Saturday November 02, 2013 | 08:30 AM
Posted by Barbara Babkirk

87% of employers expect applicants to negotiate the terms of an employment offer, but, fewer than 40% actually do—and less than half are women. Surprised?

Those numbers represent significant dollars lost in a higher starting salary and future pay increases--not to mention possible opportunities for more vacation time or flexible work schedules.
Here are key reasons why job applicants avoid negotiating employment offers:  never considered it; were afraid or not assertive; assumed there was no room for discussion; did not want to appear “pushy”.

When you’re offered a job, you’ve out-done the competition and that typically puts you in a good place to negotiate.

On average, it costs a company $3500 to hire a new employee. Understandably, they don’t want to lose that investment and re-start the hiring process once they’ve made an offer.

While in most cases, it’s wise to negotiate an offer, it’s essential to justify the request. Needing more compensation to pay your mortgage is not enough!

Keep the following tips in mind as you consider an offer:

  1. What is the marketplace paying in your geographic area for this position? Make comparisons by checking out,
  2. How closely do your skills align with the job requirements? How many years experience do you bring to this position? Can you “hit the ground running” when you start, eliminating training expense? Let the value you bring help you determine the appropriate placement on the range of salaries you found.
  3. Take time to contemplate your job offer. If you can justify asking for a higher salary or for other perks like more vacation time, or working a day or two from home, then be thoughtful about how you make the request.
  4. Express your excitement about the position and gratitude for the offer. Then indicate that you’re requesting additional compensation (or benefits) and give your rationale for the request.

There are considerations beyond compensation and benefits that could justify your accepting a position even if the offer seems low—such as an opportunity to increase or deepen your skills, get experience in a growth industry or shift to a new career.

In the end, celebrate the offer and make your decision based on current and factual information combined with your knowledge of the value you’ll bring to the organization.


About this Blog

Barbara Babkirk is a Master Career Counselor and founder of Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement firm in Portland.

With a focused and intuitive approach, Barbara makes a difference in people’s lives by helping them design a new life chapter. She has a successful record guiding career transitions for professionals ranging from executives and artists to attorneys and entrepreneurs.

An expert in her field, Barbara is a public speaker on work-related topics writes a solutions-oriented column about work for the Portland Sunday Telegram.


Scott Woodard is a career coach with Heart At Work Associates, a career counseling and outplacement business in Portland, Maine.

Scott works with clients to identify and articulate their value and their personal brand. He helps clients develop clear, concise and crisp messaging to convey their particular difference, their achievements and their approach.

Scott coaches clients to market their brand through social media platforms, especially LinkedIn. He offers monthly workshops on how to make the most of LinkedIn for businesses or job seekers.

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