iSchool Career Newsletter, 11/4/2015

Career Newsletter

Negotiating an Offer

Whether you already have a job or internship/DFW lined up or you anticipate obtaining one, negotiation skills are important to leverage. These communications can start as early as before the interview to 6-12 months into your job when you are looking for a raise. Salary can be an awkward topic that will eventually find its way into your conversations, but did you know you can negotiate other things too? Here are some things to consider when negotiating:

Why Negotiate? I always encourage students to consider negotiating before they accept an offer for a job, internship or DFW. Imagine you accept what you believe to be a great job offer and find out 1-2 months into your job that everyone around you working the same position is making 20% more than you. It’s much easier to negotiate an offer upfront than to ask for more money after you have already accepted the position. Most employers actually anticipate some negotiation will happen before a candidate accepts the offer so this is completely normal.

When to negotiate. Don’t bring up salary until the employer does. You may appear greedy and that you only care about money rather than the job itself. Ideally, this conversation will happen at or after the time when you receive the offer. What if the employer brings it up before you do? Try to stall- you have more power if you can get them to say a number first. You could say “Let’s talk about the job requirements and expectations first so I can get a better understanding of what you need” or “My requirements are negotiable, depending on the responsibilities of the position.”

How to prepare. Do your research. Check out places like Glassdoor for students, PayScale, and Salary.com to see what other people are making at the company or in similar job titles in the city you are interviewing. Make a list of what is most important to you- is it salary, signing bonus, benefits, stock options, Paid Time Off? Create your own budget and keep your costs in mind. Do you have student loans, rent, a car payment, and other expenses? For personal reasons, it’s important to consider what salary you need to live the lifestyle you want. I don’t recommend basing your negotiation off of your personal needs, but this is something important to keep in mind when job seeking.

What to do. When you get the offer, show your appreciation- do not immediately go into negotiation. You could say something like “First of all, I want to let you know that I am very excited about this opportunity and appreciate the chance you are giving me.” Ask for more time- can they send you the full compensation package so that you can understand the full offer? Do you have other interviews going on that you would like to entertain? Are you given enough time to evaluate and accept the position?

Once you are ready to accept and negotiate, keep in mind your list from above (what is most important to you). Again, show your appreciation for the offer and then make the ask. If salary is the most important thing, ask about this first, “I have done my research on Glassdoor and see this company generally pays $XX,XXX-$XX,XXX for this position to recent college graduates. I think the value I will bring this company warrants a salary on the higher end of this scale.” If the company is not able to come to terms with a salary adjustment, ask if they can come to an agreement on something else such as a signing bonus or paid leave.

What NOT to do. There are a number of things you do NOT want to do during a negotiation. The biggest thing to NOT do is accept an offer and continue to interview elsewhere. This can look very unprofessional and if a recruiter finds out you are doing this you may lose your original offer. From a branding perspective, it can also give employers a negative perception of the iSchool. You can find a more complete list of interviewing and negotiation guidelines here.

Check out our Negotiation Workshop this Thursday November 5th from 12:30-1:20 in BLD 070 for more details and a chance to get your questions answered on this topic!

-Dean Kirkpatrick

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