Recent Graduate? Five Things to Keep In Mind While Negotiating an Offer

Recent Graduate? Five Things to Keep In Mind While Negotiating an Offer

Recent Graduate? Five Things to Keep In Mind While Negotiating an Offer

By Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Here are five ways recent grads may make sure they get paid fairly:



Wayne Gretzky, a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, famously quipped, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t attempt.” Entry-level employees may be hesitant to ask for a better deal, but experts say there is no risk in attempting to get one. Indeed, even  if you are unsuccessful, negotiating can help candidates appear more appealing to potential employers.

“Even though negotiating can scare a lot of people including senior executives, it demonstrates that you’re advocating for yourself, which is a fantastic characteristic for a young adult to have. Doing t This isn’t only about obtaining more money or benefits for yourself; it’s about demonstrating confidence and that you are someone who will advocate for yourself.



A clear awareness of the talent you bring to the table, as well as what the market has determined to be fair remuneration for those skills, is crucial to a successful negotiation. Fortunately, today’s grads have significantly more access to pay statistics and employer information than past generations. It’s critical to get real-world wage statistics for your sector, region, company, and skill set before sitting down for an interview.

Don’t walk into a negotiation asserting that you need more money because of something you want to buy or rent.’ “They don’t care.   having done some basic research and  the value you can bring and why it would warrant a higher offer. There’s a lot of resources available to do your homework, just like there was when you’re in school.

Although junior staff and new grads are frequently made to feel interchangeable, and they are naturally afraid of being overlooked if they push too hard. Remember not to lose sight of the value you bring to the table, especially if you lack considerable prior expertise.

After all, you’ve spent years of your life developing skills that will immediately benefit your first job, and firms don’t recruit entry-level individuals if they don’t believe people fresh out of college are of value to them.  Know that you’re wanted, that you’re needed, and that most decent employers want you to negotiate.



Because there’s a lot more to a job than simply a salary, it’s critical for recent grads to evaluate the entire pay package while negotiating.

Limiting negotiations to a single number  chances of a mutually beneficial agreement. After all, when you’re bargaining over something, there’s going to be a winner and a loser. However, working with such as job title, vacation days, remote-work policies, bonuses, healthcare plans, and other incentives, might be discussed during your negotiations. As a result, it’s important for both sides to be honest about their priorities.

For example, if the employer’s top concerns are maintaining a rigorous vacation policy and keeping compensation consistent with existing employees, the employee could negotiate for a more flexible work schedule, a home-office stipend, and a better title.

Each of you is pushing for your own priorities, and because you’re bargaining over various elements, you’re far more likely to not just obtain more of what you want, but also to both be satisfied.



Finding the perfect time to discuss compensation can be difficult, especially for those who are new to the process.  That is why, if the matter comes up too early, it is better to push it off until you have a better knowledge of the role, responsibilities, expectations and effort required of you once you’re on board.  You need to learn exactly what’s expected of you.

After all, you expect a different compensation package if you can work five days remotely and do not need to go from Nebraska to the Bay area. “You might say, ‘Let’s revisit that later,’ to deflect until you know more.    return to the subject once you are one of a few finalists. Make them fall in love with you first before re-engaging with the subject. 



Let the employer make the offer when the time comes for that dialogue.

If you give them a number and they were going to pay a bigger amount, you’ve simply locked yourself into the lower amount. Conversely,  if you give a ridiculously high number but are willing to accept anything somewhat lower, you may price yourself out of consideration.

Instead, ask about the benefits that the employers normally provide to employees in similar positions or with comparable degrees of experience. In certain circumstances, the offer will meet your expectations, but if not, it is the your responsibility to advocate for what  you believe you deserve, backed up with research and proof.

“Most organizations, particularly larger ones, put out the first offer, regardless of whether the applicant has zero or 30 years of experience with the expectation that you will want to negotiate. 

When I worked in search, it was common for clients of mine to extend an offer for a lower amount than what they gotten approved by finance. This gave them preapproved wiggle room in their negotiations with people that they wanted to hire.

With one client in particular, they created a lot of drama around getting the offer increased, even though they already had the money approved. Their thinking was they made the candidate feel good that someone was going to “go to the mat for them” to get the offer increased and that the company really wanted them, even though that wasn’t the case.

In fact, it is all a subtle version of manipulation to get someone to say yes and join.

Even if you are not able to negotiate more money or better terms, that does not mean you should turn down the job offer that has been made to you. Carefully evaluate the entire package as proposed and then make your decision.

One final thing you can try is to ask them with a degree of pain in your voice, “Can you do a touch better?” Usually they will and although it may not be to the ideal level, you have gotten them to increase the offer and that means more money in your pocket.



JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, all as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes, 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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