5 Myths About Offer Negotiations

Many job seekers even today, once receive an offer, do not negotiate. It feels awkward asking for more money and it is much easier to simply say yes and put an end to that dreadful job search process. The problem with that is, unless we are lucky enough to be offered a job by a generous company who cares about the welfare of all employees, failure to negotiate may leave us feeling resentful for years to come, sometimes even affecting our work performance, attitude and well being. Sometimes great employees leave great companies simply because they never took those negotiation steps to make sure they get paid what they deserve in the first place and now going somewhere else is the only feasible option.

Myth #1. A company will get put off by me if I negotiate. This is a very common belief most job seekers have, many people will not negotiate at all, and happily accept the first offer they receive, overjoyed by the fact that someone wants to hire them. The truth of the matter is that most if not all companies will practically expect you to come back with a counteroffer and some of them will actually get disappointed if you don’t negotiate, especially if negotiating with clients is part of your job description. At the very least, they will not get upset, disappointed or insulted if you take your time to review your offer and come back asking for more money, paid time off or benefit structure. Worst thing that can happen is they say no to your request and you will still have an option to accept the original offer.

Myth #2. I can only get paid based on what I was making so far. I see some of you may have learned the lesson the hard way – you didn’t negotiate your last position and you were significantly underpaid. Unfortunately some companies are cheap and will try to take advantage of your lack of knowledge and experience by offering you the least amount possible. Good news is, not all companies are like that. Most places want you to be happy with your job and stay with them for as long as possible. Most importantly, they know the market value and the typical range of most salaries and will try to give you a fare and competitive offer. If you discover later on from Glassdoor that you were underpaid in your previous job, don’t despair, you are not doomed to be underpaid for the rest of your career.  All you need is to be aware of your value and your salary requirements and be able communicate it effectively to recruiters when they ask. And if they use your current low salary as their method of negotiation, you can simply point it out to them that you did your research and know your value in today’s market – they won’t argue.

Myth #3. I can get more money by using other offers and play the game. I don’t know about you, but that method seems sleazy and a but unethical to me. There is nothing wrong with asking for more money even the offer was strong enough in the first place, but if you act unprofessional, rude or disrespectful during your offer negotiation process, it is possible for them to pull the rug from under you. Never use other offers (or worse – your current company counteroffers) in order to get more money, more time off or any other negotiation purposes. Sometimes companies are desperate and people like you are extremely hard to find, in which case they will try to do their best to accommodate you. But in most cases this tactic will turn the hiring managers off and may even damage your reputation with them.

Myth #4. Having a standing offer will make me more desirable to a company. Be careful with this one as I have learned this lesson the hard way. Many recruiters will ask you to tell them as soon as you get other offers so they can speed up the interviewing process. But all that will do is speed up their decision making process, unfortunately most of the time not in your favor. They have to be really impressed by you during the interview in order to hurry up and give you an offer simply because they are in danger of losing you to another company. So be careful about telling companies about other offers, especially if you are more excited about the company you are still interviewing for. Don’t do that prematurely as it can hurt your chances with them. If they are not jumping up and down about you after the initial screening or don’t have enough information to be super excited about you, you may still have a chance to impress them when you come in person. But if they know you already have an offer and that they need to hurry up and make a decision, they may simply let you go early in the game.

Myth #5. Only salary is negotiable. That is simply not true, sometimes when you cannot get what you want from a salary negotiation, you can look at other components of an offer. Everything in the offer is negotiable, they don’t always budge but you can always ask. Sometimes you can even get creative in your negotiation strategy and ask to be compensated for things, like parking, commute, a better benefit package or other work related compensations that work for both of you.

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