You’ve worked tirelessly to find a new accounting job. After sending resume after resume, attending a zillion networking functions and spending countless hours scouring online job boards, you’ve received an employment offer. Congratulations!
Now, be really, really careful.
Job offers aren’t written in stone, so it’s important not to mismanage the negotiating process. One wrong move and that job you’ve worked so hard to get can slip through your hands. Here are five common errors and tips for avoiding them:
1. You don’t do your salary research.
Yes, it’s smart to do some negotiating, but don’t overplay your hand by demanding an exorbitant salary that’s far above the going rate in your area. Prior to heading to the negotiating table, review current compensation trends for your position and geographic location. Check out resources such as Robert Half’s 2015 Salary Guide to learn what salary range you can safely command for the role you’re being offered.
2. You don’t quit while you’re ahead.
If you’ve gone back and forth with the employer on compensation, benefits and vacation time and they end up meeting all of your requests, don’t keep pushing for more just to see what else you might be able to squeeze out of them. Greediness is not a trait employers seek or admire in new hires. Candidates create problems for themselves when they overestimate the leverage they have or a busy hiring manager’s patience for playing games.
3. You act arrogant.
Negotiations with an employer should be serious but friendly. Remember: You are not haggling with a used car salesperson you’ll never see again. You won’t do yourself any favors by taking an adversarial tone or issuing an ultimatum. Saying you’re “insulted” by the salary offered or threatening to “walk away” if your demands aren’t met is a bad strategy. If you take the risk of playing hardball, you better at least be poised, professional and pleasant.
4. You overshare.
When you’re mulling over a job offer, be careful about what you divulge online. There are many cautionary tales of people who’ve shot themselves in the foot by using Facebook or Twitter to comment on would-be employers or publicly weigh the pros and cons of accepting an offer. Simply put, you never know who might see your posts. Even if the lack of discretion doesn’t lead to the offer being rescinded, the employer will likely question your judgment — which is not a great way to start a relationship.
5. You fib.
Some organizations extend job offers before they’ve completed all their background and reference checks. In most cases, this is just a formality. But the job offer could be jeopardized if the employer finds that you embellished your resume or fudged some facts in the interview. In addition, never claim to have a job offer from a competing company if that’s not the case. More than a few job candidates have had their bluffs called and ended up with nothing.
Related post: Salary Negotiation Tips for New Grads