When is the Right Time to Counter a Job Offer?

Transcript from Video

Have you ever received a job offer and then asked yourself, “Should I negotiate or should I not negotiate?”

I get questions every day from people that are like, “Hey Don. I got a job offer. Should I negotiate it?” And my response is, “I don’t really know. I don’t know if you should negotiate or not”. And that’s what I’m going to teach you in this video today, “Should you negotiate or should you not?”

I mean, the topic of negotiation is a very big one and I could spend hours teaching you how to negotiate. But instead, I want to help you decide if you should negotiate or not negotiate.

And there’s no one right way to negotiate; people automatically think that negotiation is about getting more money. It’s not.

Negotiating is making sure that you are getting what you need. That could be money, that could be benefits, that could be vacation, that could be privileges; it could be anything. So, it depends on what’s most important to you.

So, the first thing you need to ask yourself is, “Are they giving me what I need?” “Are they giving me what I asked for?” So, for example, let’s say you asked for $80 thousand, a car and an office and three weeks’ vacation. And they gave you; the office, the car, the $80 thousand and the three weeks’ vacation. So, if you try to negotiate an offer where they matched exactly what you asked for, you might come across as a little bit greedy.

But let’s say they only offered you $70 thousand dollars, but they still gave you the office and they still gave you the car and they gave you the vacation. So, now you have to ask yourself, “Should I go in there and negotiate for that other $10 thousand or should I try to get closer to that $80 thousand mark that I’m looking for?” That depends. Are you happy with the offer? Do you feel comfortable with the offer? Did they tell you that we’re not able to give you 80, but we can give you 70?

So, you have to weigh everything out. You have to decide if they’re giving you is fair. And if you feel that it’s unfair or maybe you could get more money or benefits somewhere else, then maybe it’s time to negotiate. And that’s where you go in and you try to ask them for more to get closer to what you need.

Notice I said “need” and not “want”. I mean, because we all want more. I always one more. Anytime I go in for a job interview and I get it, it’s like I always want more money than what they’re giving me. Do I need more? Probably not; what they’re giving me is fair.

So, in most cases, there’s nothing wrong with countering a job offer. But you have to ask yourself, “Are they giving you what you asked for?” If they are, then you should probably just accept that and it’ll be a smoother transition into going to work for them.

If you muddy the waters and you counter an offer that is fair to you and it’s fair to them and it’s market value, you could be doing yourself a disservice. And it is possible they could withdraw the offer; it’s unlikely, but it’s possible.

The best way to decide if you should negotiate or not is you have to ask yourself, “Are you getting everything you need? Did they give me what I need? Did they give me the benefits that I need? Did they give me the salary that I needed?”

What’s important to you? What’s important to you isn’t necessarily important somebody else. Some people want more money, some people want more benefits, some people want more privileges; it just depends. So, you have to ask yourself these questions. What’s important to me? What do I need?

And the last one is, “Am I willing to walk away from the deal if I don’t get what I ask for?” So, let’s say, for example, they’re giving you everything; they’re giving you the office, they’re giving you the car, they giving you the three weeks’ vacation. But they’re not budging on the money. They’re going to stay there and get the 70 thousand, even though you want 80. Are you willing to walk away from that deal over $10 thousand? Maybe you are, maybe you’re not; I don’t know. But you have to ask yourself that question.

And when you put yourself in the position to be willing to walk away from a deal that gives you tremendous leverage and strength in the deal. That means, “If I don’t get what I want, I’m leaving and I’m going to go somewhere else”.

If you’re just desperate and you don’t want to muddy the waters and you really need this job, you can still try to negotiate; maybe you try to get them to 75 thousand instead of 70. You just push them say, “Hey, can you get a little closer just to 75” and see what they do. It’s a possibility; maybe they’ll say, “Yes” maybe they’ll say “No”.

But when you’re negotiating, you need to have a fallback plan. So, if you ask them for more money and they say no, you should have something all lined up; already prepared that you want to ask again. Like, “Okay, you won’t give me more money, can you give me a little bit more vacation then?”

And if they can’t give you that, if they just keep saying, “No, no, no; we can’t do that”, then you can ask them, “Hey, what about in six months; after you get to try for six months here and you evaluate my performance, would you consider giving me the full 80 thousand in six months?”

Now, this kind of takes the risk factor out of it for them because they get to try you out for six months, see how you do, evaluate your performance and then they like you, then they’ll commit to their deal and they’ll give you the full 80 thousand.

So, that’s one little trick that you can do to kind of take the risk out of it for them, accept the offer and then go ahead and do a good job for him for the next six months and then he can get that extra money. That’s one way you can do it.

But your best strategy, before you commit to negotiating, is to map out all possibilities. Like, if you say this, what could they possibly say back? And you need to map out what you’re going to do for every yes and no that you hear back from them, “No, we can’t do this” “Yes, we can do this”.

So you need to think about this in advance. If you don’t, you’re going to blow the negotiation and you’re probably going to look like a fool or you’re going to look greedy or something. So, plan out your negotiation strategy in detail. “What are all the possibilities? What can they say? If I ask for more money, what would they counter with? And if they countered with a certain number, my threshold number, then I’ll say no and I’ll say I can’t do it and I’ll walk away”. You have to map out the strategy.

And more of anything; when you negotiate, do it on the phone or in person. Never negotiate in e-mail; that puts you at an extreme disadvantage. Because if you’re just type in and say, “I’m looking for more money” like that, they can just reply back and say, “No”. And you don’t get to see their expressions on their face, you don’t get to hear what that no really sounds like. So, it’s very important that you only negotiate on the phone or in person, so you can see what’s on their face, you can hear how they sound, you can read their body language and they can read your body language. Maybe they’ll see or hear that you are not willing to go below a certain number and that they better come up to that number or you’re going to walk away. It’s why it’s so important you negotiate on the phone.

So, from the top; ask yourself, are the giving you everything you asked for? If they are, you probably don’t need to negotiate and just accept the offer because it’s a good, fair offer. If you’re not getting everything you need or you asked for, then decide what those things are and then go in and ask for them; it’s as simple as that. And if they’re not giving you everything you need, then try to ask for more of some other things; just so you can get a closer, total overall package that makes you happy and comfortable and want to come and work there.

First, decide if you need to negotiate. If they’re giving you everything you asked for, you probably don’t need to negotiate. If you’re not getting everything you asked for, then map out a strategy and decide what you want to aim for. If it’s more money, more benefits, more vacation; whatever it is, decide what you want and structure that. Have your first here, if they don’t give you what you ask for in the first round, just have something lined up that you’re going to ask for secondary and the third.

So, you have different layers set aside; the first things you want, the second things you want, the third thing. So, if you don’t get one, go for two, if you don’t get two, go for three; but try to get something. And you get nothing; if they give absolutely nothing, then you either accept their offer or you walk away; it’s up to you. I can’t tell you if this offer is right for you or not. Only you can do that.

That’s all I have for you today, my friend. Good luck on your next interview. We’ll see you next time.

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About The Author

Don Georgevich

Author of 4 top selling interviewing books, speaker, and job interview strategy coach. The one person everyone calls on before a difficult job interview.

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