/ Asked by Jason
I'm graduating at the end of the month and I'm anxiously excited about my upcoming job search. One thing I'm having a hard time understanding is if I'm offered a position, can I really negotiate salary? I've heard from some it's okay to negotiate, especially if the offer is below what my research finds as "in line" with the market. Others have said, either take the job and salary or you'll need to find something else. What's the right advice? Thanks.
Answered by Nell, Hiring Expert at Pitney Bowes, on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Great question and congratulations on your upcoming graduation! It really is an exciting time in your life! Enjoy ever second! Now, for the negotiation, it is a very touchy thing, and really depends on the position and the company. My advice to you is to approach the subject delicately. If the position is completely nonnegotiable, then hopefully the recruiter will tell you that up front and spare you the headache. If they do not say that to you upfront then it is worth asking about. However, how you approach it is very important. You can potentially ruin your reputation before you start the position if you come at it too aggressive. Here are some tips on negotiating for when the time comes.
-Show excitement that you received an offer. Even if it is the worst offer that you have ever received, they still chose you. Recruiters and managers love to see passion, excitement and appreciation for the work, and effort that has been put into recruiting you.
-Be careful on how much you counter. Most companies come to you with their best or close to best offer with maybe a little wiggle room. So when you counter, do not double it or make it really huge. This will not look good for you.
-Be careful with what else you counter for. Do not come back with a list of demands, like extra PTO, a start date to your liking, a huge bonus, a double base salary, and only yellow m&m’s at your desk on your first day. Having a long list of demands on your counter offer, makes you look unappreciative and high-maintenance. Pick a few things that are important to you and ask for them politely while still showing enthusiasm for the position.
-If you have an offer with another company that is more money, disclose that and use that as a reference point.
It is a very exciting time for you and I wish you all the best!
-Nell
Answered by Cassie, Hiring Expert at The Hershey Company, on Thursday, December 18, 2014
Negotiation is always tricky. If you approach it in the right way it should not be a problem, but you should be careful and understand that there may not be room to negotiate, especially with entry level roles. Many recruiters will ask you up front what your current salary is and/or what your expectations are for the role you are applying to. This helps recruiters make sure that the role is in line with your expectations. If this does not happen and you are just offered a role with a lower than expected salary, you should still consider all benefits of the role before deciding next steps. Perhaps there is also a bonus potential and potential for a merit increase each year. Make sure you understand all benefits before starting any negotiations. If you do decide to negotiate, try to work through Human Resources rather than the Hiring Manager if you have that option. Make sure you let them know how excited you are about the company and offer, but you were just wondering if there was any room to increase salary.
I will say, many entry level roles have a set starting salary since most recent grads don’t have a lot of experience in their field. If the company and position appear to be in line with your career goals, look at the potential for advancement and know that in a few years you may have the opportunity to move up and earn a higher salary once you prove yourself.
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, December 19, 2014
This is definitely a tricky situation, but you can manuever through this professionally and in a way that will not negatively impact your new employer's impression of you.  First, do your homework.  Conduct research on the internet and work with your campus advisors to get an understanding of what an average starting salary is for someone with your degree and amount of experience.  You may also be able to obtain this data through informational interviews at companies in which you are intereted.  Also, keep in mind that salaries will vary depending on the location that you are in.  A starting salary in say, Dallas would likely be less than the starting salary for the same job in New York.  Keep this information in your back pocket so to speak.

When you begin to receive job offers, obviously compare that with the data that you have collected.  If you see a significant gap in what is being offered to you and what the market is dictating then, yes, it is perfectly fine to ask the question if there is any flexibility with the salary offer. It also helps if you have multiple job offers in hand when asking this question.  The key, however, is not to push too hard.  Let the employer know that you would like to see some additional flexibility in the job offer based on your market research, but if they are not initially receptive to discussing it, then you should back off, unless you have a higher competing offer.  Keep in mind that the ability to negotiate is determined by the job market, your degree and experience (or lack thereof), and the supply of and demand for people with your skill set. 
Answered by Tara, Hiring Expert at Archer Daniels Midland, on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Great question! I would encourage you to do your homework on what the position you're being hired for is typically offered. I'd also encourage you to look at the job descriptions that go along with the positions that come up in your research so that you can compare the requirements you find online to the actual requirements of the role you are considering. Using sites like O Net Online and Glass Door can help you get a realistic preview of competencies necessary to succeed in any role as well as the average compensation package that you can look to negotiate. It's okay to negotiate, but knowing what skills you bring to the bargaining table (and what these skills are worth in terms of market value) is a critical first step in the negotiation process.
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