Negotiating a Job Offer can be the most tense part of a job search.  Having watched the process unfold literally hundreds of times I wanted to share a few tips to help you achieve the best possible outcome.

Be Likeable

The offer stage is a critical step in your new career.  It’s the point where your future boss is shifting their focus.  No longer are they just concerned with finding a talented individual to fill their open role; they’re thinking about what it will be like to live with you.  Starting off your relationship with your boss correctly is the first reason why it’s imperative to remain professional, tactful and likeable.  The second reason? The more they like you and envision you as a key asset, the more likely they will be to fight to increase the offer.

Show Respect

If you aren’t prepared to accept an offer, don’t ask someone to move heaven and earth to sweeten the deal.  They may have to put in considerable effort and/or use up valuable social capital to make it happen.  Having seen a few of these situations play out badly for a client; I can tell you it leaves a very bad taste in their mouth.  You just never know when they could be the hiring manager at a new company that you badly want to work for.

Have Integrity

Although it might be obvious, don’t ever lie in a negotiation.  You might receive a better offer but heaven help you when your boss finds out later that you lied to them.  Credibility (and your reputation) is priceless.

Make Your Case

If you don’t have a case for a higher offer it may be unwise to ask for one (see starting a relationship off right – above).  Some examples of sound reasons for a better offer are:  competing and better offers, salary history or increased travel requirements and compensation for lessor benefits (example = increased base to compensate for no 401k program).  It’s important to remember that your negotiating asks need to have value in your future boss’ eyes.

Role Play

Asking for more money, vacation or any other demand is a high stakes conversation.  Role play the scenario with someone whose thought process you respect.  How you ask for something can be just as important as what you ask for.

Focus on the Big Picture

The best position for you might not be the one with the highest offer.  I go into more detail on the subject of choosing the right opportunity in a previous blog – How to Avoid Becoming a Mis-Hire.  If you love the opportunity and have a fair offer, don’t let your ego stand in way.