Recently a very good friend of mine interviewed for an internal position with his company. He called me shortly after the interview and said he was verbally all but offered the job. He was excited about the promotion but when the Director mentioned the change in salary, my friend was disappointed as he was looking for a higher rate of increase. When we discussed the salary range offered, the salary being mentioned was on the bottom of the range and he felt he was being undervalued.
He had decided he was going to negotiate but wait until after the offer was made. I quickly advised him to negotiate before any offer was extended.
Ideally when an offer is made you should already know at what rate the offer is going to made or at least fairly close. You will want to have a firm understand of their ability/range to make an offer and they want to know your salary expectations. That will insure a high rate of success for the offer to be received favorably and then accepted. Knowing the salary facts applies to both candidates and hiring people. I never like to guess. Before the formal offer is extended you can have a conversation and talk about your recent salary history and expectations without you sounding like a money grubber. After the offer is presented and negotiations have begun there are battle lines being drown as the tone tends to get more serious.
As an Account Executive at Matrix I like to have conversations with my clients all the way up to the offer. I have found people are more receptive to listen and talk with an open mind before everything is set in stone. I like to get the candidates to agree in principle to a salary and the hiring manager’s to agree hopefully to the same number.
Let me list why negotiations after the offer has been presented is less likely to be changed.
1. Affectively when you look to negotiate after an offer is made you are effectively turning down one offer in the hope for another offer. Once you get into this area the client can do three things.
A. Pull the offer – I have seen it happen
B. Decline negotiations – The offer is what it is
C. Negotiate – but at what costs
2. I see some clients that feel some rejection upon a start for negotiations after they have worked hard for an offer. Hiring Managers are emotional involved in the process. You never want to start a position off on the wrong foot.
3. Many people have touched the offer to get it to you. The Manager tells the Director she has found the right candidate, you. The Director talks to the VP and gets the okay. The Director tells the Manager to get with HR and get an offer together. The Manager and the HR rep get together to discuss the offer then the HR rep sends it to the VP to get it signed off on. Finally the HR Rep sends it to the Manager so she can get it to you. The Manager has to go through the entire process again if there are negotiations after the offer.
I am a big fan that if you like the position and opportunity then you can have a discussion before the offer is made. At all times remember to focus on the job not the salary.
I like to say something like this. ” I want you to know that I am very interested in the position. I can see my self working at (company name) with you and your team. I am interested in moving forward in the process. What is the next step?”
Hiring Manager “We need to get together with my Director and HR and put together an offer.”
Me ” That is great news. I am really excited about the possibility of working with you. Should I expect a call from HR to discuss the benefits, salary? Or is it fine to discuss it with you?”
I opened the door very casually about the salary and benefits.
Your discussion may not change the offer but it can’t hurt to have a discussion before the actual offer is made so the respective parties can be on the same page. Always focus on the career and opportunity and you will be able to have a chance to communicate your thoughts effectively and openly.