Tips to negotiate your first job offer without fear and anxiety

Posted July 29, 2014 by
Job interview with candidate for office employment or negotiation for hiring

Job interview with candidate for office employment or negotiation for hiring. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Negotiating is tough at the best of times, but when it’s your first job offer it’s even harder. It’s tempting not to negotiate at all, but this won’t get you anywhere! After all, it’s better to ask and get turned down than to not even try at all. One of the hardest things to conquer is the feelings of fear and anxiety you’ll inevitably face. Here are our tips on how to avoid them becoming an issue.

Be Optimistic

If you go into the negotiations convinced that they’ll say no, you’ll undoubtedly persuade yourself it’s a bad idea and start to feel anxious. Instead, work on thinking about the positives of the situation – and remember, if you get a no, it’s not all that bad. You should already have the job offer in writing before you start negotiations, and this means it’s official. You therefore don’t have to worry they’re going to change their mind! Think positive, and you’ll find your anxiety goes away.

Be Prepared

Start your preparation well in advance. Research average starting salaries what additional skills are worth and other such information. If you have this to hand, you can feel confident in that what you’re asking for is appropriate and backed up by evidence. Obviously, there’s no need to quote this evidence to the person you’re negotiating with – they’re probably aware of it. It’s there to make sure what you ask for is reasonable and that you know this. Preparation is the key to avoiding fear.

Allow Them To Approach You

Ideally, you want a number to work within your head before you start – base this on your research. However, you don’t want to make the first offer. Let them approach you. They may surprise you and offer you the number you were hoping for to start with. If they insist on you approaching them, aim high – they’re almost certainly ready to negotiate, and it’s better to negotiate down than up.

Be Confident

If you don’t sound convinced you deserve the money, why should they? It may be difficult for you to talk about how great you are without feeling like you’re bragging, but this is no time to be modest. Be factual – don’t embellish anything, but also don’t hide your strengths. If you have additional experience in an important area of their business, tell them that. It’s something to be proud of, and something that will convince them you deserve what you’re asking for.

Research The Benefits

Negotiating your first job offer isn’t entirely about salary. You may find they offer you benefits – such as tuition payback, health insurance or a company car. Ideally, you should know which benefits will be most useful to you and which won’t – if you already have great health insurance and don’t want to swap, then there’s not much point accepting an offer including it. You can instead negotiate for something else. Make sure you’re aware of what benefits the company offers, which you would like, and how much money they’re worth to you. By this, we don’t mean how much they actually add up to, but how much value they have to you. Do you cycle to work, and don’t intend to change? A company car would have no value to you. Whereas if you have an old car that needs a lot of work then a company car would have high value to you, and might therefore be worth a lower salary. Once again, this is all about preparation – and, as we said, preparation is the best method of avoiding fear!

Practice Makes Perfect

Just like any other skill, negotiation is something that improves with practice. You wouldn’t go to a math exam without doing any work for it, and so you shouldn’t go to a negotiation having never negotiated before! There are negotiation training courses available for this very reason, and they’re a great space to practise without any risk. In addition, they offer feedback – something that will allow you to grow into a skilled negotiator. Just like with exams, practising can take the edge off your anxiety – if it’s something you’ve done before and know what to expect, it’s far less intimidating.

This is the guest post by Christopher Austin and!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted in Career Advice for Job Seekers, Industry News and Information | Tagged Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,