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5 Best Practices For Negotiating A Job Offer

negotiate a job offer

For many industries in 2024, the job market is highly competitive. After you’ve gone through the stress of sending an application form, preparing a CV, and attending interviews, the last thing you want is a job offer that doesn’t fully meet your requirements. This is where negotiations come into play.

Salary is a prominent issue to negotiate, but other factors, such as benefits, annual leave allowance, flexibility in work hours, and job responsibilities, might also not suit your job needs and requirements. 

Unfortunately, negotiating a job offer may make some uncomfortable and unsure if they should even attempt it. 

However, you shouldn’t settle. Brenda Kostyk, an Associate Director at Babson College, said: “It doesn’t hurt to ask. Employers expect that candidates will negotiate. It’s a typical part of the offer process.”

So, for anyone mulling over a job offer, here are five best practices for negotiating the best needs and requirements for you.

1. Stay Professional

Firstly, you must stay professional while negotiating the job offer. ​​This isn’t the time to be demanding or disrespectful, no matter what is important to you. 

Making unreasonable requests or using an unprofessional tone will not help your negotiations. In fact, it may deter a potential employer from hiring you. 

If your salary negotiations are rejected, write a formal and understanding email. Knowing how to respond professionally to a rejected salary negotiation email is critical to maintaining a positive relationship with your potential employer. 

2. Look Beyond Salary 

Don’t simply focus on salary when negotiating a job offer. Think about other negotiations that may be important to you, such as: 

  • More paid holiday days each year;
  • Additional sick days;
  • A company car;
  • A company smartphone or laptop;
  • Private health or dental insurance;
  • Cycle to work schemes;
  • Free gym memberships;
  • A company pension plan;
  • Flexible working hours;
  • Remote and hybrid working opportunities;
  • Discounts of local restaurants and shops.

If you know your potential employer cannot increase the offered salary, focus on negotiating any of the above benefits and flexibilities. 

3. Understand Their Constraints 

Your potential employer may like you and think you deserve everything you are negotiating for. However, due to company constraints, such as salary caps, they may still be unable to give it to you. Your job is to figure out where they’re flexible and where they’re not. 

For example, if you’re negotiating with a large company hiring ten people simultaneously, they probably can’t give you a higher salary than everyone else. However, you may be able to negotiate on other benefits.

On the other hand, if you’re negotiating with a small business that has never hired someone for your potential role, there may be room to adjust the salary or job title but not other benefits. 

The better you understand the constraints, the more likely you’ll be able to propose options that suit you and the employer.

4. Explain Why You Deserve What You’re Asking For 

Even if your potential employer was impressed by your application form and interview, they must believe you’re worth the offer you are negotiating for. 

If you want to work from home a couple of days a week, explain that your children come home from school early on Fridays and you have no childcare.

If you desire a higher salary, explain why you and your expertise deserve more money than other candidates. However, suggesting that you’re more valuable than others can make you sound arrogant if you don’t communicate it well.

If you have no justification for a negotiation, it may be unwise to make it.

5. Be Prepared For Difficult Questions 

Whether you negotiate your job offer over the phone or via email, you may encounter difficult questions that make you feel uncomfortable or expose your weaknesses.

If you’re unprepared for these questions, you might say something evasive, untrue, or unattractive. Here are some questions you should prepare your answers to: 

  • Do you have any other job offers?
  • If we make you an offer today, will you say yes? 
  • Are we your top choice? 

You should never lie or seem too keen during a negotiation. Your goal is to answer honestly without giving your potential employer too much bargaining power. If they think you are too eager for the job, they are less likely to agree to your negotiations – thinking you will take the offer either way.

Wrapping Up 

Unfortunately, you can implement these five best practices and still lose a negotiation. Sometimes, employers just don’t or can’t budge with salaries and benefits.

Regardless of the outcome of your negotiations, thank the employer for their time. 



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