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It's pretty easy to keep yourself occupied while you wait for a call about the cover letter and resume you submitted. You simply spend the time continuing your job search. But when you have a job offer on the table and the only thing standing between you and an official start date is the final salary offer, the waiting game can be nerve wracking. In your salary negotiation discussions, make it clear you want the job and try not to leave the meeting with your salary still up in the air.
Job Offers and Salary Negotiations
Nine out of 10 times, hiring managers don't extend their best and final salary offer when they first make a job offer, says Barbara Safani, president of New York City-based Career Solvers, in a report titled, "Winning Negotiation Strategies for Your New Job." When you receive a job offer, the first version is likely conditioned on your ability to pass a background check as well as positive responses from your professional references and verification of your past employment. Because it's conditional, there's an opening for you to broach the topic of negotiating your salary.
Being Informed Can Mean Being Successful
Depending on the comfort level you and the hiring manager established during the interview process, open the negotiation discussion with, "Thank you for offering me this job. I'm looking forward to working with you and your team. Tell me, how much are you willing to negotiate on the salary?" In this case, an open-ended question is far better than a closed-ended question, such as "Is this salary negotiable?" Using the latter, you give the hiring manager an easy way out because she could simply say, "No." Before you even think about negotiating salary, do your research. Know how much you're worth in the job market, and how the current labor market and economy affect wages, so you can articulate why those factors justify your worth.
Getting to "Yes"
Preparation is key to negotiating the salary you want. At the very least, after you and the hiring manager finish talking about money and numbers, you want a verbal agreement. Avoid ending a meeting with the hiring manager saying, "Let me think about it and I'll call you." That's not what you want to hear. When it happens, ask the hiring manager, "When can I expect to hear from you on approving an increase above the salary indicated in your job offer?" Without being too demanding, try pinning her down to a definitive answer within a short time period. It'll help finalize the job offer and it will keep you from sitting on pins and needles waiting for an answer.
The Call Back
When you're waiting for a call back on a final salary offer, a day can seem like a week. Nevertheless, if you agreed to wait until the hiring manager could get back to you, you have no choice but to endure the waiting game. Give her at least one business day if she said she would be making the decision herself. If she indicated she needed approval from another person, such as the company president or someone higher up, give it two business days. No more than three business days should go by before you either hear that a final written offer with the agreed-upon salary is forthcoming, or that the salary in the conditional job offer is the company's best offer.
Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.