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The Art of The Offer


It happens every day. You've had phone interviews, onsite interviews, countless phone calls with the company recruiter, and now you finally are getting an offer. You wait for what seems like an eternity and then you get the call or email…..and disappointment suddenly sets in. The offer is not what you were expecting.

So now what do you do? How do you negotiate a better offer and still not blow the opportunity?

The situation I described happens all too often and can test the patience of even the most experienced individual. The questions start to run through the mind; Is this all that I'm worth? Is this my only option? Have salaries fallen this low in a recession? How can I …………. you get the point.

The tendency with most people is let more than a reasonable amount of emotion color their response. And while I'm not going to advocate a cyborg like disposition. I am going to counsel a bit of strategy and zen calm before you answer.

After you get past your initial shock at the lower than expected offer (and thanked the person who presented it to you), the first thing that you need to do is buy some time to plan your response. There are a few professional ways to do this, but here are some of the ones that tend to work best:
  • Ask for the offer in writing if it was presented verbally.
  • Tell the company that you need to talk it over with your spouse or mentor.
  • Tell the company that you need to review your finances to make certain that their compensation plan will fit your household budget needs.

However you decide to delay the importing things for you to communicate are gratitude for the offer, and the need for you to carefully contemplate your options before you respond. Remember you have a minimum of 2 take it or leave it.

Now that you have created some space to mull the offer details you'll need to assess a few things. Here are some things to consider:
  1. Do you fully understand the total annual value of your compensation plan? Believe it or not very few people take the time to fully calculate the compensation plan's value.
  2. Are you willing to walk away if you don't get what you need?
  3. What is the least amount of money that you will accept?
  4. How realistic are your other options?
  5. And most important; Do you truly want the job?

Once you know the answer to these questions you should have a good idea about what to ask for when you go back. As long as you stay realistic about your compensation requirements, what you ask for is less important than how you ask.

The secret to the offer process (and the interview process) is your level of
enthusiasm. There isn't a hiring manager or recruiter in the world that will fight for a better offer for a candidate that is not clearly communicating that they want the job.

So when you attempt to get a better offer communicate your enthusiasm at every turn. That means verbally and in emails. Now how you do this is up to you, just be sincere. Anything canned or overly contrived will sound insincere and have the exact opposite effect. You don't have to blow sunshine up their corporate logo, just let them know that you're want the job to happen but the offer has to work for everyone involved.

So long as you and your prospective employer stay reasonable you'll find that conveying enthusiasm will get you a long way towards your compensation goals during the offer stage.

Cheers, R-A-L