You are super excited. Somehow the recruiting gods worked in your favor and you got your resume seen! Then you woo them during the phone screen. Easy peasy. You moved on to the in-person and knocked their socks off. Tangible examples, concise answers and a confident attitude - you were golden. And finally after a bit of back and forth, a final "culture interview" and a couple of gray hairs you get the offer. Woo! Only problem is it's 10k below what you were wanting.
What the heck?!
Well, now you're bummed, feeling defeated and just don't know what to do next. Should you accept it as is? Or should you walk away? You really want the job, have already decided who your work husband/wife is going to be and have completely Pinterested out what your cubicle is going to look like. You've basically already accepted the job in your head. What do you do now?
My friend, it is time you negotiate.
Now, negotiation sounds like a big, scary, intimidating word. Kind of like networking. You may feel that you're coming across as needy. Or that you're asking for too much. Mainly though, that you fear your offer will be rescinded because you tried to negotiate.
Okay, let me debunk this myth:
I have never ever heard of a person having a job offer revoked solely because they negotiated. I've heard of companies denying a request. But I haven't heard of them rescinding an offer. Companies are expecting you to negotiate. They actually budget for it.
Now, have I heard of companies getting ticked off when the person negotiated poorly (aka rudely)? Yes, I have. See, negotiation is all about phrasing. It's not what you say, but how you say it. Here are some steps you should take to negotiate well and with confidence.
1) Do your research
Understand what the market is currently paying for your role. You can use Glassdoor, Payscale or upgrade to a LinkedIn Premium account. All of these resources will tell you what other companies are paying for people in your geography, at your level and with that specific title. Having this information as justification up front before heading into your negotiation is super duper important! Don't skip this step.
2) Know your boundaries
Go into the negotiation with your walk away rate. That means understanding and being firm on what is the lowest you would accept. Also go in knowing what is realistic for you to ask for. For instance, if they offer you 50k and you come in saying you want 80k - well, you're probably going to tick someone off. Use the research from step one to frame what you ask for. And always ask for a range that is usually 5-10k above your walk away rate. Also, if you have a feeling they won't be able to budge on the numbers, think about different things you could negotiate like bonus, benefits and vacation time.
3) Script it out
Again, it's all down to how you say it, not what you say. Head into the conversation (never do this over email) with a script that is something to the tune of....
"Thank you so much for the offer. I'm really excited about the opportunity to work on your team and for the company. I really think I'll be able to contribute X,Y,Z. After reviewing the offer, I had a couple of questions regarding the compensation: Based off my research and my past experience, I was expecting to receive a salary around X to Y. Is there any way we can move more in that direction?"
And then I need you to shut up. That may come across as harsh, but I'm incredibly serious. Say your peace and then pause. There is power in the pause and it gives the other person the opportunity to respond. Honestly, they will probably tell you they need to check with HR, etc. Be patient. Tell them thank you. And take a deep breath. The hard part is over now.
4) Write a follow up
This is important. Ensure that you thank them again for their offer, that you're really excited to work with the company and that if you are able to move more in the direction of your expectations you would take the job. Outline for them what your asks are and provide any links to supporting documents, research you found, outstanding offer letters, etc. Give them something to work with and then let it go at this time. It's in their hands now.
I promise, this process doesn't need to be as scary as it sounds. If you use soft language, but with clear directives you're going to have a better shot at effectively getting closer to what you want and deserve!