Platinum Unplugged #7: Job Offer Negotiations!

Dear Platinum Recruiting,

I have an interview coming up, any advice about offer negotiations?

Check out our Facebook Live Response & “Like” our business FB page while you visit: Offer Negotiations – Facebook Live Response

Hi Jill,

Yes! Plenty. Before getting into negotiations tips, let’s set the stage:

Check out these stats

  • 37% of people always negotiate offers
  • 44% negotiate occasionally

By gender

  • 46% of men always negotiate
  • 30% of women always do

Employer Stats

  • 84% of employers said they expect job applicants to negotiate salary
  • 87% said they’ve NEVER rescinded an offer due to negotiations

Performance Reviews

  • 12% negotiate salary during reviews

These numbers are shocking. The majority of companies expect applicants to negotiate but most people don’t.

6 Steps to Negotiating Your Next Offer:

  1. What is most important to YOU? Salary, advancement opportunities, vacation, work-life balance.
  2. Determine your flexible items and walk-away numbers. Would you take a little less money for more vacation? Offers have multiple levers/variables.
  3. Research your market value. If you don’t want companies basing offers purely on your current salary, your salary expectations should be more than just a random percentage or dollar amount above current salary.
    • Websites: This is a starting point. Definitely not an end-all b-all. Here’s a few websites: Salary & Payscale.
    • Friends: Talk to friends or colleagues in similar jobs at different companies.
    • Recruiters: Perhaps your best source. Why? Because we know literally what companies are paying people, right now. For example, a large privately held client just offered someone $100k for a HRIS Analyst.
    • Know the accomplishments/experiences that might separate you from the competition. Remember, competitive advantages are better than strengths: What Is Your Competitive Advantage?
  4. Ask the company for their target salary range. Get them to share numbers first, if possible. That said, do not be difficult about it. This can come back to haunt you.
  5. Be prepared to provide your salary expectations. Provide a broad range, not a specific number, and communicate the caveats. Sound vague? It’s not. It is impossible to know exactly what number you would accept before learning more.  Here’s an example:

“I’m targeting $80k to $100k depending on bonus opportunity, advancement opportunity, cost of insurance, vacation, etc.”

  • This isn’t being wishy-washy. You might accept $80k+20% bonus at one company but require $95k with a company that offers no bonus.
  • Providing a reasonable, wide range prevents you from pricing yourself out of the opportunity or leaving money on the table.
  • If they ask for current salary, start by stating you’d rather focus on your expectations moving forward. If pushed, again, don’t be difficult. Here’s how you handle it: How to respond to “What is your current salary?”
  • Note: As the company offers more information, be prepared to be more specific with your salary expectations.

6. If the offer doesn’t meet your expectations, present a reasonable and appropriate counter based on data and       facts. Step 1 & 2 come into play now. Make a case based on salary information, market value and the specific   experiences & skills you’re offering to justify a stronger offer. Here’s an example:

“I researched market salary data and $80k to $100k is a consistent range I keep seeing and is close to what you’ve described as your range. Since I do have specific industry and systems experience, along with the desired certification, I will need to be at $95k. I am ready to accept at that number and excited about joining your team”

  • If they don’t budge on salary, or just budge a little, it’s decision time. You can accept, decline or counter again. If you still truly want the opportunity, consider asking for something else on your priority list or get creative with compensation. Here are examples:
    • 3 or 6 month review with opportunity for pay increase. We recently had a client offer the opportunity for a $5k raise after 6 months if objectives were met.
    • Sign-on bonus
    • Eliminate “pro-rated” from an annual bonus that’s being offered.
    • Offer a compromise that combines some additional compensation and another perk such as vacation, work from home time, gym membership, etc.

Easy Peasy (how do you spell that?). As you can see, we didn’t get to negotiating until step 6. Why? 

Offer negotiations are about doing your homework and being willing to ask. That’s right. As you noticed in the statistics, most people don’t. Asking is more than half the battle.

Rules of Negotiating:

  1. Don’t take it personal. You want as much as possible, the company has a budget to keep in mind. This is natural.
  2. Don’t negotiate unless you truly want the job. Don’t ask for something you’re not prepared to accept.
  3. Ask nicely. Confidence is good. So is being humble. Cocky and rude? Your request can be denied for being a jerk. Make your case. Nicely. With data and facts. Wait for their response.
  4. Let the company know you’re excited to join the team if certain terms are met. It’s important they know you’re not playing games, you truly believe you deserve what you’re asking for based on the data and facts and you’re prepared to accepted if they agree.
  5. Many bosses will actually respect that you’ve negotiated, if done the right way. It can be a positive reflection of how you’ll approach your job: thorough, thoughtful, determined and can have tough conversations in a respectful manner.


Your base pay, especially in early career jobs, is incredibly important. It effects your internal raises. It effects annual bonuses that are tied to a percentage of your base pay. It effects future offers, both internal and external. Read that again and think about how that can add up during a 20 or 30 year career. How many annual raises, bonuses and offers will you receive? Think about this next time you get an offer. It doesn’t mean a company should pay you more than is fair. But it certainly means you need to do your research, know what is fair, and negotiate if need be.

There you have it. Ready to negotiate? What would you add?



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