You Have Got the Job Now What!

Once you have been offered a job, you have the opportunity to discuss with the employer the terms of your employment.  Negotiating with your potential employer can make your job one that best meets your own needs as well as those of your employer.  To assure successful negotiations, it is important to understand the basic components.  The definition of negotiating as it relates to employment is:  a series of communications either oral or in writing that reach a satisfying conclusion for both sides; you and the employer.  Negotiation is a planned series of events that requires strategy, presentation, and patience.  As with other segments of the job search, preparation is probably the single most important part of success negotiations.  What follows are some suggestions that can help you in your preparation.


Gather as much information as you can to back up the case you want to make.  For example, if not entering employees cannot negotiate salary you may be jeopardizing the offer by focusing on that aspect.  Turn your attention to some of the other, potentially more flexible parts of the offer such as child care, disability insurance, stock options, relocation costs or continued educational benefits.

Mental Preparation

In most cases, you will be negotiating with a stranger.  Ask yourself what approach to the negotiating table you find most comfortable.  How will you “psyche” yourself up to feel confident enough to ask for what you want?  What are your alternatives?  What’s your bottom line?  In short, plan your strategy.  Be sure you know exactly what you want, not approximately.  This does not mean that you will get exactly that, but having information clear in your head will help you determine what you are willing to concede.  Unless you know what you want, you won’t be able to tell somebody else.


Rehearse your presentation in advance.  Practice with a friend.  If you make mistakes in rehearsal, chances are that you will not repeat them during actual negotiations.  A friend can critique your reasoning and help you prepare for questions.  If this seems like a lot of work, remember that if something is worth negotiating for, it is worth preparing for.

Dollars and Sense

Always begin by expressing genuine interest in the position and the organization.  Emphasize areas of agreement but seek compromise on other areas. 

Be prepared to support your points on why it is in the company’s best interest to accommodate your request.  Back up your reasons for wanting to change the offer by re-emphasizing meaningful work-related skills and positive benefits to the employer.  Requesting a higher salary just because you are a fast learner and have similar characteristics is not usually a justifiable reason. Rather, meaningful work experience or internships that have demonstrated your skills are things that will make an employer stop and take notice.  Consider making a salary request in writing initially and plan to meet later.

If an employer chooses not to grant any of your requests (and note that realistically, they can do that), you still have the option of accepting the original offer, provided that you have maintained a positive, productive, and friendly atmosphere during your negotiations.  You can always re-enter negotiations once you are employed and have proved your worth to the organization.