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Ask The HR Capitalist: How Do I Get the Money I Want During the Offer Process?

A question older than time.  Cavemen once wondered how to get more food and fire for themselves and the mob they called a family back at the home cave.   The tradition continues:


I just completed the interview process and am eagerly awaiting a a job offer. I have a question regarding how this process works from the HR perspective. At my current position my salary has been stagnant over the last three years due to economy, not performance. How can I approach this offer, so I can negotiate the highest salary possible, while not coming off as a money hungry ingrate."
I will folllow up with you next week to discuss my progress.
Thank you again,

Hi Ricky - 

A lot of what you can expect at this point in the offer process depends on what's happened before you got to the offer.  Did the recruiter/manager/HR pro do any of the following things?
-Ask you in detail your current salary?
-Ask you what it would take from that point for you to make a move?
-Give you a number range in which a prospective offer would likely come in at, and ask you to commit to whether you would accept an offer in that range?

If they did all of that, you don't have a lot of wiggle room.  You've been closed by an effective negotiator before you started negotiating.   However, if none of this happened, you've got wiggle room galore.  If none of the above happened, you can take the offer and counter offer by saying, "I really want to work for you and your company.  In order to feel great about the move I'm making, I need $xx,xxx.  Can you help me get there or close to that?".  

Important ending to that - ask for help.  Don't be a ##$ or be stiff as a board.

Only you know the vibe from the company who you're talking to, so proceed, but know this - no one gets more who doesn't ask for more.  It's rare that a company will pull an offer for you countering, but also know this - if you ask for more and say you need it, you're going to look weak by simply accepting if they hold steady at what they originally offered.  But you can always do that.

Get a talking track that sounds like you similar to what I've outlined if the recruiter/manager hasn't pre-qualified you via the bullets I laid out above.  Be natural and ask for something, knowing that you'll accept the mid-point between the offer and your counter.

Good luck Ricky-Bobby.  Remember, if you ain't first, you're last.



Get info on the cost of benefits there, and compare apples to apples on the different plans. Sometimes a low deductible or a low cost premium plan are good trades for added salary. Maybe you'll get a more generous vacation plan. Maybe they put in money for your retirement/401k plan, or they offer more life insurance. Always ask about the benefits and what they cost, and factor those into your negotiations.

I once took a lateral position for a tiny increase, but I moved to a state with no income tax and much cheaper apartment rent. Crappy job, but boom, my first check looked huge, and I wasn't spending as much of it every month.

Good luck!

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