Unemployment is low. Much like in a great housing market in an economic boom where houses are only on the market a few days, quality applicant inventory is low and qualified candidates are at a premium. You’ve been “open to new opportunities” and had a stellar interview. Or you’ve been offered a promotion. When you receive a job offer, you probably have some room to negotiate. But how much negotiation is too much? 

  • Be realistic about the salary range for the position. Research salary ranges and understand not every company has room for champagne salaries on a beer budget.
  • Most jobs have a salary range, which is based on experience and qualifications. The most experienced and qualified attract the higher range. Make certain you now where you fall in that range – do you literally check every box in the job description or is the employer making some concessions already because they see your potential?
  • Justify a higher salary by explaining why you have earned that pay grade, i.e. sales performance or unique skills.
  • Ask about flexibility in the starting or even future salary. Negotiating a potential future pay increase at hiring could lead to a pay bump 6-12 months down the road.
  • Consider perks you can negotiate like extra paid time off, signing bonus, tuition/CEU reimbursement, and flexible work hours or location as unrealized benefits to a salary.
  • You might negotiate differently depending on your current employment situation – currently employed at an okay job or unemployed for a while. Don’t bluff if you aren’t willing to walk away from the job.

Negotiating a job offer can feel uncomfortable and even a little scary. Take it slow. Think about the offer, send all of your counter offer at once, and be realistic about the opportunity. If you are working with a recruiter, they will best know what flexibility maybe available and can guide you – they may even be able to negotiate on your behalf – be clear with your recruiter early in the process.