The Art of Negotiating During a Job Offer

By Dave Lorenzo

When someone offers you a job you need to stop telling him or her why you deserve it and start thinking about how to make the situation work to your advantage. When an offer is presented, now, for the first time in the interview process, the candidate has the power. Here is an effective protocol for receiving a job offer:

Thank the person for the offer. This is the time to appear humble. You've spent a significant amount of time telling your interviewer how great you are and now they believe you. Let them know that you are honoured and flattered that they value you.

Ask for time to think about it. Even if they offer you the most money you ever thought you'd get try to let some time pass. If nothing else, it shows your future employer that you are a rational decision maker. If you join them, they will be investing in you. An impulsive person is seldom given big responsibilities. Even if it is just an hour, take some time before responding.


Ask them if it's the best they can do. It takes courage and tact but it works. After you have taken the time you need to think things over, simply ask your counterpart if that is the best offer they can make. On some occasions (and this has happened to me and a few people I know) they will make a counter-offer right away. The key to doing this is to appear non-judgmental and unemotional. Say something like: "Once again, I want to express how flattered I'm am with your consideration. Before I make my final decision I'd like to know if that is your best possible offer."

Once you say that shut up. Watch the reaction (if you are in person) or listen to their reaction (if on the phone) carefully. If there is silence, DO NOT SPEAK. Let the other party break the silence. If they ask why you are asking this question, simply say something like: "This is a major decision and I want to be certain I have all the information. Is this your best possible offer?"

If they ask you what you are looking for and you feel compelled to answer directly give them something that is a stretch but not impossible. Ask for more than you expect to get but not so much that you look like a pig. If you want more money, say you want (insert salary here plus 10% more).

Now comes the gut-wrenching part. Ask for more time again after they answer, even if they have counter-offered. When you call back the next time you need to have made a decision.

Accept or reject the offer with grace. This is the time for flattery. Complement the company. Complement the offer presenter. If you reject the offer, give them a reason. If you accept, make sure you get the information in writing before you quit your present job.

Every situation is different so you must use your best judgment when you receive a job offer. Keep in mind that few companies, if any, offer the maximum amount of pay and benefits right off the bat. You can almost always get more (either in an additional benefit or more pay) if you ask.

David Lorenzo has more than 20 years of business experience as a successful corporate executive, entrepreneur, strategist, author, and speaker. He has worked with and mentored some of the world's most successful businesspeople while helping lead many large organisations to unprecedented success. His latest book is titled: Career Intensity: Business Strategy for Workplace Warriors and Entrepreneurs.

David Lorenzo's experience in starting new business enterprises and repositioning under-performing business units, along with his ability to implement innovative performance improvement solutions, makes him one of today's most sought-after trusted advisors.

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