4 Negotiation Tactics for Your Job Offer Negotiations

Negotiation tactics are a form of bargaining, but more advanced and much more diplomatic. Negotiation is based on logic, with the acceptability of offers and counter offers as the basic working machinery for ongoing negotiation.

In job offer negotiations, employers make an offer which often has several positives for themselves. The fact that the employer is negotiating means that there's some room for maneuver and improvement of the offer.

There are defensive and offensive tactics for negotiation:

Defensive Tactic 1: Analyzing an Employer's Position

If you accept the employer's offer, the contract is binding. In self defense, you must check out the whole offer in detail. You can't even begin to negotiate effectively until you've analyzed the gap between the employer's offer and your own bottom line. 

A major issue, usually overlooked, is what's not contained in an offer. The employer may have included a lot of paper value, but left out valuable things. If you'd signed the contract without these things, you'd have no entitlement to them.

Check the entire offer in detail, point by point, before any negotiation.

Defensive Tactic 2: Valuing the Employer's Offer

The actual value of the offer has to be defined so you can negotiate effectively. These are the issues:

  • What's the whole package worth? This is a guide to what the employer considers a good value deal for themselves.
  • What are the benefits worth? Some packages are loaded with benefits you don't need. They're paper offers, not useful value.
  • What's the cost to the employer? Many package elements look good, but cost the employer considerably less than they would if you paid for them yourself. These items are very negotiable, and need to be identified before starting negotiations. 

Offensive Tactic 1: Creating the basis of your own counter offer 

Use a total dollar value for your own offer. You can use this as an estimate in negotiation, saying that you think there are legitimate cost benefits to both parties. You can credibly base your salary and benefits on industry standards, qualifications, and years of experience.

Offensive Tactic 2: Making a credible counter offer

To negotiate effectively, your offer must be clearly within the employer's financial bandwidth for negotiation.

Example: 

Your salary requirement is $20,000 higher than the offer. To make this credible, you use mathematics: 

You've been offered day care, valued at about $4000 to the employer. You don't need it, so you can find $4000 for your salary requirements, stating that you've removed the day care from the equation.

You can legitimately value your counter offer using this form of trade-off. Removing the value of day care, you're now asking for $16,000 more in terms of the employer's actual costs compared to the original offer.

You also need parking, not offered in the package. Parking would cost you about $8000 a year, and the employer practically nothing. 

You ask for parking, too. If you get it, you're $8000 ahead. The employer probably won't object to this request, because it's a comparatively minor cost to them. 

You've now got $12,000 of the $20,000 in real terms. If the employer also accepts the remaining $16,000 salary request, you've actually negotiated an extra $28,000 worth of package value for yourself.