Negotiating Job Offer – What 70% of People Fail to Do

salary negotiationsIn part 1 of our talk with Executive Author, Jane Lin, we discussed the Best Secret to Finding Your Dream Job.  Assuming you have a job offer, now what?  Should you negotiate?

We will have on average seven jobs in our life time.  Knowing how to negotiate job offers and initial salary at each new job can means the difference in ten of thousands of dollars in pay and give you a chance to impress our employer before we even start!

Yes, you heard me correctly.  By negotiating your salary and job offer, you can actually impress your employer and future manager.   This is because

  • Most employers are willing to negotiate and frankly expect it.
  • It shows you know your market value and have the confidence to present a sound argument
  • As you get more senior, the ability to negotiate anything will be key to your success.   You can already show off your skills to your manager before you even start the job.

While this is logical, deciding to negotiate your salary after getting the job offer is easier said than done.   On average, 70% of candidates don’t negotiate.  I was almost one of them with my most recent job offer.    This is usually because we will have this self-dialogue where we will end up convincing ourselves that we shouldn’t negotiate.  Common reasons are:

  1. Offer is good enough or better than we even thought
  2. I don’t know how to negotiate.  It’s uncomfortable.
  3. Then there is the most irrational but common fear – “What if they rescind my offer?”

You can either let these “reasons” or “excuses” stop you from developing one of the most important skills of your career or you can go beyond it.   Our Executive Author, Jane Lin, is here to help.   In this second part of our conversation (6 min), she talks about how she thought about salary negotiations and learned how to always ask for more than she even think is possible.

Your comments:  Do you always negotiate your job offer and initial offer?  If no, why not?  If so, any tips to share with other readers on how to best do it?   Feel free to also ask Jane questions.  We look forward to your comments.

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Audio Transcription is below:

Lei: An interesting related topic to that is, when you first said that over dinner and I said another place where people have that self-dialogue is salary negotiations.

Jane: Yes.

Lei: A lot of the time, even when you actually look at the salary and look at all the research and go wow they offered me something pretty competitive. Have you had an example of even that? I assume you have just because I’ve even had that happen to me. And you feel like, even at our levels, we tend to be still have that inner dialogue, I mean like should I negotiate? What if I negotiate and they don’t accept it and they think I’m over reaching. So I’m curious whether that’s something that also plays into what you’re saying.

Jane: Yeah and that’s great point because it’s so true, it does apply to that area as well.  It’s all dependent on what you think you’re worth and what they think you’re worth. Right? And so you don’t know what each other is thinking. But if you tend to feel you are worth it, you are worth what you’re asking for then it’s worth asking for, then it’s more likely that they’ll agree. On the other hand, if you come in very timidly, and giving yourself a lower range. Because that conversation always comes up in interviews right? It’s like they ask either what you’re looking for or where you’re at. I always tend to focus on what I’m looking for, because that’s really what’s more important is that we have to agree on that.

Jane: Yeah, that we both are a good fit, and so yeah I would say time and time again that’s also something that I’ve done is I tell myself I don’t sell myself short on this salary. The most, the worst thing that can happen is they say that’s just not really within our range. And then you can decide, okay well do we still want to continue the discussion, or are we just too much not on the same page.

Lei: So, tell me an example, it sounds like you have a few, tell me one that it kind of gives me an idea of how you went about things.

Jane: Sure, yeah so I was with Deloitte for about four and a half years and at the end of that I wanted to—my next career move was going to be more specific in the area of marketing. So, I had begun my marketing career within Deloitte and the next place I wanted to work, I wanted it to be a marketing agency. Because  I had worked with a few agencies and thought that’s where the creative fun part happens—

Lei: Okay.

Jane: Yeah, so I wanted to work for an agency and went through an interview process with an agency I really liked down in L.A. and at that time, my inner voice was kind of self-doubting in the sense that I thought well this is a career change. Deloitte is a big consulting firm, whereas these marketing agencies are very specific and focused on marketing, and they probably have people who have done marketing for at least the same amount of time that I was with Deloitte, or more. And I didn’t have that background, I had the consulting background. I just thought if this is sort of like a career change I may have to take a step back in terms of salary.

Lei: Or a lateral move at least.

Jane: Yeah, right so, so that was my expectation, my inner voice sort of boxed myself.  But, because of some of the experiences I had before that and how this whole concept of shooting for farther than you even think you’re capable of, I decided well I’m going to shoot for farther than what I think that I’m capable of.

Lei: Yeah, what’s the worst that could happen, right?

Jane: Exactly.

Lei: That’s what you learned.

Jane: Yeah, so then in that case when it came down to salary negotiations and they asked what the range I was looking for, or give me a ball park type of thing. I gave them a ball park that I thought there’s no way.

Lei: Okay.

Jane: But, I thought well—

Lei: You had logical reasons probably for the ball park–

Jane: Yeah, and I thought okay..

Lei: But you weren’t sure.

Jane: Yeah and I based it off of the low end was kind of what I thought might be like the best that I could get.

Lei: Right.

Jane: Or, and this is just based off of just sort of anecdotally or like things that I had read online whereas salary—

Lei: You had done research.

Jane: Yeah, where it would be at and where I was at my consulting job so, so yeah I just came up with a ball park that was really higher than I would have expected.

Lei: Them to accept.

Jane: So yeah, I would have been happy with the low end of that.

Lei: And what did they end up with?

Jane: And yeah so they ended up within the range that I asked for, which I didn’t even think that they would go for.

Lei: Wow, that’s great.

Jane: Yeah.

Lei: And they were happy, and you were happy, and so it was worth asking.

Jane: Exactly in that sense right.

Lei: Wow, that’s also I think I’ve written articles about that like always negotiate. Even if they give you something then you’re kind of like wow they already gave, they came in range.

Jane: Yeah.

Lei: Then there’s still some room to negotiate because usually companies come in sort of the lower range anyway.

Jane: Yes.

Lei: And they have some room.

Jane: Absolutely, and they all, they actually started out with a much lower, or they kind of tried to set my expectations lower.

Lei: Right, right.

Jane: So when I came in with the higher range, I didn’t know that they would even say —

Lei: Oh, so they already gave you a range that was lower than yours? And you still said–

Jane: I mean they give a very fuzzy range.

Lei: Yeah, they were kind of feeling you out.

Jane: Yeah, so they really wanted me to throw out sort of what I was looking for, so when I had to take stance or had to kind of put a stake in the ground, I made that stake as high as I thought I, well actually higher than I thought would be possible.

Lei: But what, I hear that story a lot when people actually go for it, they get surprised.

Jane: Yeah definitely.

2 thoughts on “Negotiating Job Offer – What 70% of People Fail to Do”

  1. I liked the article. I have had the same self doubt and talk with myself but then I do my research as you stated, I know what my experience is and when asked what MY range it, I politely tell them I have a range in mind but then I ask this as my ‘range question’ – “What is or can you tell me what the budgeted salary range is for the position?” This gives me a more accurate and specific question to them. When asked what my range is, I let them know that their range is/is not within my range and negotiate from there. I also ask for the higher end of the range because cash in hand now is worth more to you then any money they promise you in the future. Budget cuts or raise freezes are a common practice so you may not get to the top of that range ever unless you get promoted. That was my lesson learned at my last job. So if they come back and say they can’t give you the higher range (which you know is already budgeted), then ask if you can schedule a salary review with them and get a small % bump after say 3 months or 6 months on the job. You will have time to prove your worth and at the least you have shot for the top end of the range and give them the out to not cut you off right there. You have given them a an option and it isn’t pushy or harsh.

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