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16 Apr

How to Negotiate a Job Offer: The Seattle University Guide

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You’ve done the work: Dug through job postings, wrote an impressive cover letter, and nailed the interview. After all of that, you finally have a job offer. The problem? Now, you need to negotiate your new offer.

When it comes to salary negotiation tips, the best approach is to be direct and forthright with your new employer. It can feel intimidating, but there are a few steps you can take to make sure you feel as confident as you sound when it comes to ironing out both the big and fine details. To be successful, it can take a lot of legwork and research, so try not to wait until receiving the offer to start preparing. To help, we’ve pulled together our favorite advice for how to negotiate a job offer with poise.

Research Online

One of the biggest challenges of how to negotiate a job offer is knowing where to start. What salary should you be asking for? Aim too low and risk accidentally lowballing yourself out of a better sum. However, asking astronomically over the employer’s budget and you might risk losing the opportunity. Heading online is your best place to start, though it definitely should not be the only research you do. Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed use your city or region to give you the spectrum of what peers in your area say they’re earning. They can be incredibly helpful if you’re worried about seeming inexperienced in front of a hiring manager.

Ask Around

Unfortunately, just looking at an online salary database is not the best way to decide what’s an appropriate ask because many of them use self-reported data. That’s why it’s important to tap into your own network to see if any of your connections are familiar with the company. They might even know a colleague who currently works there and can give you an idea of the office culture and its financial budgets. Your network connections can also share with you what they personally make or what they’ve made in previous positions similar to yours.

Even with this insider and industry background, it’s important to take this information with a grain of salt. Two companies in the same field can have completely different expectations and responsibilities for the exact same job title. An associate director at one company might have 10 years of experience, a graduate degree, and oversee 10 employees, while a director at another might only have five years experience and no direct reports.

Think Broadly

It’s very possible that increasing your starting salary is simply impossible. Smaller organizations or nonprofits might not have the flexibility in their budgets to offer you the average salary for this kind of position or for your experience and education level. That’s why it’s important to have an idea if there are other benefits you would feel comfortable negotiating for. This can include a better job title, more vacation days, and work-remote opportunities. You can also request for a one-time financial perk that might help address immediate concerns you have. Could they cover your relocation expenses? Or would it be possible to allocate additional funds in their budget to purchase new equipment or programs? Again, research is essential before making this ask, so be aware of industry standards and what similar companies offer employees.

Don’t Be Rushed

Often the question of salary expectations comes up at the beginning of the interviewing process. It’s perfectly fine to be vague or explain to a hiring manager that you’d need to learn more about the position and its responsibilities before committing to a number. In many cases, the manager will volunteer a rough estimate of what they’ve budgeted to pay their eventual new hire. Once the offer is made though, don’t feel like you have to give a yes or no on the spot. Ask for a day or two to look over the offer letter and the benefits package you’ve been offered. From there, you can decide if everything aligns with your expectations.

Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

Finally! You’ve done the homework, so now it’s time to look at how to negotiate a job offer when it actually happens. Much like your job interview, the smartest thing you can do is prepare. It might feel silly, but the best approach for a difficult phone call or meeting is to rehearse what you’ll say. Practice making your salary request, and then keep practicing until it feels routine. By hearing the words come out of your mouth, you’re actually getting more comfortable with them. That’ll translate to the negotiation process, where you’ll be cool, calm, and direct in what you’re asking for.


Know Your Value With Seattle U

Throughout the job search and interview process, having reliable and experienced guidance can be key. Through the Albers Career & Placement Center, Seattle University students can use career advising, the Albers Mentorship Program and other services to find the advice and insights they need.

“The Albers Placement Center is a dedicated resource to help online MBA and MSBA students prepare for interviews, as well as provide connections to the local business community,” says Mary Lou Moffat, the center’s director.

When it comes to salary negotiation tips, it’s imperative to know your value: the professional experience you’ve obtained, the knowledge and skill sets you possess, and the education you’ve earned. A graduate business degree from Seattle Albers can help amplify your worth with the leadership and communication skills to be a true asset to any organization. Learn more about the career paths open to our Online MBA and Online Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) programs.