How to negotiate a job offer (With tips and definition)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 25 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Receiving a job offer is usually a joyful occasion as it indicates that your job hunt has come to a successful conclusion. Often, applicants require more time to evaluate the position and choose whether or not to take it. This allows you to negotiate some aspects of your employment contract. In this article, we outline how to negotiate a job offer and analyse job offers in more detail.

What is a job offer?

A job offer is an invitation sent from an employer to a prospective employee to work for a company or organisation. Usually, the company starts with an informal and unstructured offer by phone and then follows up with a proper email or document describing the specifics of the job opportunity.

These specifics include the person's job title, pay, type of contract and details on the business's compensation package. After studying the details of the offer, the prospective employee chooses to accept, reject or negotiate the terms of the offer.

Related: How to write the perfect job offer letter email

When to begin negotiating a job offer

Don't try to negotiate for additional money or any benefits on your wish list until you receive an offer in writing. Once you receive an offer, begin negotiating on a formal basis. A job offer is a declaration in which the specifics of the position are stated, such as the compensation.

As soon as you get a job offer, express your interest in the position and ask how much time you have to consider it. Remember that this is an important decision. So, give yourself plenty of time to consider it, even if you're confident that you want the position.

Related: What is a conditional employment offer? (With pros and cons)

How to negotiate a job offer

When you receive a job offer, the company usually gives you a deadline to accept or decline it. Rather than moving too fast, take advantage of this opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the situation and decide if the position seems like a good match. You can learn how to negotiate a job offer by taking the following steps:

1. Consider the offer

As soon as you receive the offer, ask for some time to examine it. Make a point of expressing your appreciation and your interest in the position and then ask whether or not there is a timeframe by which you make your choice. If you believe you require more time than they're willing to provide, you may still request extra time. Waiting too long to confirm your answer without asking for a timeframe may cause them to withdraw their offer.

2. Consider your desires and requirements

Having a clear understanding of what you're looking for in a job assists you in making a decision. Consider both short- and long-term professional goals, your priorities and practical conditions, such as financial compensation. You ask yourself a few questions to assess the job offer. Some helpful questions include the following:

  • What are my long-term professional objectives?

  • What are the values that I hold in my work and personal life?

  • What kind of job do I love doing the most?

  • What type of work environment do I want to be in?

  • What are my wage requirements or expectations?

  • What are my expectations or requirements in terms of benefits?

Related: How to ask for time to consider a job offer in 9 steps

3. Negotiate other perks such as healthcare

Many individuals focus just on wage and bonus negotiations, but there are other elements to consider. For example, if you're currently paying for health insurance, ask your employer if they would cover these expenses until your benefits kick in. Alternatively, if the ability to work from home or additional vacation time appears crucial to your work-life balance, explore negotiating these provisions. Before accepting the job offer, find out your most essential conditions so you can understand which ones are non-negotiable.

Related: How To Decline a Job Offer You Already Accepted: A Guide

4. Learn about the indemnities and benefits package

While the take-home pay is unquestionably essential, there are other factors to consider as well, such as the benefits package. For example, a company can provide one or more of the following perks to its employees:

  • stock options for the healthcare pension system

  • travel packages that include a complimentary gym membership

  • working arrangements that are adaptable

The next step includes thinking about how much freedom you're prepared to provide in exchange for all of these perks. Although it's important to consider the monetary worth of each benefit, take into account some of the leisure and time-saving perks. Flexible working hours, for example, enable you to spend extra time with family, and the company pension reduces the need for a private pension.

Related: Why work for companies with benefits? (With 18 examples)

5. Begin negotiating a new offer

To begin the negotiation, schedule a time to speak with someone about your conditions over the phone or face to face. Start this meeting by stating something like, 'I value your offer of employment, but there are a few things I'd want to talk about with you before accepting it'. After that, detail the benefits and working conditions you'd like to negotiate with the company. Make sure to do your research and have evidence to back up your demands.

For example, you can look at the standard wage for the position. You want to come off as confident, so bring examples of your successes and credentials to demonstrate your worth. When negotiating, it's important to strike a balance between firmness and flexibility. If you want something, make sure you demonstrate that you're prepared to compromise if required.

Related: How to navigate the negotiation process at work in 6 steps

6. Make all of your requests at one time

Make sure to present all your conditions at once. If you want to ask for any changes to the offer, categorise your demands into soft and hard groups. Discuss everything pertaining to compensation, bonuses and company stock as part of your specific hard requirements. Once you've reached an agreement on them, move on to the softer demands, such as holidays, flexible work schedules and a change in the job description or title.

Related: How to negotiate successfully (plus tips and its importance)

7. Make sure you practice your delivery

It's a good idea to ask a colleague or mentor to help you rehearse the discussion before you go in for the meeting. The ideal person is someone who is business-savvy and who can help you project confidence and respond to unexpected enquiries. Running over your delivery a few times helps you feel more confident as you prepare to negotiate.

8. Make a written record of everything

As soon as you and the recruiter reach an agreement, ask for written documentation. The offer letter contains information about any special arrangements such as a signing bonus or an allowance for relocating costs, in addition to a list of the tasks associated with your new position.

Make sure that both you and the company sign the paperwork. Some employers may sign the contract promptly, but if they don't, seek some sort of written proof, such as emails.

9. Make your decision known

Following the completion of your negotiations, notify your employer. During the discussion, whether in person or over the phone, express your acceptance of the terms to the other party. Sending a more official follow-up letter or email helps you to demonstrate your professionalism. This message also assists in obtaining details for the confirmation letter of employment, such as your job title and start date from your employer.

Use the same strategy if you decide to refuse the job offer, that is, communicate your choice orally first and then follow up with a more official email to confirm your decision. There's no need for you to add personal information on why you chose to decline the offer, keep it short and to the point. Make sure to express your gratitude for their thoughtfulness and for the offer you received. Even if you decide on a different position, it's important to preserve a positive and respectful working relationship with them.

Related:

  • How to Decline a Job Offer Professionally (Including Email Templates)

  • What is strategic decision making? (With examples)


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