A Glassdoor study shows that nearly 60% of people don’t negotiate their first job offer. That number is also not split evenly across genders. 68% of women did not negotiate while 52% of men did not negotiate. 

It can be a weird and awkward time. You are excited to get an offer and you like the organization and you don’t want to come across as needy, ungrateful and the offer is ok. 

Think of your starting salary as a baseline in investment. Even small changes can impact you if you stay around the company for a while. Let’s say you missed out on just $2,000 in salary. After 5 years that is $10,617.76 in lost income. $5,000 missed equates to $26,544.40 and it only gets worse from there. 

Know what’s important to you before you start

It’s not always about money. Think about things in your life that are a priority and look to see if there are areas in the job offer to enhance those opportunities. Is work-life balance important? Maybe you can try to get more vacation days. Are you trying to further your education? Ask about continuing learning and tuition reimbursement. It can even be something like the flexibility to telecommute some days. 

Be likable

It’s important to stay very positive during the negotiation phase, even if the offer is not where you wanted it to be. Just as in life, if the other party finds you likable, friendly, courteous, and humble, they are more likely going to help go to bat for you. Just as we said in Negotiating the Raise (EP 190) keep all of your personal issues out of this talk. 

The first to blink is at a disadvantage

When asked your salary expectations, reply with, “I’m excited about the opportunity and open to reasonable offers.” If the person asks again, Ask them if they have a range for the position that you are interviewing for. Half the time they will tell you a range. Know that it’s not set in stone, but it gets you an idea of a number that you can give them. Alternatively, if you feel like you have to give them a number first, give them a range instead of a specific number. 

Negotiate together

Some people will say to settle the salary questions first and then move on to other items you want to discuss. My advice is to negotiate them all together. Imagine that you go to bat for someone and get them what they want. They thank you and then ask you to go back and do it all again for another item. How many times would you do that before becoming unaccommodating?  

Tell them honestly and openly what you’d like some help in and then let them know what the priorities are for you. If you don’t the person may come back with adjustments on your bottom two things only and think that they have done a good job in helping you. 

Be prepared and willing to settle

Be prepared when you ask for more. Know what the salary and package looks like for similar roles in your industry and geographical area. Lean in to what makes you unique and state your value for the organization. 

Be willing to settle on things that are less important to you. Your goal is to take a great package while letting the organization have a feeling that they won both in the package and in securing your talent. 

Be realistic in your negotiations, show your value, stay positive and you’ll likely come to an agreement where both parties see it as a win.  

Make a better tomorrow.