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You’re hired! 7 ways to negotiate the best offer

How to negotiate the best job offer

Job negotiation is tricky business. You nailed the interview, you’ve piqued the employer’s interest and the company is about to give you an offer. But how do you negotiate for a better offer without blowing the opportunity? Here are seven tips on how to gain leverage in the negotiation process — and keep the prospective employer happy in the process:

1. Differentiate yourself from the pack.

Highlighting in your resumé what makes you a standout will give you more leverage later when it comes to negotiating. “What do you bring to the table?” says Charles Hon, a director at Pfizer Inc., and area chair in the MBA program at the University of Phoenix Fairfield County Campus.

2. Research industry salaries before negotiating.

How much does the type of job you are interviewing for typically pay in your area, and how much will your expenses be? Start with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics when researching salaries, says Elaine McCarty, human resources manager for the Crisis Prevention Institute and area chair in the human resource management program at the University of Phoenix Milwaukee Campus.

3. Do your homework.

In addition to learning general salary ranges, it’s important to research the company, too. “You look foolish sitting in an interview demanding a salary if you don’t know anything about the organization,” says Dwayne Jakes, owner of a management consulting firm and area chair for the management program at the University of Phoenix Columbus-Georgia Campus.

4. Let prospective employers know you’re in demand.

“It can’t hurt to let it slip that you have another interview later in the week,” McCarty says. “A little competition can be motivating to an employer.”

5. Don’t feel pressured to accept the first offer.

New graduates with no work experience will have less leverage, but companies anticipate that those with job experience will make a counteroffer or ask for more in other ways at the beginning of the negotiation. “Companies expect you to ask for the roof,” Jakes says. “You ask for the stars, and you hope you get the moon.”

6. Be flexible if this is a job that’s important to you.

Companies are usually expecting and willing to raise your salary, but only to a point. If they are offering $60,000 and you want $100,000, it is best to meet the company in the middle at $80,000, Jakes says.

7. Prioritize before negotiating.

You may need to accept a lower salary if you are already asking for other things that are more important to you, such as time off for parent-teacher conferences or that extra week of vacation. You should also, Jakes suggests, look carefully at stock options, health insurance and other perks.

“Compensation becomes a true overall package that includes culture-fit, environment and other intrinsic motivators such as autonomy and nature of work,” McCarty says.

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