Tips for Successfully Negotiating a Job Offer

As the labor market continues to cool, job candidates will have fewer options and less leverage as employers are better positioned to dictate job offer conditions. Additionally, those who are either not content with their job or uncertain about their continued employment have been left with even less bargaining power.

Don’t let this discourage you if you are stuck trying to find your next dream job, however. The job market is endlessly complex, which allows those with a mind for negotiation to try and shift the conditions of employment in their favor. Along with the struggle to maintain quality workers, many companies will be willing to compromise if you show potential and interview well.

That being said, not everyone might be as shrewd as an elite contract lawyer or comfortable in those confrontational interview settings, so we have pulled together a list of some tips to help you negotiate your job offer and be comfortable starting your new career.

Identify Your Priorities

When it comes to any negotiation, both sides will have priorities, and knowing what you need, what you want, and what you could realistically budge on is the first thing you should take stock of. Additionally, it may be wise to identify some other areas of compensation that are important to you, such as hour flexibilities, work-life balance, growth opportunities, retirement, stock options, or profit sharing, to name a few. While salary remains the bottom line for many negotiations, if conversation begins to stall, it may be wise to see what the company offers apart from monetary compensation and whether or not that could help you meet somewhere in the middle with them.

Especially post-COVID, many companies and firms are continuing to offer telework and hybrid working agreements to new employees, helping to reduce commuting costs, save vehicle wear and tear, and promote a healthier work-life balance. This has been a popular ask for many job hopefuls. If it is something that is important to you, make sure you establish that early on so as to not waste your time or get your hopes up for something that may never come.

All this being said, at the end of the day, you should be aware of what you are worth. Understanding typical salary ranges and market value for your position is important, but also keep in mind your personal values, experiences, and desires. Similar to the interviews themselves, negotiations are very complex and sometimes stressful. By having a short list (mental or physical) of priorities, wants, needs, etc., you can keep yourself grounded and not caught up in any of the emotion that comes with negotiating a contract.

Do Your Research

Piggybacking off our last tip, it is of vital importance to not only know your worth personally but also what the job market values you for. While a good first step is to browse online and get a grasp of what industry standards are, do keep in mind that things like geographic location, firm size, and expertise level might have an impact on what you are offered.

If you have friends or acquaintances in the industry you are trying to get into, it may not be a bad idea to discuss with them what they are being compensated or if they are not comfortable disclosing that information, they may know a rough salary range of the position you are applying for.

Be aware that when bringing up this information in a job offer negotiation, you might meet some pushback from the company you are negotiating with. Preparing to counter their points with supporting figures may not only catch them off guard but also get them to change their way of thinking.

Be Ready to Compromise

While it’s relatively easy to know your worth and research industry standards, compromise seems to be an increasingly foreign concept when it comes to job offer negotiations on both sides of recruitment in the modern professional era. As such, knowing how to negotiate and take initiative when it comes to striking a balance between your personal needs and what the employer can reasonably offer will help you lead the conversation and craft a unique benefit plan.

Good communication is paramount during a negotiation. Try and understand the business’s needs and limitations throughout the negotiation, as understanding what they may or may not budge on can help you propose some mutually beneficial compromises. By finding these points of agreement and building from this common ground, coming to terms on the dicier areas of contract negotiations will be all the easier.

Try to avoid giving ultimatums, and if terms are not going your way, remain calm and avoid aggression. On top of how stressful a job search can be, it can be extraordinarily frustrating when you are so close to landing your dream job but come up just short in negotiations. Remember that impressions made during your negotiation and interview process will remain well after the fact. If you maintain an air of likability, regardless of whether you accept the job or not, it will pay dividends in the future.

Most Common Areas of Negotiation


To no one’s surprise, salary is often the battleground for many job offer negotiations, as it is the most direct form of compensation you will receive.

When it comes to legal recruiting, many firms choose to structure their salary negotiations by offering a baseline salary with a bonus structure carved out that can be built upon in the future. As such, understanding the firm’s budget becomes crucial when explaining your salary expectations.

While trite, one of the best tips for negotiating your salary is to highlight the skills and assets you possess that justify your salary requirements. However, be prepared to negotiate other aspects of the job offer if the employer doesn’t have much flexibility with salary.

Vacation Time

This can be a great stepping stone from salary negotiations, especially if the firm cannot meet your asking price. You may be able to ask for a few extra days off instead of a boost in salary.

A great negotiating tactic is to ask for more in the hopes that the other party will meet you halfway, so requesting an additional 5-6 days might end with you getting 3 additional vacation days.

Work Location/Flexibility

Many firms and businesses already have policies in place for remote work flexibilities, but if working remotely a few days a week/full-time is something that interests you, state your intent early on to see if it is a negotiable term.

Additionally, there is a lot of room for compromise here, such as starting full-time in the office while you train and transitioning to a hybrid/remote schedule after a few months. Additionally, if you have experience with telework in a successful way, consider using that experience to support your arguments.

Start Date

This is an uncommon area to negotiate, but still important. Depending on whether you are relocating, finishing up a few projects at your prior employer, or simply need a little more time to navigate the transition, negotiating your start date could be beneficial.

If you have a prior commitment, it is generally better to be up front about it at the beginning of the interview process, but if something comes up later on, be sure to communicate your needs clearly and honestly. That being said, some employers might have an urgent need to fill positions, so depending on how much time you need, this might not be a valid avenue for negotiation.

You Are Your Strongest Advocate

While your individual needs may be different, by following and taking into account these tips, you can best set yourself up for a successful contract negotiation and feel comfortable taking this next step in your career.

Even though it may seem hard or intimidating to always be asking for more, remember these two things. First, an employer will rarely (if ever) seek to negotiate on your behalf, so you must be your own advocate. Second, negotiations are a natural part of the job interview process. Employers expect qualified candidates to ask for these things and, in most cases, are willing to work with them so that they can secure top talent. If anything, it might be more of a red flag if an employee does not try to negotiate on their behalf.

Even if negotiations fall through and you don’t end up taking the position, it will serve as valuable experience for next time, so don’t let that stop you from continuing your job search.


Get started with your search today.