If you have been following the Negotiator Job Search Series, you know the following:
- Keep your emotions in check – a lot of things can go wrong from here.
- The real decision-maker – who are you really going to be negotiating the final details with?
- The hiring manager’s pain points – why do they want you and how badly do they need you?
- Why you want this position – are you really being offered the job you interviewed for? Does this position meet the criteria of your mission and purpose statement?
Verbal Job Offer
Now, the verbal job offer has arrived. Because of this, you need to put your negotiator hat back on. Listen carefully to the details and ask probing questions about them.
However, agree to nothing. Do not get excited. Keep your emotions in check. Tell them that you want to evaluate the entire offer once you have it as a job formal offer on paper.
Ask the hiring manager how long should it take to get a formal offer. I had one client who waited two months to receive the formal offer. This was exceptionally painful because my client was unemployed. (By the way, this was from a large, sexy tech company that has an aura of a great company to work for. It is just an aura!)
Formal Job Offer
Finally, the formal job offer arrives via FedEx or UPS. You are all excited. Remember: keep your emotions in check!
- Health insurance, vacation or paid time off(PTO) policy, retirement/401(k) and any other benefit should be read carefully.
- Evaluate the base pay, bonus structure, sign on bonus, stock options, and other forms of compensation.
How do these compare to your expectations?
Get very clear about what you want in benefits and financial compensation.
I always believe to start with vacation or PTO. If you have a vacation planned in the next year, put that on the table first. This is particularly true if you have incurred airfare, hotel, or any other non-refundable expenses.
Ask how vacation or PTO is accrued. It may be possible to have your vacation or PTO account filled with one or two weeks credit before you start. Yes, I have seen this happen.
What do you want that is not in the job offer?
Do you want to bring your dog to work?
Do you want to work from home?
Will you be reimbursed for cell phone use or will they provide a cell phone?
Do you want a standing or walking desk?
Get all of these issues out of the way before you start negotiating compensation. You will find if they really want you, they will honor most of these requests.
Salary and Other Compensation
This is where I am a contrarian. Determine what you want in base salary, bonus, and any other form of compensation. If the offer is low in any area, ask them to sweeten the deal. They will almost always ask you:
How much do you want?
Your response will be:
I want to be compensated fairly.
DO NOT give them a number.
You know their pain points. It is time to pull out what you have learned and explain to them why they need you.
What is your BATNA?
Best Alternative To No Agreement (BATNA). What if they will not give you what you want. Be ready with a plan. Do you walk away? Do you take the less than optimal offer?
By the time they have made the effort to send you a formal job offer, they have determined they want you. You are in the driver’s seat. They will not want to watch you walk away.
Negotiations Start before You Start Your Job Search
If you go back to the beginning of the Negotiator Job Search Series, I told you that negotiations start when you create your mission and purpose statement. You write the mission and purpose statement before you even start the job search. Everything you have accomplished in the job search has prepared you for negotiating the final job offer.
Are you ready to act like a negotiator in your next job search?