In the June 18, 2013 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a job hunter worries about asking for more money:
My dream position with my dream company has just come through! The offer is good — a bit lower than I would have liked, but very good. My question is this: Do I even bother haggling over a couple thousand dollars?
I read somewhere that you should always go through at least one round of salary negotiations and that the employer actually expects it. I think I have a very good chance of getting what I ask for (especially because it’s such a small amount), but I don’t want to risk coming off as ungracious or rude.
Truly, if they don’t budge an inch, I’m still taking the job. Is it worth negotiating, or should I just accept?
I believe in enjoying happiness and not worrying whether other people think you’ve been given enough of it. Who cares what others say about “one round of salary negotiations?” If you’re happy with the offer, accept it and thank the company.
Some companies make their offer, and that’s it — they won’t budge. This company might be willing to negotiate, but you must consider what happens if they don’t. If they balk at the extra two grand, then you’re going to look weak coming back and saying, “Well, okay, then I’ll take what you offered anyway.” It says something about your request: You couldn’t justify it. And what does that say about your credibility? Remember: You’re going to work with these people. How you handle negotiations can affect how they will view you — and treat you — once you’re on board.
If the extra money really means a lot to you, then go for it. Here’s an example of how I might approach it:
How to Say It
“I believe I’m worth $2,000 more than you’re offering. But please don’t misunderstand. This is not a large difference, and I have already decided I want this job. To show you my good faith, I’ll accept your offer as is. But I’d like to respectfully ask you to consider raising it by $2,000. There are three reasons why I believe I’m worth it… But either way, I’m ready to start work in two weeks.”
It’s your judgment call. If you try this, you’d better be ready to prove your added value. By making a commitment to the company first, you establish a level of credibility that goes beyond any negotiating position.
(Some people have a hard time thinking and talking about what salary they’re looking for. This may help: How to decide how much you want. You can’t negotiate or interview effectively unless you have an objective.)
Remember that the ultimate goal of negotiating a job is not to get every last dollar you can. It’s to set the groundwork for the best possible work relationship — which is not limited to money — for the long term. That’s why it might be better to accept an offer that you’re clearly pretty happy with, and plan for how you could get that extra couple thousand as part of your first raise when you have your first review.
Congratulations on winning a good offer for a job you really want. I hope all goes well!
An expanded version of this Q&A appears in
Be ready to deal with:
Rescinded offers, non-competes, salary surveys, counter-offers, vacation time,
Bait-and-switch, oral vs. written offers, requests for old pay stubs
Post your comments!
Do you rely on a resume to get you in the door? Does it work? What do you think makes a hiring manager invite you for an interview?