What to Say When an Offer Is Made

Serious negotiation often begins only after you've been invited to several interviews. When some employers are ready to make an offer, they come right out and say, "We'd like to offer you the position provided we can come to a salary agreement." Again, let the employer open up the bidding. The employer is likely to make a very low offer or a reasonable one. The following sections explain what you should say in each situation.

The Offer Is Not What You Want

Remember my salary negotiating rule #4? It was "Never say no to a job offer either before it is made or within 24 hours afterward." At the point in time when the employer is offering you the job, you need to keep this rule in mind. Never, never turn down a job offer in an interview!

Let's say that you get a job offer at half the salary you expected. Avoid the temptation to turn it down there and then. Instead, say:

"Thank you for your offer. I am flattered that you think I can do the job. Because this decision is so important to me, I would like to consider your offer and get back with you within two days."

Leave and see if you change your mind. If not, call back and say, in effect:

"I've given your offer considerable thought and feel that I just can't take it at the salary you've offered. Is there any way that I could be paid more, in the range of_?"

Even as you say no, leave the door open to keep negotiating. If the employer wants you, he or she may be willing to meet your terms. It happens more than you might imagine. If the employer cannot meet your

salary needs, say thank you again, and let him or her know you are interested in future openings within your salary range. Then stay in touch. You never know.

The Offer Is Reasonable

Tip: Do not reject a job offer to try to get a higher wage. Understand that once you reject an offer, the deal is off. You must be willing to lose that job forever.

Just as you shouldn't reject an offer too quickly, take time to think about accepting a job, too. Accepting a reasonable offer right away can be a mistake. Germann and Arnold list the following considerations that many people ignore in the rush to accept or reject a job offer:

Is the job description (duties, responsibilities, and authority) clear?

What is the employer's attitude toward advancement?

Who will you be working with?

If you don't have a straight answer yet for these questions, don't make a move you could regret. Instead, keep plugging away until the picture comes into clear focus.

Also, discussing the offer with others before saying yes is often wise. Here is one way to delay until you can give the offer some thought:

"Thank you for the offer. The position is very much what I wanted in many ways, and I am delighted at your interest. This decision is an important one for me, and I would like some time to consider your offer."

Ask for 24 hours to consider your decision and, when calling back, consider negotiating for something reasonable. A bit more money, every other Tuesday afternoon off, or some other benefit would be nice if you can get it easily. However, if you want the job, do not jeopardize obtaining it with unreasonable demands. If your request causes a problem, make it very clear that you want the job anyway.

They Offer, You Want ItNow It's Time to Negotiate!

The employer you've spent the past two weeks wooing has opened the bidding with a lukewarm figureone that would certainly pay your bills and yet is somewhat below what you feel you are worth. But exactly how

should you ask for more? You aren't a professional athlete with a savvy manager to wheel and deal the details, and isn't the time limit on this opportunity short?

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