Guide to Successful Negotiating


You’ve spent weeks, maybe months, in an exhaustive job search.  You’ve had many excellent networking meetings over lunch, coffee and in offices.  You’ve scoured the job boards and replied to a seemingly endless stream of postings.   It has finally paid off and you have received an offer, the job takes advantage of your strengths, it offers you an opportunity to grow and the corporate culture is a great fit.

Now what do you do?

In the excitement of the actual job offer, the tendency for many of us is to make the costly error of accepting immediately without trying to improve the offer.  Experience shows that the first offer is rarely the final or best offer.  The statistics are that the professional who does not negotiate job offers lose as much as $500,000 in earnings over their career.

First – remember that you would not have received the offer if you had not been judged as the best qualified candidate.  This fact gives a golden opportunity for negotiation.

How you go about this negotiation can set the tone for the rest of your employment with this company, if you enter it with the goal of establishing a win/win scenario you have created a true bond of trust.

Unless the offer is so far beyond your expectations, you should never accept on the spot.  Use these 8 steps to graciously acknowledge the offer without accepting.

  1. Thank the employer
  2. Show your enthusiasm
  3. Clarify your position responsibilities and the results expected of you
  4. Clarify your salary and benefits
  5. Request additional information, if needed
  6. Express why the company and the job are appealing to you
  7. Ask for the offer in writing
  8. Ask for time to evaluate and consider the offer

Once you have evaluated the offer, identified the areas you want to improve and any areas in which you can trade off you are ready to negotiate.  Use the following 9 steps to successfully negotiate the best package available.

 Tell the manager that you have thoroughly considered the offer

  1. Express excitement about the opportunity
  2. Indicate that you have several areas for discussion
  3. Communicate the expectation that you both want a positive outcome and your belief that you can work through the areas for discussion successfully
  4. Indicate areas of agreement first
  5. Discuss and resolve differences
  6. Affirm the agreement and accept the offer
  7. Ask for confirmation of the finalized offer in writing
  8. Establish your start date

Understanding these principles will allow you to effectively negotiate the best possible terms in your next job. Once you are hired, do a good job and continually seek out new challenges. As you take on added responsibilities and learn new skills, there will be opportunities to negotiate further improvements.

Travis Jones - CEO of Career Development Partners

Written By Rick Christensen

Rick has been a career consultant for over 20 years, serving a very broad-based and diverse clientele. His specialties include effective group facilitation, one-on-one coaching and consultation at all levels including senior executives.

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