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Career Advice Corner: Job Negotiation 101, Tips on Weighing Job Offers

So you have been on several job interviews and finally receive an offer–but you have heard nothing from the job that you really want. What can you do? Can you keep the door open, but give yourself time to get an answer on another opportunity? Jackie Savoy and Gary Lachow, career advisor and job development specialist at JEVS Career Strategies, have some careful planning tips to help you navigate tricky job offers!

Number One: Think Gratitude!

First rule: Express your thankfulness for the opportunity. After all, the hiring manager and the team considered several dozen (or several hundred, or even thousand!) other candidates, and they chose you! Congratulations.

“You don’t have to accept that very moment,” notes Savoy. “You may be happy to hear that they would like to hire you, and feel pressured to give a quick ’Yes’, but you want to carefully consider what this means in the context of your other offers or pending offers.”

Evaluate Your Negotiating Position

Your mission, the career advisors agree, is to evaluate the offer—you want to provide an answer as quickly as possible, but also be polite and upfront.

“I’ve had clients say to prospective employers, ‘I am really excited about working here and what I can contribute to the organization? I have another offer pending and although this company is my preferred choice, I want to make an educated decision because whatever offer I accept it is my nature to be committed to that company. Would it be possible to respond to you in a few days or a week?’ (Tip: Set a specific date.) Or it may be you want to discuss it with your significant others. The key thing is not to make anyone feel as though they are your second choice,” said Savoy.

“The most important thing in determining how much time to ask for is to give them an answer considering the employer’s and your situations,” she said. “How long has the job been open, or how desperate is your need for immediate income?”

Most importantly, they note, is to never leave a job offer hanging.

“Recruiters dislike uncertainty,” they note. “If you commit to an answer within five days, then you need to stay on that time frame.”

Make an Educated Decision and Take Action

“Evaluate the offer against your wants and needs and other pending offers. It’s really a case of what’s most important to you,” said Savoy. “I’ve had clients where money wasn’t the motivating factor; they wanted an offer from the job that would have more challenge to it. Or maybe they viewed the new job as the chance to work in the career field they always wanted to, and were hoping for that offer instead.”

Either way, it’s important to have the advantage of a day or so to do this evaluation.

“It’s not unheard of for a candidate to call the company they’re interested in working for and politely say, ‘I’ve received this offer, but I really would like to work in your organization. Would you be able to give me an indication of when you will be making a decision as I have another offer?’” said Lachow.

“It can be tricky, because you clearly want to convey your enthusiasm and interest, but not be overbearing,” said Savoy. “I have had clients use this as leverage, however—and received a favorable response and accepted that job, or a non-committal response (so they took their first job offer).”

Finally, Be Real

If you aren’t interested in the position, just say so! But do say what you would be interested in. Sometimes that right job or salary becomes available. Both Savoy and Lachow have had clients whose potential employers said they could not go any higher, but then go onto call their clients back and make higher offers. Some clients have even had a potential employer say “We do have an opening coming up like that. Would you like to be considered for that one?”

“A company that makes you an offer has clearly seen something in you,” said Lachow. “Why not leave things on as positive a note as possible?”

Savoy agreed. “If you’re polite and something falls through, you never know whose path you may cross when making your next career change. I even recommend writing a ‘Thank You’ note for jobs you interview for and aren’t chosen for—sometimes new hires don’t even show up for Day 1, and then you’re next on the list!”


If you are interested in learning how JEVS Career Strategies can help individuals get to the next stage in their careers or job search…

> Learn more.

> Submit an inquiry form, anytime of day!

> See/attend our upcoming free workshops.

> Read our career advice blogs.

> Contact us at 215-832-0878 or cs@jevs.org

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