The Tough Negotiation Issues!

Eller PDC Coach's Corner

Two businesspeople, or businessman and client, with document atBy Matt Lehrer, Career Coach

Applying for jobs is not like applying to college or graduate programs:  in all liklihood, you will not be able to evaluate all of your options at the same time.  But you should never feel compelled to give an answer immediately.  When presented with a job offer, thank the employer, reiterate your interest in the position and ask if you can have additional time to think the offer over.  Ask them to put the offer and the details of the compensation package in writing.

If you are actively pursuing more than one opportunity, and you happen to get an offer from a second or third choice firm, immediately get in touch with the other organizations in which you are interested.  Let them know you have an offer on the table, and that you would like to know the status of your candidacy.  Often if another firm is interested in you they will speed up the interview and offer process to avoid losing you to another employer.

It is not ideal to accept a position with one employer and continue interviewing hoping to receive a better offer.  This strategy involves ethical considerations and may harm your reputation in your chosen field.  Firms may rescind an offer if they find out that you have already accepted one from another organization.  Keep in mind that recruiters within fields usually know one another and have been known to compare notes!

Think carefully before negotiating a job offer and seek outside benchmarks and guidance from industry research, your personal and professional network, and resources at the PDC. Competitive organizations that hire many new graduates for entry level positions, such as consulting firms and investment banks, usually offer a set package that is identical to those offered to the rest of your entering “class.” Unless you offer something significant in terms of additional, relevant education or experience over and above the others receiving an offer, it is unlikely that you will be able to negotiate additional monetary compensation.

Some negotiation guidelines:

  • Never wait until the last minute to negotiate
  • Never misrepresent yourself or a competing offer in any way
  • Never get confrontational and always behave professionally
  • Do research the industry to best represent yourself during negotiations
  • Do get advice from parents, recent alums, professionals in the field, and/or a Career Coach
  • Do know what your deal-making and deal-breaking factors are ahead of time