should I negotiate a job offer on the spot or ask for time to think it over?

A reader writes:

I am currently in the process of interviewing, and it’s my first time doing so for jobs where salary negotiations would be expected to come into play. I have been able to find a lot of advice on how the offer negotiation conversation should go, but am (I’m sure very naively) unsure of when this is supposed to happen.

If a company calls with an offer, am I supposed to negotiate in that opening conversation? Or ask to take time to think about it, then come back and have a discussion after being able to look into things a little more? The second would be easier, but I’m not sure if it is in bad faith and makes it seem like my answer will be a yes or no instead of a negotiation. I’m sure I’m overthinking this but it’s giving me anxiety around the potential prospect of what should be a good thing (an offer)!

You can negotiate on the spot or you can ask for some time to consider the offer and get back to them. Either one is fine.

That said, if you can be prepared to negotiate on the spot, in some ways that can be better. If you ask for some time to think it over first and then you get back to them later with a counter-offer, you’re building more time into the process — which isn’t necessarily a problem, but you might be compressing the amount of time you have to make a final decision once you get their response to your counter. If the company is hoping for your decision within a week and you wait a couple of days before launching negotiations, you’re cutting into that time. And that might be fine! But if you feel ready to talk salary on the spot, I would.

Ideally, before they make you an offer, you’ve already done your research on what salary range you’d be happy with and you’ve figured out how you’d respond to an offer $X or $Y. You definitely don’t want to be starting that process from scratch once you get the offer, since it can take a while to get solid info that lets you really assess a salary offer and know what is and isn’t reasonable. And if you’ve done that work ahead of time, it’s very possible that when the employer calls with an offer, you’ll be ready on the spot to say, “Any chance you could go up to $X?” or otherwise negotiate for what you want.

But if you’re not prepared to do that — or you’re the kind of person who prefers not to do things on the fly or you’re about to be late for another call or whatever — it’s fine to say, “I’m really excited to get this offer. Could I have a day or two to look it over and get back to you?”

{ 56 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. EGA*

    One other thing to consider that may tip things towards waiting is getting a chance to look at the benefits package. If they have things like a large 401K match or pay 100% of the medical premium, (or they don’t and your current employer does) that may play into your negotiations as well.

    Or they may have other valuable characteristics for you such as a short commute, flexible hours, etc.

    Reply
    1. Miss Muffet*

      Yes to all this for sure — salary isn’t the only thing. And if you are gonna end up paying a lot more for your benefits, you may want to consider that in what you ask for Salary. Or vacation time. You won’t probably have all that info before the offer anyway, so you need to be able to consider that in your negotiations.

      Reply
      1. Zombeyonce*

        Vacation time is a major one! The difference between 2 weeks and 6 weeks can be thousands of dollars in annual compensation. Sick time is also important (if it’s not a PTO system). Do you get 3 days a year, or something actually reasonable? Make sure you know what you’re getting into and that it will work for your lifestyle.

        Reply
    2. GammaGirl1908*

      Agreed. Your request for a salary increase isn’t just about salary. It should be part of having considered the whole package of a job offer and decided what you need in that package to make the job acceptable.

      Salary is only one element of your compensation. You might look at culture, insurance, commute, bonuses, incentives, tuition remission, work hours and seasons, PTO / leave, in-office benefits (like my friends who have a free gourmet cafeteria and convenience store in their office), and so forth and decide that no amount of money could make this nightmare okay, OR that an increase of $X will make it worthwhile, OR that they’re paying you plenty considering what all you get.

      Reply
      1. Diahann Carroll*

        All of this. For my current position, I was given the benefits info ahead of them even making me a formal offer (they sent me their summary packet that gave me the highlights) and they told me what the salary range would be in my initial phone screen, so when they did get around to giving me a verbal offer, I asked them to increase the salary (even though my benefits were going to be much cheaper than the ones I already had) because their initial offer wasn’t much higher than what I was making. I would have asked for the top of their range if the benefits had been higher.

        I also asked for five more vacation days upfront and got them. I did take another 24 hours after receiving my written offer to do a deeper dive into the full benefits package just to make sure there wasn’t anything I missed.

        Reply
    3. T. Boone Pickens*

      That’s one thing that I’ve felt was always so bizarre in the interview/offer process was why companies wait so long to send over their benefits package. To me it makes wayyyyy more sense to send it over once the final interview gets scheduled so that way the candidate has plenty of time to review it and if/when the offer comes down they already have an idea of what benefits cost so they can make an educated decision when it comes time to negotiate. It also helps speed up the process and knocks out some of the back and forth plus it can help a candidate determine if they want to stay in the process if there is a large disparity on what they pay for benefits that can’t be made up by salary other perks.

      Reply
      1. Diahann Carroll*

        To me it makes wayyyyy more sense to send it over once the final interview gets scheduled so that way the candidate has plenty of time to review it and if/when the offer comes down they already have an idea of what benefits cost so they can make an educated decision when it comes time to negotiate.

        This is exactly what my current company did, and that really did cut out a lot of back and forth between me and the HR rep. I was even given the salary range for the position in my initial phone screen, so I had a very good idea that I was taking the job if it was offered to me and I would just need to negotiate my vacation time.

        Reply
        1. Environmental Compliance*

          Same here! They sent over the benefits package with the final interview scheduling, and it was really detailed, too. Like, full plan selection stuff for…. everything. I actually had a nice conversation with the internal recruiter too about what benefits I had at Old Job, and how they compared to Current Job (with negatives too!), and they actually included a bump up in salary to account for any loss in benefits they thought I’d have. The offer was about $10k over what I thought I’d get!

          The packet included a decent amount of info on other company information (what the hierarchy was/is, their sustainability plan, stuff like that). It was a pleasantly impressive packet.

          Reply
          1. Diahann Carroll*

            Yeah, the full benefits package I received included stuff like that and our Aetna benefits summary (which itself was about four or five pages). I knew about vacation and sick time accruals and how those were paid out when you leave; tuition reimbursement (the highest I’ve ever had at any company that offered it); all of our extra medical/insurance offerings for things like accident insurance, critical illness insurance, hospital indemnity insurance, etc.; paid parental leave procedures; health advocate services that were available to us, etc. I was just happy to see the medical insurance co-pay/premium info upfront because my last company didn’t share the actual breakdown of how much they paid in premiums versus the employee, and I got a nasty surprise when I started. With this company, I knew they covered 93% of my healthcare premiums and I had a much lower deductible than I had had in years, so I was happy and would come out ahead.

            Reply
            1. Environmental Compliance*

              It was a huge relief, I think, to see it beforehand. There was no surprise “lol but yeah that employer match to your 401 doesn’t start for 1 year whoops” or “oh yeah the insurance is 4x what you’ve ever paid before, whoops” shenanigans.

              And it made the HR department look really, really good going in! And I will say that trend has continued in the few months I’ve now been here.

              Reply
      2. ALIP*

        I’ve interviewed places where they give you a nice folder with general benefit info, some stuff about perks and culture, and other literature after the first interview. I actually thought it was a good way to share a bit more about who you are as a company, since I’m sure there’s things that HR would want the interviewer to mention that they might forget/never get to. I’m a fan of that approach.

        Reply
      3. NotAnotherManager!*

        Oh, gosh, yes – we have a take-away packet (now emailable for zoom interviews) with all the benefits information that we provide at the final interview so that people can look it over even before they receive an offer. There is so much variance in benefits and so much benefits information to review that it only makes sense to give the information for advance review.

        Reply
    4. Public Sector Manager*

      Yes to all of the above! Also, you need to look at whether paid time off can be accrued or whether the company has a “use it or lose it” policy. Is there a cap on how much PTO you can accrue? Does the employer match on a defined contribution plan have a giant asterisks that they could decide not to match at any point in time? On health care, besides the employee out of pocket costs, does the employer offer only PPO coverage? Do they have both PPO and HMO plans? Does their health benefit package include dental and vision?

      Reply
    5. Bostonian*

      Yeah, especially if the salary offer is really close to the number you had in mind, those additional benefits may push the full offer one way or the other (either “more than I was hoping” or “actually not as good as it seems at first glance”).

      Also, if stocks are a thing in your industry (options or awards, not just employee discount), definitely get the details on that. One move I was considering, the salary would have been a 15-20% increase, but the stock options/awards benefit was nowhere near what it is at my current company, so overall compensation would have been a decrease.

      Reply
    6. JSPA*

      I guess if you have not already seen and considered the benefits, you could say, “to save time spent delving into benefits, may I ask if you can go to X?” If they say no, or that they don’t know, but that their benefits and vacation are excellent, “In that case, I’m very interested in the abstract, but I’ll need two days [or whatever] to look into the benefits and other practicalities and crunch the numbers on my end.”

      If they scare up a higher offer, they may call you back while you’re still digging.

      If they say, “now or never,” that’s useful information.

      I don’t think you can do this if you’ve had the benefits and vacation policy available, and not looked it over. But in that case, you can go to, “May I ask if you can go to X?” If they say no, or that they don’t know, but that their benefits and vacation are excellent, “In that case, I’m very interested in the abstract, but I’d need to ask you to reconfirm that, and also check if there’s any flexibility on [name what matters to you–extra vacation, WFH, they pay for you to take language classes, subsidy for an e-bike]. I’ll also crunch some numbers on my end.”

      And then set up a time to talk again.

      Reply
    7. Grim*

      I received a job offer any years ago where I asked for them to detail the cost of their insurance and other benefits.

      I rejected their offer when I learned that the medical coverage was $400 a month, which was over 16% of the base pay they offered me.

      They seemed surprised, when I brought this to their attention, that their insurance would cost me almost $5000 a year, but they didn’t adjust their offer.

      Reply
    8. Sleepytime Tea*

      Completely this. Whenever I am looking at a new job and asked about salary I usually give a number and follow that with “that is of course negotiable and dependent on other benefits.” There is a lot of value in great health insurance or a high 401k match, for example. If the number they’ve offered is lower than what I’m looking for, depending on by how much, I frequently ask to see details of the benefits plans, if I haven’t already, prior to accepting it. Frequently you’re given a bit of an idea of what benefits they have, but not actual costs or details for things like health plans. If they can provide me with that information quickly, I can evaluate how I feel about the salary pretty quickly in most cases.

      Reply
  2. MarMar*

    I negotiated on the spot for my current job, and it worked well. I think it’s important to have your bottom line numbers decided before you receive an offer. You don’t want to be in a position where you’re trying to decide if you want to negotiate in the middle of the call.

    Reply
    1. Not So NewReader*

      Yep. I negotiate on the spot for a temp job offer. I asked for 25% more based on having X under my belt, which they had forgotten. They quickly agreed that was fair and I got the job. (Thanks, Alison.)

      Another bargaining chip might be if you are already insured. I have my own insurance, so this is a point I would try. I know how much I pay per year so I know what that would translate to in my paycheck — at least for me.

      A good way to think about doing this, OP, is to use less words. It just seems easier. So I said, “I have X, which we hadn’t really talked about but I do think that experience allows me to be of more value. I thought something between $y and $z would be reasonable in light of X.” They chose the number in the middle which was 25% more. I was happy.
      Here’s something to think about: Make sure your lower number actually makes you happy. You don’t want to start the job thinking that they low balled you. You want start the job with positive thoughts. Mean what you say and say what you mean. I had decided to be happy with the low end of my range for several reasons, so when they took the middle number I was very happy.

      Reply
  3. What's in a name?*

    Should you wait to see everything in writing before negotiating? I did that with my first job but it took them 2-3 days to get it to me.

    Reply
    1. Zombeyonce*

      No, you don’t need to see everything in writing until you accept the final offer unless you’re worried for some reason that they’re being shady about the job itself. Or maybe if they weren’t clear about exactly what the job entails and you want the job description in writing. But I wouldn’t ask for the offer in writing to negotiate until I was ready to accept.

      Reply
    2. Rich*

      In my experience, that’s not necessary. Absolutely see it in writing before accepting an offer. But an offer letter that lays out the terms is often the last phase of negotiation, not the first. If the salary should be X and it’s Y and you learn that via discussion (or PTO is not what you expect or whatever), the earlier you can start negotiating, the better.

      In sales there’s a maxim “time kills deals”, and I think there’s an element to that in job searches, too. Dragging things out creates more time for something to interfere — another candidate appears, someone else negotiates better and faster, a hiring freeze happens, the hiring manager is trampled in a buffalo stampede, a pandemic happens….

      Absolutely negotiate, absolutely take the time you _need_ to make informed decisions and informed counter proposals. And if the final offer letter changes your understanding of things, it’s still OK to continue negotiating then.

      But when you’re able to move fast, fast is always better.

      Reply
      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Yeah, this is how we do offers as well. It’s so much easier to get to an agreeable number by talking about it, and the written offer will reflect agreed-to comp and also outline PTO, paid holidays, and benefits info. We do provide written materials on benefits prior to an offer because it’s a lot of details that would be tough to convey verbally, but the benefits are also not negotiable where I work.

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yes, the boards I have worked on did this. The goal was to write one offer letter, not five. So we nailed down the particulars in conversation. Then we sent them an offer letter but allowed that we may have missed something that had been covered in the conversation. (We hadn’t.) They were told that if they had a question in the offer letter, let’s talk about it before sealing the deal.

          For the most part, people do speak up and ask if they have a question. I was surprised and happy to see this. It’s important to start out on a good foot.

          Reply
    3. BRR*

      It depends. For my current job the range was posted and they offered me the exact bottom. I already knew I would need more than that so I asked on the spot. There was no chance the benefits would bring the total compensation to an acceptable amount (I was also just so surprised they did the exact bottom it threw me off).

      Reply
      1. Diahann Carroll*

        For my current job the range was posted and they offered me the exact bottom. I already knew I would need more than that so I asked on the spot.

        Ha – this was me with my current position. I got them to agree to pay me near the top of their range instead by just asking and letting them know I had another offer that was actually higher than theirs (which was true).

        Reply
  4. DapperDev*

    I think it depends on the person, but I’d wait and do some research first. I would come up with two proposals when negotiating. The first, would be what I wanted most. This way if they are immediately inflexible, you could propose a second solution to make the job more attractive (more PTO, higher 401k match, etc).

    It’s also helpful to negotiate because you can look at your work history and point to training/expertise that is high-value and justifies negotiating. Also, you can research average wages and ask your mentor/friends for advice as well. If you know anyone who works there, they can give you some insight that could serve as a competitive advantage when negotiating.

    Reply
    1. Anonymous Educator*

      It’s also helpful to negotiate because you can look at your work history and point to training/expertise that is high-value and justifies negotiating.

      You can do that, but I think Alison’s recommended in the past that you can just ask for more. There doesn’t necessarily have to be a huge detailed justification.

      Reply
      1. Zombeyonce*

        You can always start by just asking for more, but if they balk or say you don’t have enough experience to justify that, you need to be ready to back up your ask right then. You’re not going to look great if you ask for more, they say, “We don’t think your background warrants that much,” and you can only say, “Let me get back to you on that.” You need your backup justification figured out ahead of time.

        Reply
        1. DapperDev*

          Yeah, I’m a young professional still learning the ropes, but that was exactly my though process. Depending on the culture/economy/company budget, some of these hiring managers can be real sticklers. It can be helpful to be prepared to defend the ask.

          Reply
    2. Doc in a Box*

      Or to put it another way: always define your BATNA (best alternative to negotiated agreement). You don’t have to tell the company you’re negotiating with — and you probably shouldn’t — but you should know it for yourself.

      Someone once also told me to make a document with three columns: Must Have || Nice to Have || Gravy
      Very helpful when trying to figure out how much a job aligns with career goals!

      Reply
  5. Laura*

    My current job that I had temped at several years ago gave me a X/hr during the phone screen and l said okay but knew it was in the low end of the market. (During my interview my boss said to not take the first offer and HR told me the one other person wanted 1.8X/annually). When they called with the offer, I requested credit for the time I had temped towards pto and retirement. They said no, so I asked for the retirement contribution in salary. But I Second having your plan ready so that you can get the ball rolling quickly

    Reply
  6. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    I’ve often been called by jobs and put on the spot, like, we need an answer RIGHTNOW and we don’t really care if you’re in the grocery store or sitting in an open plan office where all your coworkers can definitely hear you and we’re also not giving you a copy of the benefits package before you make the decision.

    So you really don’t have much power in this situation, in a lot of situations.

    Reply
    1. Public Sector Manager*

      Any decent employer is going to give a person time to think it over. If they don’t, it’s a huge red flag. And if someone is in a position where they have to take a particular job for financial reasons and can’t say no, they probably aren’t in a position to negotiate on salary and other fringe benefits.

      Reply
    2. Diahann Carroll*

      That’s insane and would make me run right away from that offer. If they’re inflexible about something this serious, they’ll be like this with everything – it would be a nightmare to work somewhere so rigid.

      Reply
    3. GammaGirl1908*

      Agree that’s a reason to decline, if you can. I mean, many people would at least need to talk it over with a spouse and come to the agreement that this is the right move for the household (like, does this change anything for our health insurance? will the new place’s work hours or commute mean changes in child care drop and pick up? will we need to cancel the trip we had planned for next month because now you won’t have leave? can Spouse now plan to apply for a graduate program because new job comes with tuition remission?).

      A new job can change things for a whole household, not just for the employee.

      I don’t even HAVE a spouse, and I would be put off that you can’t even give me 24 hours to run the numbers with my spouse.

      Reply
    4. NotAnotherManager!*

      That’s crazy. It’s unusual for anyone to accept our jobs on the spot, and the vast majority of applicants want a day or two to think it over, even for entry-level positions where the salary is fixed. I also have a knee-jerk reaction to say “no” when pressured, so if I had to answer on the spot, I’d have to really want to job or really need to get out of my current one to force myself into a “yes”. I’d also think pressuring people to accept on the spot would lead to more ghosting or acceptance reversals after the candidate had more time to reflect.

      Reply
      1. Emily*

        100% agree, but revel earned that some senior level colleagues (including head of HR ) interpret “can I take a day” with bad news. How can I change that internal insanity?

        Reply
        1. NotAnotherManager!*

          Are there actual stats you can point to? How many people who ask for a day ultimately accept?

          The bigger problem may be that they see “yes” as a win where I see having a good fit on both sides as the goal. As disappointing as it is when someone great turns down an offer, I’d rather continue looking while the hiring pipe is open rather than have someone start, invest time in them, and then have them leave after a short time for something that’s a better fit for them.

          A day is just so reasonable. A lot of people have other people to consider – not ask permission of but to make sure that changes to schedule or pay or benefits are going to work out for your household. Even for a large internal promotion I was offered years ago, my spouse and I had to talk about it because it would mean more hours when we had very small children, and that would impact them significantly and/or impact my ability to do the job well.

          Reply
        2. Gumby*

          It’s interesting because there is research to suggest that a “limited time offer” increases the chance people will buy something (scarcity principle). So demanding or strongly implying that you want an answer right away honestly might increase the number of positive responses. But that really only matters if all you care about is the initial ‘yes’ rather than, say, retention and employee satisfaction.

          Though it could backfire because a job offer is high-consequence. Or because it violates work norms since most people are accustomed to more time for consideration. I’m not sure how exactly it would balance out but job offers that affect people’s livelihoods would be the wrong arena in which to experiment.

          Reply
  7. Oh Fiddlesticks*

    Wait until you hear the whole compensation package, as others have said. But don’t just wait because of that – waiting will make it feel like you’ve given the offer proper consideration. Trying to raise your price when you’ve just heard it will make you seem capricious.

    Reply
  8. AnotherSarah*

    One thing that might be a factor for you is insurance copays (not premiums, which others have mentioned). This kind of thing can change without warning, obviously, if a company decided to switch insurance providers. But it’s worth trying to do a little sleuthing beforehand (not always easy, and you might not find answers). For things like therapy especially, there can be huge differences–if you see a therapist weekly and pay $10 copays, that’s a real difference in yearly copays from insurance that charges $40 copays for therapy. Or if you really need to be seeing a specific doctor, it’s definitely worth it to know more about the health plan.

    Reply
    1. One KED Is All You Need*

      Absolutely this. Our coverage changed this year for physical therapy, going from “no cost once deductible has been met” to “$50 per visit, regardless of if deductible has been met.” For some people that wouldn’t have a huge impact (it doesn’t for me) but for those who meet their deductible every year (and hey, makes sense that someone who needs regular physical therapy may also be likely to meet their deductible) it’s a massive change and impact to their bottom line.

      Reply
  9. Waffles*

    Does this advice change if the person who contacts you doesn’t have the authority to make salary decisions? For my current job, an administrative assistant contacted me with the offer. I didn’t attempt to negotiate (stupidly I know, but it was 2009, I was fresh out of school, and I was just happy to have an offer during the recession) but I assume that either way she would have to either put me in touch with someone who had that authority or acted as a go-between. Curious what others have experienced in situations like that.

    Reply
  10. learnedthehardway*

    If the compensation package is at all complicated – ie. salary plus bonus, plus benefits – I would ask to review the offer letter (ie. get it in writing) before negotiating.

    A) that way you have the offer in writing, which is important for clarity about what they are offering and to avoid miscommunications.
    B) that way you can negotiate the whole offer after you’ve had some time to really evaluate it. You’ll want to think about what you want, what you’ll accept, and what you could trade off.

    It’s a good idea to negotiate the offer as a whole – ie. discuss base, bonus, benefits, vacation, perks, etc. etc. all at once – rather than to negotiate piecemeal. Not only does it look more professional and avoid the appearance of penny/nickel/diming the employer by coming back again and again on individual issues, but it also enables you to present options – eg. “I’m looking for $10K more on the base, but could be flexible on that if there was another week of vacation”. You need some time to figure out what you can reasonably ask for and what you’re willing to compromise on. Plus, it’s somewhat impressive to have a candidate who knows how to negotiate – you’ll get more respect if you negotiate the package as a whole.

    Reply
  11. inoffensive nickname*

    Negotiating on the spot is a huge red flag for me. I had an interview for a management position and was offered a job on the spot. (1st red flag) I said I needed to think about it for a day or two and asked whether I could get back to him. He acted insulted that I didn’t accept on the spot, was pushy and seemed desperate. (2nd and 3rd red flags) He then insinuated the offer wouldn’t be there longer than a day or so, so to hurry in getting back to him. (4th red flag – more about tone than what he said) I accepted that job. It was awful.
    It sucked away ten months of my life and left me having violent nightmares about my former boss after I ended up getting fired for being ethical and calling him out on EEOC violations. The job was in a temp staffing office and I was asked by their biggest client not to send any [racial slurs]. The dude calling was either one of the biggest bigots ever, or was testing the waters with me. I replied “Of course. We don’t send out any [racial slurs] to job sites.” Instead, I sent them two hard working, competent workers, one who happened to be Latino, and the other was African American. The next day, Boss was fit to be tied and asked WTH I had done. I said the client asked me not to send any [racial slurs], and I didn’t send him any [racial slurs] but I did send him two hard working men, who happened to have brown skin. I got fired not long after that. I had naively kept all my documentation in my desk drawer at work, and it had been emptied before I was given a box and told to vacate the premises. Long story short…if the company seems desperate or wants an answer right away, run away as fast as you can. This may not be the OP’s situation, but that’s why offers on the spot give me the creeps.

    Reply
      1. Anonymous Educator*

        Yeah, it seems as if they were more fodder to prove a point than anything. Still a terrible situation for inoffensive nickname to be in (and the two workers they sent to the bigot).

        Reply
      2. Mami21*

        I actually think that was a flat-out awful thing to do to the workers! Why would you send unaware POC to work for racists who’d already shown they had no problem with being openly racist in a professional setting? I find that a really tone-deaf, passive aggressive way to ‘deal’ with the problem.

        Reply
    1. Taniwha Girl*

      I’m not sure the racism and poor treatment of workers at that company had anything to do with negotiating on the spot. Instead I think their rushed and rude negotiation style was a symptom of the larger dysfunction in the company.

      Reply
  12. designbot*

    Another thing I take into account on this is how ready I am to accept the offer. If the price is the only issue left to consider because everything else lines up, then sure, negotiate on the spot. But I wouldn’t want to negotiate, have them accept, and then ask them to wait for my answer. If they come match your counter, you should be prepared to accept it at that time.

    Reply
  13. OneDayAtATime*

    OP 1: Sending you lots of love. Currently going through a similar situation with my alcoholic partner who is also bipolar. The last couple of months have been so heartbreaking, but I made the decision early on in quarantine to ask my boss for flexibility in taking off time with little to no notice, and I’m so glad I did. One thing that has helped tremendously has been having one trusted friend/coworker who knows what’s going on, and whenever I need to take off time to help my partner, they make sure to help fill in the gaps in any time sensitive requests at work, so I can truly disconnect from the job, even if it’s just to take a few hours to grieve.

    Reply
  14. Greg*

    I’m the type of person who definitely needs time to think it all through, but if you’re the quick on your feet it can be beneficial. Agree with Alison about only doing it if you have all the numbers down cold. The other thing is that you should only do it if you’re prepared to take yes for an answer. If they offer you $X and you ask for $Y and they say, “Done”, then you’re kind of committed to accept (you can change your mind, but it will make you look bad) and you also can’t then turn around and try to negotiate everything else.

    But if all those conditions hold, the big advantage of doing it is that you can use time as leverage. Typically when a hiring manager is making an offer, they want to get that person to accept as soon as possible and be done with the process. So if you know everything you want and are willing to say yes, you can say to them, “Give me $Y and these benefits and this many vacation days and I’m prepared to say yes right now.” That’s a powerful incentive to get them to agree (That’s assuming they have the power to make those concessions. They may tell you they have to go back to their boss to get sign-off. But even then, you’re still ahead of the game because now you’ve set the terms of the negotiation.)

    Reply
  15. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    You should already have a figure in your head when they call you.

    If the offer is DRASTICALLY short of what you would work for, then tell the person who calls, that’s nowhere near what I’d work for, thanks for your time.

    If the offer is not way off the mark, then negotiate. “I was looking for….” — of course, going into ANY situation, especially if you’re jumping to a new company – consider =

    – vacation time
    – health care benefits (huge in this day and age)
    – life insurance (don’t laugh, if you’re the family breadwinner this is important)
    – consider commuting expenses and time
    – 401K matching and vesting time

    These should be figured into your salary negotiation.

    Reply

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