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A Candidate’s Guide to Negotiating a Job Offer

2020 has reshaped just about everything when it comes to work. Each of us has been pushed to adapt, pivot and grow. Many jobseekers have wisely leveraged the time to learn new skills that will make them more attractive to potential employers. Regardless, every candidate should expect some new norms when it comes to negotiating job offers in today’s market.

When the time comes to discuss the details of an offer, first and foremost, take a step back and appreciate what the world has gone through. Do your research and find out how your potential new employer navigated through all the uncertainty. Put yourself in their shoes and respect the parameters of what they can and cannot offer. We’re all in this together — assume all parties are doing the right thing.

A few specific tips:

Embrace the big picture. Recognize the negotiation process is not just about you—it is a collaborative conversation where both parties can benefit. The paradigm has shifted; being arrogant in today’s environment is not effective. Be kind and gracious, everyone is trying to survive and thrive.

Understand the company’s goals. Make sure the company knows how you can help them address their current issues. Show accountability and a willingness to provide value and positively impact the company.

Appreciate the company’s current position. Employees may have taken pay cuts to keep the company afloat; a large salary offer or big pay raise may not be workable immediately.

Do your due diligence. COVID-19 continues to rock the economy. Learn as much as you can about a company’s situation and the long-term viability of a new job. Accepting a job that may be in jeopardy from the get-go is not a good idea. It can be disruptive to your personal and professional life, may look bad on your resume, and won’t further your personal brand. If you’re concerned, it may be better to say no.

Dont sell yourself short. Your skills and value are the same, regardless of a global pandemic. Keep your spirit strong and focus on your purpose.

Identify your negotiating skills. If you are unemployed, there may be an assumption that you don’t have the same ability to negotiate as someone who is employed. This is not true. Be aware this could be on the hiring manager’s mind, intended or not, and know you are capable of negotiating your terms.

Make yourself indispensable. Master every step of the interview process. Guarantee the hiring manager and company see you as the best candidate for the position…and that they simply cannot succeed without you. This puts you in an advantageous position to solicit your best offer.

Know what you want to negotiate. Higher salary? Flexible hours? More vacation? Benefits? Prioritize your desires and stay the course, with some degree of flexibility. Companies may not have a lot to play with right now. If there are intangible items or benefits that don’t equate to a bigger paycheck that matter to you, ask for them. This is a whole new world and companies can be adaptable if you are.

Champion multiple opportunities. The best negotiation tactic is to have options.  Never put all your eggs in one basket. Work enthusiastically to entertain more than one choice. Cultivate your professional network. Participate in an interview, even if you know the job isn’t perfect for you. Be open to educational experiences and enhancing your skills.

Be grateful. Show gratitude for the interview and the opportunity to discuss employment. Follow up with a phone call. Send an email or mail a thank you note. A little appreciation and goodwill go a long way — especially today.

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Related articles:
Can you still negotiate a job offer? CNBC
Ten Ways to Upscale Your Skills During COVID-19 (ARG)