Can we agree that the interview process can be stressful? It can be exhausting. You spend weeks, sometimes months, going through many rounds of interviews, tests, and background checks. You do all this in secret, slipping out of work and trying not to spill the beans to coworkers and friends. Your current job stress may be growing, and you cannot wait for the process to be over.
Most often, when a job offer comes, it’s delivered by a human resources representative or the hiring manager. They call you on the phone and offer a few quick stats, including starting salary and vacation days. Then, they ask if you accept, and what date you can start.
Often, your first instinct is to accept right away. You want to keep the hiring manager happy, and to ensure your future at the company. You definitely don’t want to rock the boat.
Unfortunately, this approach can have pitfalls. For example, your hiring manager may not end up being your actual manager. This sounds unlikely, but I once had my own hiring manager announce his departure on my second day. If we had not agreed to our terms in writing, there’s a chance I might have had to renegotiate with the new manager.
When you receive a job offer, the best approach is to thank the company and express your gratitude and excitement. Then, you should thoughtfully ask if they are able to send you the details of the offer in an email or official letter. Tell the recruiter you have a personal policy that you must sleep on the decision overnight.
When you receive the offer in email, review it closely. First, ensure that all the details explained on the phone are outlined as expected. If something is left out, or is different than your understanding, ask clarifying questions.
Sleeping on an offer also gives you a chance to discuss it with your family. And, it can give you an opportunity to decide if you want to negotiate the offer up. There are two key things that candidates are concerned with: salary and vacation. To ask for more of either, follow up with the company. Express your gratitude and excitement again. Then, ask if they would be willing to adjust their offer.
Select your requests carefully. A good negotiation is one where both parties walk away feeling as if they have won. Neither should feel like they were taken advantage of. But, don’t avoid asking for what you need. As long as you communicate in a professional manner, the company should respect your request. The worst case scenario is that the company will not increase the offer – not that they will resend it.
And, note – if a company cannot increase your salary, many corporations have flexibility around vacation (even if they have a standard vacation policy).
But, again, get everything in writing – no matter what you agree to. It will ensure there are no misunderstandings and help to solidify your future success within the organization.
Angela Copeland is CEO and founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.