Is a Job Offer Set in Stone? That's Up for Negotiation

Apr 4, 2022

In years past, it was considered rare to negotiate a job offer- it was a privilege reserved for executive-level leaders who were fielding multiple opportunities and seeking the best possible fit. But in today’s market, candidates at every level are in high demand and they know how much value they can bring to prospective employers. As a result, it’s no longer rare for job-seekers with only a few years of professional experience to engage in negotiations when they receive a job offer.

So what does this mean for the hiring process, and how can both candidates and hiring managers ensure a successful outcome? Here are three tips for navigating job offer negotiations.

Embrace the Change

The truth is, change can be difficult- especially when things have been done the same way for decades. Many hiring managers have struggled to accept the rise in negotiations, but others have accepted that in a candidate-driven market, there must be an element of flexibility in order to secure great hires. Some examples of boosted job offers include signing bonuses, hybrid schedules, and the willingness to be flexible to meet an individual candidate’s needs.

For candidates, it can be challenging to find the confidence to ask for what they want. But more than ever, job-seekers know their worth in this market and they are willing to communicate their needs to potential employers.

Be Prepared

Preparation is key when it comes to job offer negotiations. Hiring managers and candidates should both be familiar with local market rates for specific positions and what employers are including in benefits packages. Hiring managers can start on the right foot by putting forward a great offer, at or above market value, and avoiding low-ball offers that have the potential to offend candidates.

Meanwhile, candidates can use market data to put together their ideal job offer and be ready to back up any requests they have. Are there cost-of-living considerations, long commutes, or other factors that necessitate a bump in pay or a hybrid work setup? Consider all the reasons that a negotiation is reasonable in this case.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Clear, open, and respectful communication is the most important part of any negotiation. Both parties should come to the negotiation with the expectation that there will be some give and take, and that all negotiations require some compromise. Finding the best fit possible for candidates and employers alike is the best way to ensure a successful long-term hire.

In addition, time is always of the essence and an efficient hiring process is in the best interest of everyone involved. If candidates have other job offers on the table, they should communicate that up front. Hiring managers should do their best to update their offer quickly to keep momentum in place, or provide a prompt update if they are not able to move forward in negotiations.

A job offer is no longer the end of the hiring process- instead, it can be just the start of a negotiating phase. To help ensure a job offer negotiation that satisfies both the hiring manager and the candidate, both parties should come to the table prepared, communicate openly, and embrace this “new normal” part of the hiring process.

About the Author

Jay Dubac

Jay joined Kimmel & Associates in 2017 in the Logistics & Supply Chain Division. In 2019, he transitioned to the Midwest general construction market.

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