Why It is Too Late to Negotiate Salary after Receiving a Job Offer

You’ve received a job offer and you’re ready to negotiate, woohoo! Now what?!

If you haven’t already prepared to negotiate prior to receiving the offer, it’s too late and here’s why: you’re under pressure.

The excitement of interviewing, moving forward in the process, and hearing the words “you’re the one” can quickly wear off when you realize it’s time to talk about money.  The pressure is on: do you say yes or do you ask for more? In order to land the best new job offer possible and to celebrate your new role and paycheck, it pays to do some prep work.

To be as effective as possible during the new job offer negotiation process, you have to prepare before you receive the offer.  Ideally, the preparation process should start before you have your first interview. I wish there was an easier way, but to feel confident in a negotiation means you are clear on your must-haves in your next role before you put yourself out in the job market. The more you self-reflect and determine what you want from a new job – from culture and pay to responsibilities and career development – the easier it will be to negotiate and know whether or not the next job offer you receive is really an aligned opportunity you should say “yes” to.

I’m sure you’ve experienced the anticipation and excitement of being the final candidate and waiting for the job offer to land in your inbox.  I’m sure you’ve also spent hours stressing about what the offer might be, what will happen if it’s lower than what you want, and what they’ll think of you if you ask for more.

If you’re running from a bad boss or terrible work culture and don’t take the time to really get clear on what you need to be happy at work, you risk saying yes to the first job offer that comes your way and may avoid the negotiation process out of desperation.   The pressure you may feel (self-inflicted or imposed by an organization) to respond to a new job offer quickly can prevent you from creating a game plan, asking more questions, and negotiating for a better total compensation package.

Imagine you’ve defined your ideal salary range of $100,000-$115,000 and you’re committed to that number.  Imagine being asked by a recruiter on the first phone interview: “Can you share your salary expectations with us?” and you confidently respond with, “Yes, based on my experience and market research, I’m looking for a salary between $100,000-$115,000, is that within your budget?”

How would it feel to start your new job search ready and willing to have those (typically) dreaded conversations about money?

I know you’d feel empowered, excited, and motivated to give yourself permission to find a new role that better aligns with your dream career.  I know you’re capable of preparing to negotiate to land your dream salary too.

Here are 3 steps you can use right now to prepare to negotiate before you get your next job offer:

  1. What are your non-negotiables, or must-haves in your next role? 
    Identify what you need in a boss, culture, role and paycheck moving forward. Define your ideal salary range and commit to it.
  2. Take the glass ceiling test – are you ready to state your ideal salary range of $100,000-$115,000 out loud, during the interview process?
    Clients have great success in negotiation when they are up front and clear with their employer about what amount of money it will take for them to say “yes”.  If you’re not upfront with your employer, they don’t know what it is you need and they may lowball your initial offer.  Be clear about what you want in a title, salary range, and benefits package to avoid taking a low salary offer personally and struggling to land on a yes you’re excited about.   Be brave, state your ideal salary number, and know that you can still negotiate at the final job offer stage no matter what the company proposes in the end.
  3. Revisit the 3 win-win negotiation skills you’ll need to leverage during the process and give yourself permission to be compassionate with yourself no matter what happens.

It takes preparation, gaining clarity, and self-reflection before you will feel comfortable sitting down at the negotiation table – but you’re worth it.