iSchool Career Newsletter, 4/28/2016

Career Newsletter

Negotiating an Offer and Asking for More Time

The job search process can be one filled with emotional ups and downs. Last week, Alycia put together a post on staying motivated in the job search. This week I want to focus on negotiation. With the excitement of finally receiving a job, internship, or DFW offer, it can be very tempting to accept the offer on the spot. Emotions aside, it’s best practice to take a moment to consider all the factors before officially accepting an offer. Take some time to consider negotiating, whether it’s pay, relocation, start date, vacation time, or other parts of your employment agreement.  

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. In the interview process, don’t bring up pay 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 to see what other people are making at the company or in similar job titles in the city you are interviewing. You can also connect with an iSchool Career Advisor to see if they can dig up some data for you- we keep information on how much iSchool graduates and interns make!

Make a list of what is most important to you- is it salary, signing bonus, benefits, stock options, PTO? 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 if you are waiting for another offer/interview? This situation can occur more often than you think. If you are hesitant to directly let the employer know you have another interview, you can refer to the iSchool employer policy in regards to how much time they should give students. I actually advise students to be transparent when working with employers. Most of them expect students to be interviewing at more than just one company.  I’d recommend first letting the other company know you received a competing offer but also that you are still very interested in their role and were curious if your interview process/decision could be expedited. If they are strongly interested in you, they will usually try and speed up the interview process to give you a decision faster. If you can be adaptable to their schedule and needs, this is helpful (ex: you are open to driving to their location at an off-hour, scheduling a skype interview, adjusting your schedule, etc).

For the company that gave you an offer, be graceful but informative if you need a little more time to make a decision. Start off by using appreciation; “Thank you so much for the opportunity to work as a ___ on your team. I am really excited for the chance to… (customize to the position/company). Before making a final commitment, I wanted to let you know I am in the process of interviewing at another company. While I am very appreciative of this offer, I want to make sure I am making a fully educated decision between the two companies. I’ve reached out to the other company to ask if they can speed up their interview process and expect that I should be able to make a final decision by DATE (if the other company gives you a specific date add 1-2 days to be safe).”

What to do. Once you are ready to accept an offer, again show your appreciation first, do not immediately go into negotiation (“Thank you again for offering this position to me as a …”). Keep in mind your list from above (what is most important to you). 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 continuing 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 guidelines here.

Looking for more information? Check out this recording we made a few months back on Negotiating.

-Dean Kirkpatrick



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