How to negotiate a job offer: avoid these 5 most common mistakes

Have you ever experienced receiving a job offer and wanting to sign it right away because you were so excited? Or are you freshly graduated and now looking for your first ‘grown-up’ job? No matter what situation you are in, we all tend to make the same mistakes during a job offer negotiation. Find out here how to avoid these mistakes and to negotiate a job offer like a BOSS. 

How to negotiate a job offer

1)   Not negotiating at all

The number ONE mistake people make is to accept the first offer without negotiating at all. Most companies expect you to negotiate so there is a big chance they are not giving you their best offer right off the bat.
It may be difficult to negotiate when it’s your first job. You don’t have any experience and many companies offer graduates a fixed starting salary anyway. But EVEN THEN you can ask for additional benefits or perhaps a signing bonus.

2)   Not preparing

When you would like to propose a counter offer make sure to know your stuff. Let’s say you want to propose a higher annual base salary. How should you prepare your proposal?

1. Know what you are talking about

Step 1 is to research what the average salary is for this position in this industry and this type of organization. Also pay attention to your seniority level. Based on this information you can determine what a reasonable, average salary would be.

2. Provide a solid argument to explain your proposal

Now that you know what is reasonable, determine what you want to propose. Perhaps you feel that you deserve a salary which is 10% higher than what you found after executing step 1. Always explain why this is a reasonable proposal. Do this based on FACTS, not feelings. Do not only use the information described under step 1, but take into account everything you have to offer. For instance, share that your experience is extremely valueable because you have worked in a very demanding environment.

3)   Focusing on the base salary instead of the total offer

Make sure to always look at the total rewards package. Benefits can differ so much between companies that you can’t make a good comparison based on salary alone.
Furthermore, always focus on the annual salary since this can include additional payments or allowances that are not reflected in the monthly amount.

4)   Sharing too much information about your current situation

Recruiters, headhunters and hiring managers might ask you for your current situation. They may ask about your current salary, bonus or other benefits. Since you want to be open you might be tempted to share this, but think about it before you do this.
Remember that you are not obligated to share this information. Perhaps you are currently underpaid and your research showed that your skills are worth MUCH MORE. In such a situation it’s best to not share your current salary since the recruiter might lower their first offer.

5)   Pushing your luck

Imagine that you received a first offer from your possible future employer. You have the feeling they really like what you have to offer. You are considering to propose a much higher salary than was offered. Just to see how far you can take it.

Is this a good idea?

When your proposal is unreasonably high, and you cannot back this up with a solid argument, don’t do it. Remember that the people may become your colleague, business partner or even client and you might not leave a great impression by making an unfounded proposal.

And if you want to the increase the chance of reaching a positive agreement even more, make sure to never skip small talk.

Now it’s your turn. Will you put these tips into practice?