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Donna Schilder

Professional Certified Coach

Leadership, Career, & Business Coach

(562) 434-7822 -

Donna Schilder

Job Offer Negotiation Process

Everything is Negotiable

You may not know this, but everything in a Job Offer is negotiable: job duties, base salary, bonuses, signing bonus, benefits, stock options, and perks.

During the Job Offer negotiation process, you are able to shape the job and start to create the relationship with your employer, Human Resources, and the Hiring Manager.

STEP 1:  Research Salary & Bonuses

Research the Salary and bonus(es) (if applicable) for this job in the industry and geographical location (at least state and if possible city).

And, look at or use your network (or LinkedIn network) to research what the specific company pays and what bonuses it gives or look for people in your network that work there or know someone who works there.


STEP 2:  Determine Your Worth in the Job

  • What differentiates you from other candidates: strengths, resources, contacts, special knowledge, skills, credentials (here’s an example of some Differentiators for a Marketing Job Candidate)
    • What special value do you bring to the position and to the company
    • How you can you impact the bottom line
    • What can you do in the job that others in the position haven’t


STEP 3:  Know the Power Factors that Impact the Negotiation

Power Factors are outside forces and situations that may impact the power either party in a negotiation may have.  It is smart to evaluate the power factors impacting your Job Offer negotiation so that you can leverage them and so that you can know how hard to push to get what you want.  We have provided a Power Factors Evaluation Table for your use in evaluating the Power Factors involved.


Factor Your Favor Their Favor
Business Climate Factors
Overall state of the economy
State of the industry
Employment level
Industry demand
Profession demand
Company Factors
Business Cycle (startup, growing, stable, turnaround)
Hiring Manager Factors
Urgency to fill the position
Decision-Making authority
Staffing Budget
Applicant Factors
Other offers
Technical expertise, unique knowledge
Resources (finances, professional network)
Competition from other candidates

Downloadable Table

STEP 4: Determine What You Want to Ask For

Next, you will need to determine what you want in terms of salary, benefits, and perks, based on your research of what salary averages are for your area, job title, and industry and based on your research into what the specific company pays.  Use the List of Possible Job Offers Salary, Benefits, Compensation & Perks to ensure you do not forget about something that you would find beneficial in the offer.  There are 54 different possible types of compensation, benefits, and perks on this list.


STEP 5: Communicate

Communicate your counter offer either verbally or in writing and give your rationale for why you are worth what you are asking for.  We have an example of a Counter Offer Letter, with a format we think is effective:  express your interest in working for the company and doing the job, outline your differentiators and value and any other rationale for your Counter Offer, and list what you want.  If you are making your counter offer verbally, we believe a similar format would be effective.


STEP 5: Consider the alternatives

Counter offers are a common part of many negotiations, so remain flexible. Also know that every company is different in a negotiation, and some may have no leeway to change the offer, where others are very flexible and creative in meeting their candidates wants and needs.

Smaller companies may be more flexible and large companies may be bureaucratic, and therefore inflexible. Unionized companies usually have very little room for individual negotiations.

Also, know that many companies expect you to negotiation, and if you don’t, they may lose some respect for you.  Especially, for positions in sales and management.

Also, very infrequently, but it has happened, that a company will withdraw an offer if you offer a Counter Offer.  We think that this is a red flag for working at that company, but you have to decide if it is worth the risk based on your situation.


STEP 6: Negotiate for a win-win

Do not use strong-arm tactics or seek a win/lose. This is a business transaction and the best and longest sustained business agreements are win/wins.

In a negotiation, you and the company are designing the terms of the business transaction and you are both seeking maximum benefit from the final agreement.

Be creative.  Remember, all these different components of your offer come from different budgets.  It may be easier for them to access funds from one budget than another.  Also, some elements of your offer cost the company more or less.  For example, giving you company product or services or stock options may be less expensive, dollar for dollar, for the company than other elements or be under different rules.


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