Accepting A Job Offer: The Art Of Negotiation

It’s another productive Wednesday. As we continue our series on tips on how to be your best in job interviews. Today we will talk about the art of negotiation in accepting a job offer. #jobinterviews #SmartStart #SierraLeone

Just because you were offered a job doesn't mean you have to say yes. You may have been completely certain about the job when you first interviewed with the company, but throughout the hiring process, perhaps you learned some things about the position that now gives you pause. Is it really the ideal situation for you, or should you keep on looking? Now is the time to make sure you're getting what you want.


Start with thank you. Whether you want the job or not, you should feel flattered that someone would choose you out of the group of contenders. Always be gracious and appreciative of the offer. If you are confident that this is the right job for you, accept the offer and ask that the employer confirm it in writing.

If you decide this is not the job for you, say something positive about the company and how much you enjoyed interviewing with the employer. Be polite. You don't want to burn any bridges. Let the employer know in a diplomatic way that you are looking for a position more suited to your expectations, but that you are very impressed with what the company has to offer.

For most people, the answer will be neither yes nor no. You may need some time to think about it. In that case, again express your appreciation, but indicate that you need a little time to consider the offer. Most employers do not expect an immediate acceptance and are accustomed to applicants asking for additional time, even if it is simply as a formality. Agree on a reasonable time frame in which to get back to the employer with your final decision.


Applicants should be aware that this is a critical junction in the negotiation process. If you show too much resistance, interviewers may begin second-guessing their decision, wondering if you are really motivated to work for them. Remember, the interviewer most likely has a second- and possibly third-choice candidate in mind for the position (perhaps with very similar experience and abilities).

Lack of enthusiasm, hedging, wishy-washy responses, asking for too much additional time, etc. can send out the wrong message. An employer is looking for your behavior to validate his or her choice. Choose your words and actions wisely.


Here are some key questions to ask yourself as you begin to evaluate whether this position is the right one for you:

* Is the job interesting to me? Will it make use of my skills and talents?

* Will the job help my career? Does it fit into my long-range career plans?

* Do I have the opportunity for advancement?

* Is the organization in an industry with favorable long-term prospects?

* Is the location favorable? Will it offer available housing, transportation, educational facilities that I need? Is the commute suitable?

* Will I be compensated fairly? Are the fringe benefits satisfactory or bare minimum?

* Is the job environment one I could feel comfortable in? Does my work style fit with theirs? Can I get along with my co-workers

* Is my boss someone I can work with? Can I accept instructions and mentoring from this person?

* What's the turnover rate at the company? Do people like to work there?

* Will the job fit in with my other commitments (family, friends, outside pursuits)? Will it require more of me than I'm willing to give? Is the organization flexible enough for me? Does it fit with my lifestyle preferences?

* Will I be fairly evaluated? Are there periodic performance reviews, commendations, opportunities for growth?

* Is the company stable? Does it have a solid reputation in the industry, or do I get the sense I'm being asked to save a sinking ship?


Once you've answered the questions above to your satisfaction, do a little research about your profession. Find out what the average salary range is for your field and in your geographic area of deployment. Some vacancy adverts sometimes provide salary ranges for similar positions.

In addition to the research outcomes, make a list of your qualifications and credentials. Clearly, if an offer was made, the employer views you as a standout. If you'd like to negotiate for a higher salary, define why your skills and experiences should translate into more money or better benefits. Practice what you are going to say. Seeming hesitant or unsure will make you appear vulnerable to an employer, giving him or her the upper hand in the negotiating game.


Too often people make salary their "bottom line." This is a mistake, as there are often other forms of compensation that, when added up, amount to a considerable benefit. Make sure you consider factors beyond the end of month pay, such as:

* Educational benefits

* Leave allowances

* Leave days

* End of service terms

* Health and other insurance coverage

* Training benefits

* Performance-based compensation

* Travel

In addition, take into account some of the "softer" benefits. A casual, low-stress work environment may be very persuasive to you. The job might involve a level of mental stimulation and creative challenge you need to feel happy and fulfilled. It may offer you an unusual amount of flexibility and independence. It may be a family- or community-oriented company that supports your values. You can't affix a monetary value to these factors, but they can be every bit as important to you as salary.


First, remember that your decision to negotiate will not result in the employer rescinding his or her offer. Negotiation is an expected part of the hiring process. You are well within your rights to ask for a compensation package that meets your expectations, so long as they are reasonable.

In the salary negotiation, try not to be the first one to mention a salary figure. That locks you in...and it is an unfortunate truth that the one who mentions the salary figure first usually ends up losing in the negotiation. If the offer is below your expectation, find out what the benefits include. You might begin the negotiation process by simply saying that you are very interested in the position, but disappointed that the offer is lower than expected.

Reinforce your position by quoting the statistics you've collected on current salary ranges in your field, and by citing your valuable skills and qualifications. Be firm, but non-confrontational. You are grateful for the offer and confident that this can be a "win-win" situation for both of you.

When citing a counter offer, it's best to aim for the top of your estimated salary range. Be prepared to accept less than this, as many employers have formal pay structures or fixed entry-level salaries. Be sensible, but aim high. The worst that can happen is they'll say no.

Finally, make sure you get the final offer in writing, particularly if it must now reflect a modified salary or benefits package. Typically such a letter indicates a starting date, salary, employment location, fringe benefits and supervisor.

Don’t burn the bridges, be polite, assertive and remain a professional during your negotiations on a job offer. Know your value by considering all factors. Experience carries the most value, education sets the foundation for a valuable work experience and a good attitude keeps you going.

All the best in that interview.

Keep it professional!

#Smartstart SL LTD #Professionalismdefined