Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter explains how to negotiate your job offer with just five questions.

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Let's talk about negotiating salary. You've got the offer. Everything seems great but you want to do a bit more negotiating. Here is the 1st thing you do: if you feel comfortable about what is been proposed but you just want to increase a little bit, here's the idea.

You'll be asking a few questions but I don't want you doing it right away. I want you to say, "I'm thinking favorably. Can I come back to you in a day or so to have a couple of questions answered. I just want to make sure I do this 1 time so that were not going back and forth. He give me a day here to think about it and circle back to you?"

Think of it from the hiring manager's perspective. He or she thinks right away that you're going to be coming back about money. As a result, when you come back to them, the 1st question that you ask is NOT about money. It should be about anything BUT money.

Consider asking when you get into the 401(k). When you become eligible for benefits. Something softball that will cause them to relax a little bit and think for a 2nd, "Ah! This isn't going to be so tough!" Then, the next question is going to be about reporting relationships. Who are you going to report to? What are they like? If I'm reporting to you, who do you report to? Who do we service? Things along those lines.

The 3rd question is always a big one. You want to go to your most important question 3rd. I prefer you not deal with money here and keep that for a little bit later in the conversation. Here, you might ask about whatever your critical issue is. Maybe, is that you will be taking a trip and it is prescheduled and you want them to know about it in advance. Maybe it is about bonus eligibility... Whatever it is, covered 3rd.

Then, you circle back and asked him another softball question. Do I work on a Windows device or Mac? Isn't that a softball question?

Now, for the money question, you have been building up to this one, see would say something like, "You know, I've been really thinking favorably about this opportunity. Could you do a touch better on the offer?" Normally, they will do 1 of 2 things; they will either increase it by a few dollars. The 2nd thing they might say is, "This really is our top number." You'll be able to tell if it's true by the sincerity of their voice. Whether that is true or not. You'll be able to use your "acute BS detector" to determine if that is the case. The 3rd response is to say, "I will have to get back to you. Is that a deal breaker for you?"

You can say no or yes; that will be your choice. Ultimately, if this is a dealbreaker for you, he or she is going to work that much harder to get the number or or say, "Forget it." It is all over at that point.

Assuming that it is not a dealbreaker, tell them that at the point. You're interested in joining, other firms been talking about more money with you, you have another offer at that price point, could they do a touch better?

That's the theory behind what I call, "The Easiest Way to Negotiate a Higher Salary for Yourself." That's 1 of my YouTube videos. Watch it. It is about 10 minutes in length, and I think it is very helpful.

But I wanted to stage salary negotiation for you here. Kudos to my friend Ellis Chase. He did this in a Forbes article very well. If you go to Forbes and search for Ellis Chase, he lays out this formula nicely,


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1200 episodes, “Job Search Radio,” “and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice” and is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council.

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

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