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So I just graduated from college this fall and have been offered a job at one of the top health companies to work as an data analyst. After the interviews, I was chosen and was in the "offering process". I was called the other day and was given a verbal offer of a nice base salary. When she asked how does that sound - I responded that sounds great but I would love to have it in writing(ie pushing for a contract to be sent). After talking with some others, apparently I should negotiate before she sends the contract - which is to negotiate the verbal offer? Or am I suppose to negotiate after she sends something in writing?

Secondly, I want to know is there anything called too much negotiation? Now, being right out of college and moving to a new area - I was going to ask for relocation assistance. If I do this - should I not negotiate salary? The average salary for my position in the area I'm living in is around 3K higher than what I was offered(however, I come in with a background of only an internship - but by far excellent academic coursework and background). Now, the thing is, I know that the company does want me - ie my coursework and practical work is up on the web which through I have demonstrated my value to them. However, I'm scared that I might negotiate too much if I ask for relocation assistance and a salary boost. Is it worth a shot? (I dont want them to get a sour taste in their mouth and wonder off to say 'who the hell does this kid think he is?'). And do I try my negotiation skills after or before the contract is sent?

Edit: I've also emailed the recruiter asking about their relocation packages and that I would like to talk to her about it soon. I did not mention anything about the verbal offer - which again puts me on the dilemma whether I should bring it up during this conversation or not.

  • Never immediately accept the first offer. Preferably always phrase answers about pay to allow you to consider the offer alone, eg replying that you appreciate the offer and will get back to them within a week. Have to sit behind a PC to answer your question :+) – Luceos Jan 2 '17 at 19:20
  • Haha, yes! I am eagerly waiting and looking forward to your response - so when you get on that PC, be sure to reply! – Dangerous Game Jan 2 '17 at 19:24
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Once you got the verbal offer, that's when negotiation begins.

Your reply of "that's sounds great" basically told them that you thought the terms were fine. That was sort of a mistake.

It's not too later. When you get the written offer, if you don't agree with the terms, tell them you thought it over and you think you deserve $X, and include any additional benefits you want to shoot for.

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  1. It's almost always better to negotiate BEFORE a full written offer has been extended. Ideally you talk through all issues (base salary, bonus, work hours, benefits, relocation assistance, time off, stock & equity,etc) up front and only write the contract when all parties seem happy. The reason for that is simple enough: a written offer can be a fair amount of work and often has to go up and down the food chain for approval and sign offs. If you negotiate after the offer's been extended, you have to do it all over again. It's okay to ask for a informal written (non-binding) summary up front, just to make sure there is no miscommunication or misunderstanding
  2. Of course you can negotiate but there is always the risk that the employer will say "thanks but no thanks". It's best to negotiate with a specific goal and target in mind. Ideally you back up your ask with objective data or a convincing story. "I like a more money" isn't great. You need to explain why you are worth this and/or what the specific need for your ask is. Keep in mind that many companies have pretty "standard" starting salaries for college grads since they don't have any job experience yet, that could help to differentiate between candidates.
  3. Contrary to what most other people will say, I found it's also perfectly okay to accept the first offer. A good hiring manager will not try to low ball you. Hiring is hard work and having someone leave early just because they are underpaid makes all this work go out the window. Often hiring manager are mainly concerned with compensation fairness across the team, and there isn't a lot of wiggle room.
  4. The starting salary is only one part of the puzzle. Your performance & achievements during the first year or two are likely to have significantly more impact on your long term financials.
  • Hey thank you for replying! That was a very helpful response, however, I do want to ask you, do you think it's worth a shot? Also what's your thoughts on relocation help? – Dangerous Game Jan 2 '17 at 20:56
  • @DangerousGame I can't really recommend a specific strategy without knowing a lot more details. There is a risk that you'll come across as someone who doesn't think through all the detail before making a call or as someone who easily goes back on his/her commitments. In most cases it will be fine to ask about relo if you do it quickly and nicely. Something like "I'm really excited about this new position. I've been thinking about the details making this all work and I was wondering if you could help with some relocation assistance." Ideally you have a number ready that's supported by data. – Hilmar Jan 3 '17 at 3:02

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