There’s plenty of negative news that LinkedIn would like us to believe—flashy click-bait newsfeed articles hawking headlines of major Titans of Industry cutting and slashing jobs … but there are good things happening out there. Hiring remains at a strong clip and there are many candidates navigating the job offer maze.
Job offers can be a complex web of emotions—but it doesn’t have to be scary. The process can be empowering, allowing you to reclaim your footing after a long search or trusting your confidence to create a job that works for all facets of your life. Boiling down an offer to three key components can help you confidently create the best outcome for you while keeping your emotions at bay.
In the sea of job navigation books, there is one trusty resource I continue to turn to when working with talent: Laurie Ruettimann’s helpful, direct, and easy-to-read book called “Betting on You.” First of all, the title says it all. Who else can tell you what’s best for you? Quiet the noise, listen to your gut, and consider these 3 components when facing a job offer:
- Accept it without negotiating
- Negotiate the heck out of it
- Reject it
Accepting without Negotiating
There are numerous scenarios when the simple act of accepting an offer without any negotiation makes sense—maybe the offer met you right where you wanted to be financially. When this happens, it can certainly indicate that the organization listened to you, and this can be very indicative of how it will be to work with them.
It’s not just all about salary, however, when it comes to meeting your terms. Perhaps the organization’s offer was a bit lower on yearly compensation but met that with an awesome long or short-term incentive program. Perhaps the benefits with healthcare or long-term savings will be a help to you or your family. Or maybe the security of a direct hire role during a time of spotty freelance feels like a sturdy raft in a turbulent ocean.
If you feel like the company met your needs, it’s perfectly fine to accept without negotiating. Trust your decision to move forward without negotiating and don’t feel any pressure to disclose or share that you accepted the offer for what it was—there are no trophies issued for the best Job Offer Negotiating War Story.
Negotiate the Heck Out of It
The adage, “if you don’t ask, nobody can say yes” rings very true with negotiating an offer. And while it can seem scary, it’s also an extremely rewarding personal and professional accomplishment when an offer either exceeds your ask or meets you in the middle. There’s a couple of things to think about to make a job offer negotiation successful:
- Poke around and do your research. Do your homework to understand your new employer’s market and industry. Ask questions to any connections that you have at the new organization to slyly understand their financial position and intent.
- Think beyond compensation. Salary numbers are not simply made up or imagined but are rooted in complex organizational compensation bands. Often, making a change in that pay band could eventually negate the amount of money available to you through salary increases during your lifetime in the role so consider non-financial options that could be available. Perhaps the company would be willing to compensate a remote office location for you a few days per week or month. Think creatively and beyond the salary number.
The entire experience of looking for a job can feel very powerless. Part of what I strive to do is help candidates regain their power, and one source of that power is knowing that just because you interviewed for a job doesn’t mean you have to accept the offer. That’s a very important aspect to remind yourself of. You might be facing many reasons to say “yes” and accept the role. Remember, though, that if the position meets any of these criteria, consider walking away:
- You interviewed to learn something about either yourself or the company and you saw something in the company that you didn’t like.
- What you learned made you realize your current role was the right fit.
- Don’t ever accept a job if you know the atmosphere is toxic.
- Don’t ever accept a job if you know the atmosphere is toxic. (Repeat intentional).
- You question whether the organization aligns with your personal values.
- Don’t take a role that makes you feel demeaned, degraded, nickel-and-dimed (the interview and offer process gave you insight into that).
The job offer process can feel pressured, fast-paced, and out of control. Take a quiet moment to pause and slow down the process. Think back on the interviewing process as indicative as to what it’s like to work at the organization. Pay attention to how people treated you during the interview process—did you feel rushed? The interview process is often very indicative of what it’s like to work for the organization. Did the recruiter, HR, or hiring partner make you feel rushed or not in control of the situation or were you given time to ask questions?
Be confident to remember you have the power to find a job that is fulfilling, healthy, and aligns with your values. Trust yourself to have the creativity to negotiate an offer that isn’t just a money grab, but a negotiation that gives you the freedom to meet your needs both monetarily and in your heart and soul.
I’m here along with the great team at Elevation Talent Group to support you through this journey that, while it can be scary, we believe can also be empowering. Think creatively and trust in yourself—you’ve got this!