Negotiating Job Offers

You’ve networked like crazy, gotten that coveted interview spot, and converted the interview into a full time job offer. You’re all set! Well.. almost. There’s a little wrinkle in the offer; you want more money, a different location, a different role, or something else which needs to change before the offer can become perfect for you. How do you go from where you are to where you need to be? You’ve got to negotiate!

I recently attended a panel on negotiating your job offer which was organized by the Kellogg Women’s Business Association (WBA), and I learned a few good ideas which I believe are worth sharing:

 1. Just Ask: A lot of times, women (and other minorities) are just plain scared to ask for what they want because they’re afraid of what people might think. Now I don’t have any data to support this, but I’m pretty sure that this is a key reason why we end up earning less than our peers on average. When you ask for what you want, you usually get one of three responses: yes, no or not yet. Since none of these responses make you worse than you were before asking, why not just go ahead and ask?!

2. Timing Matters: Sometimes the degree of flexibility that you can expect from a firm depends on when you try to negotiate. Just like business schools, companies usually extend more offers than the positions they have available, knowing that some candidates will decline their offer. The yield target for such firms is the number of candidates that accept their offer as a proportion of the total number of offers extended. How does this basic math affect your negotiation strategy? If the firm you are negotiating with is a hot employer (think McKinsey, Google, Goldman Sachs), then they’ll probably hit their yield targets quite early in the recruitment process, and become less flexible as you move towards your offer deadline. On the other hand, if the firm is not a hot choice among your peers – but is a great fit for you – you may want to negotiate a bit closer to your offer deadline. The HR folks will probably be more accommodating as they come under pressure to hit their yield targets.

3. Use Data that Supports Your Argument: There is a good 4-min video from the panel that addresses this topic.

4. Make it About Them and Not About You: Also clearly addressed in a 3-min panel video.

In the spirit of the holidays, I’ll share one more really good video about negotiating your job offer which I found online. This guy is a rock star at Harvard Business School and after viewing the video, it’s easy to understand why. Oh and by the way, he got his PhD at Kellogg… #justSaying 🙂

Image by Kellogg School of Management

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