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I am almost certain that I would receive a verbal offer soon.

In the past, I was laid off and had to find a new job soon and hence, just accepted the very first offer and did not negotiate.

This is the first time when I am in a situation wherein I not in a rush to get the next job. However, it is a good opportunity and I do not want it to pass.

So, I was curious what to say if the internal recruiter / hiring manager from the company calls and offers a verbal offer? How do you start the negotiation process?

They know how much I make now. So, I have a ball park idea of their offer and I would like to push it to around 7-10% above that number.

Any advice on possible approaches?

  • A verbal offer is usually a tentative offer. I would expect a written offer. Nothing says you have to counter offer and you can simply accept what they give if you like it enough. – Dan Apr 27 '16 at 14:29
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How hard you negotiate depends on your objective.

  • If you just want lots more money, then just ask for it (and who cares if they say "no").

  • If this new job has some appealing intangibles (better work environment, closer to home, interesting work, etc), and you really want the job regardless of pay increase, then back off a little and ask for something that you'll both be comfortable with.

  • If new job offers valuable learning experiences (gain new skills, etc), then consider that part of the compensation, and don't ask for more than you're worth (since you don't have those new skills (yet)). Rather, anticipate raises as you become more proficient.

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If they know what you make now, that puts you in a tough negotiating position. Ideally you should not disclose your current salary, to make sure that you have the upper hand (you know what you make but they do not).

Your best leverage now is your ability to walk away from the job.

You have to determine the minimum compensation required for you to accept the job. Could be your minimum is your current salary. For the sake of example, let's say your minimum number is 10% above your current salary. When they make an offer (or ask you what number you're looking for), you can offer/counter with 20% above. If they say yes, great.

Likely however they will attempt to negotiate down to a lower number. If they offer less than your minimum, you have to say no. You have to be able to walk away in order to get what you want.

It's important to know and believe your minimum salary number -- much better to walk away then accept a number you know won't support you or your future career salary expectations.

It's entirely possible they may call you back if they don't find anyone else who is a better fit than you for the position.

  • Thank you all for your advice. However, I need advice as to what you would have said if a recruiter calls you and offers you a job that you do not want to pass and you know there is a room to go higher if you push. What would you say to the person giving you an offer without offending him / her? – Craig Bing Apr 26 '16 at 19:06
  • If a recruiter called with a job I wanted, I would talk as much about the job and my qualifications as possible before getting to salary. I would not disclose my current salary, and instead tell them the salary I'm looking for. It's more about starting from a high position and negotiating lower, rather than starting from a low position and pushing higher -- that's very hard to do. Ultimately you have to decide which is more important, the salary or the job. Because sometimes to get the salary you want, you have to be willing to walk away. – mcknz Apr 26 '16 at 20:01
  • see also kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation – mcknz Apr 26 '16 at 20:05

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