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How to negotiate a pandemic job offer you’ll be excited about months from now

Be prepared to negotiate and think critically about your future before signing that dotted line.

How to negotiate a pandemic job offer you’ll be excited about months from now
[Source photo: Agustin Vai/iStock]
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One of the most overlooked challenges of the job hunt is making sure that you get the best possible job offer before accepting any position. In order to do this, job seekers need to carefully assess the current job market and what options are available to them. You must also be prepared to negotiate with potential employers before signing on the dotted line.

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But when faced with the “nice to have problem” of an employee’s job market, how do you go about finding and securing the right job offer, while being careful not to accept less than your worth.

Take your time

One of the most important ways to ensure that you get the job offer you want is to take your time and avoid rushing through your résumé preparation and overall job search. This means carrying out thorough research into who is hiring, what roles are available, the top salaries, and any other workplace perks or benefits you value. It means not accepting “competitive” as an acceptable salary description.

It’s also important that you don’t let desperate recruiters try to push you into making a decision or applying for a job that doesn’t meet your criteria just because they’re hungry to hit target numbers and may be struggling to find appropriate talent in the current climate.

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To underscore an obvious point: The more research you do and the more knowledge you have about the current state of your chosen industry, the better equipped you’ll be to secure the right job offer.

Set your minimum acceptance levels

Another important step during your job search is to set out what you want and expect from a new job and employer. For example, you need to decide on your minimum requirements for aspects, such as salaries, perks, career progression, and flexibility. You should have a good idea from your research what is standard for your desired role and at your career level. Only when you’re armed with specific knowledge like this can you be ambitious but realistic in your requirements.

Further, if you’re already in a solid job, you need to be prepared to walk away from any offer that doesn’t meet your needs. Although it might seem tough, you will eventually find the right job and offer for you, so don’t settle.

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Know your vital stats

If you want a good compensation package, you have got to show employers that you can provide them with a sound return on their investment in you. It is likely that you’ll be grilled in the application and interview process as employers try to find out exactly what you can bring to the table.

The best way to demonstrate that you’re up to the offer is to prepare some quantifiable examples of past achievements that prove you are worth your salt. Some good examples could be sales or revenue you’ve generated, money you’ve saved past employers, projects delivered, or size of teams managed.

By keeping these statistics at the front of your mind, you more easily will show why you would be a valuable asset to your potential team and increase the likelihood that you will secure an offer.

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Line up multiple interviews

If you truly want the best offer, don’t just settle for the first company that invites you in for an interview. Instead, work hard to set up several interviews with different companies.

This will not be easy, but it will give you options when it comes to roles and offers, and can also be used as a good negotiating tool if you’ve got multiple job offers on the table. Not only this, but it gives you some backup options if one of the offers doesn’t work out.

All said, you shouldn’t just set up an interview for the sake of it. Be sure each interview you’re considering is for a role you are genuinely interested in.

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Don’t be afraid to push back

When the job market is thriving, companies are desperate to get their hands on talented employees, and this often means their hiring budgets are increased. Because of this, you shouldn’t be afraid to push back on low offers, and you shouldn’t be afraid to turn down an offer if you’re not happy with it. It’s also worth remembering that there will not be as many (if any) other candidates interviewing for the role in an employee’s market, so it’s unlikely you’ll be undercut by somebody with a matching skill set.

Negotiating can be nerve-wracking, but if you are already in a comfortable position, then there’s no harm in asking for what you believe you’re worth. However, you do need to make sure your requests are based on your own solid research and realistic expectations, and you should always remain professional and approachable while negotiating.

You deserve to get the most from your career and be paid adequately for your time, so when it’s an employee’s market, don’t hesitate to take advantage of it. By carrying out extensive research into your sector, knowing your key selling points, and setting high standards for yourself, you’ll be negotiating from a strong position in order to ask more from employers.