you.

Ask for time to think about it. Even if they offer you the most money you ever thought you’d get try to let some time pass. If nothing else, it shows your future employer that you are a rational decision maker. If you join them, they will be investing in you. An impulsive person is seldom given big responsibility. Even if you just take an hour, take some time before responding.

Ask if that’s the best they can do. It takes courage and tact but it works. After you have taken the time you need to think things over, simply ask your counterpart if that is the best offer they can make. On some occasions (and this has happened to me and a few people I know) they will counter-offer right away. The key to doing this is to appear nonjudgmental and unemotional. Say something like: “Once again, I want to express how flattered I’m am with your consideration. Before I make my final decision I’d like to know if that is your best possible offer.”

Once you say that shut up. Watch the reaction (if you are in person) or listen to their reaction (if on the phone) carefully. If there is silence, DO NOT SPEAK. Let the other party break the silence.

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