5 Tips to Negotiate a Better Job Offer

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More often than not, negotiating salary presents great upside and very little downside.
More often than not, negotiating salary presents great upside and very little downside.

You did it. You applied for a position at a practice, navigated the interview process, and, after a long wait, received the news you'd been hoping to hear:

We'd like to offer you the position.

All of your hard work and patience have paid off. Time to celebrate, right? Not so fast. There's still one thing left to address: the negotiation.

Before you sign on the dotted line, you and your prospective employer will need to come to an agreement on how you'll be compensated for your services. Job offers are negotiable, so don't assume the initial offer is the best and final offer.

Here are 5 tips to negotiate a better job offer:

1. Make a Counteroffer

I understand what you're thinking. You fear you'll come off as greedy or unreasonable if you make a counteroffer. That's partly why 59% of American employees accept the first offer they receive without negotiating. But, more often than not, there's a lot of upside and very little downside in negotiating. Counteroffers are a part of business and are to be expected. The chances they will rescind the offer or think negatively of you for negotiating are slim.

2. Negotiate Benefits

There's more to job negotiations than a dollar amount. If your soon-to-be employer is unwilling to negotiate salary – and even if they are willing – you should see if they'll budge elsewhere. If they can't offer you a higher salary, perhaps they can offer you an earlier performance review. They might also be able to offer extra vacation and sick days, greater 401k contributions, student loan repayment, or a commuting budget.

3. Do Your Homework

Research the average salary for professionals in your specialty with your experience level. Take a look at the 2018 Salary Survey to start. Websites such as Glassdoor, PayScale, and LiveCareer can also help set reasonable salary expectations. Prepare your case. Formulate a pitch that not only includes your findings but also a list of achievements and skills that reinforce your value.

4. Be Gracious and Polite

No matter what offer you receive, remember that you're being offered a job. That's a big deal. If the offer isn't what you expected, remain gracious and polite anyway. Keep in mind, this is a negotiation, not a dispute. The last thing you want to do is argue with a prospective employer and risk getting off on the wrong foot or losing the offer.

5. Be Prepared to Say No

While you should remain respectful and pleasant, that doesn't mean you should accept any offer you get. If you're being offered a salary that's far below your worth (and you can back that up), consider turning down the offer. Of course, in some cases saying no isn't an option. But, if you can afford not to take the job, step back and really think about what you're willing to accept.

Key Takeaways

  • Don't be afraid to make a counteroffer
  • Negotiations aren't limited to salary
  • Research and prepare your case
  • Be kind and respectful
  • Be prepared to say no

To learn about the gender wage gap among nurse practitioners and physician assistants, click here.

Reference

3 in 5 employees did not negotiate salary. Glassdoor. May 2, 2016. Accessed August 1, 2018.

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