Successfully Negotiating Your Job Offer in HR — If You Want To Max Out Your Total Pay Package…

by Alan Collins

Congratulations! You’ve got the job offer.

You’ve worked hard, no doubt survived a brutal interview process and scored a big win!

Now, your potential new employer has now switched from “shopper” to “buyer.”

And the dance begins to finalize a starting total pay package you both can agree on.

Since you’re in HR, let me confirm a fact you already know

Most organizations almost always build some wiggle room into their offers because they expect you to negotiate.

The more hard-to-fill, more valued and more senior the HR position you’ve been offered, the more negotiating room you have.

For that reason, that initial offer placed in front of you will likely be “competitive” in their mind, but it will seldom be their “absolute best and final” offer.

So you won’t offend anyone by asking for more, provided you do so in a constructive, respectful and professional manner.

What I’ve told you so far is probably nothing new to you. 

Now let me tell you something you may not be aware of…

Studies show that only 36% of all job candidates actually negotiate their job offers.

Obviously, for the other 64% this can be a costly mistake.

Unlike them, if you could have successfully negotiated your starting salary $10,000 higher, not only would you have made $10k more your first year with the company, and every year after that…but your future raises, being proportional to your salary, would have all been higher too.

And that’s a big deal!

Frankly, even if the organization refuses to budge on your salary, there are typically tons of additional benefits you can negotiate and get — in lieu of more money — that further can sweeten that opportunity for you.

To help you negotiate the best possible pay package for your next HR role, grab these TWO DOWNLOADABLE CHEAT SHEETS at the link below…

To Download these two “CHEAT SHEETS.”

Here’s how YOU can use them:

(1) Use it to prep for maximizing your next HR job offer.
(2) Keep them handy on your all devices (phone, laptop, tablet) for future reference.
(3) Forward them to a colleague you know who has upcoming HR interviews.
(4) Use it any way you want!

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind as you utilize these Cheat Sheets:

1 – Evaluate the whole package.

In reviewing the written offer, make sure it reflects everything the employer mentioned to you verbally.

But don’t get stuck on your annual salary alone. Assess everything!

Maybe you’re getting an awesome sign on bonus, an enhanced relocation package, a job title you didn’t expect and wonderful health benefits. Think through the value of what these items are worth to you.

2 – Prioritize your wish list.

Identify the top two or three most important, “must have” items you’d like to negotiate.  Unless you’re horribly low-balled, you’ll create problems for yourself if your wish list reads like a bucket list.

Cheat Sheet 2 lists some of the typical items to consider negotiating as part of your total compensation package.

3—Set up a time to discuss “final questions.”

After you’ve put together your short list of what you want to negotiate, then contact the hiring authority and set up a time to verbally discuss the package.  Don’t wimp out by trying to use email for negotiations — it’s not nearly as effective.

Cheat Sheet 1 gives you some talking points should help you here.

A tip:  When you follow-up, don’t ask for a meeting to talk about “compensation.” Instead, ask to get together to “answer a few final questions” to help you in making your decision.

4—Be assertive in your demands, but don’t be greedy.

Once the scope of the position, salary, bonus, benefits, perks are attractive and is a match for your needs and expectations – then call the employer back, thank them for the offer and accept it! And move forward with your life.

There’s often a fine line between aggressively going after what you want…and trying to “squeeze the company dry.”  To avoid coming across as an unreasonable jerk, it’s helpful to provide rationale behind your demands.  Being labeled as a great negotiator is good, but going overboard is a horrible way to start your career with that organization.  So keep things to your must-have, priority essentials.

Here’s the bottom line…

Once you receive your offer in writing, negotiate.  Don’t become part of the 64% of folks that don’t.  Get the best deal for yourself.

However, make sure you give yourself time to understand the total pay package you’re being offered first, before you begin the give and take.

This means preparing your negotiating strategy, prioritizing your “wish list” and not being impatient with the process.

Finally, be professional.  Remind the person you’re negotiating with of the value you bring to the company and how excited you are to join the team – and you’ve set the stage for maximizing your job offer and total pay package.

Hope these tips help.

Now go for it!

CLICK HERE to add your comments or any additional suggestions about this article.  They are welcomed.


Want to go way beyond this article and cheat sheets to get more detailed information that can help you nail your next HR interview and job offer?  Then check out:  HR INTERVIEW SECRETS: How to Ace Your Next Human Resources Interview, Dazzle Your Interviewers & LAND THE JOB YOU WANT!  For more details go HERE.

About the Author: Alan Collins is Founder of Success in HR, Inc. and the author of a variety of best selling HR books including HR INTERVIEW SECRETS.  He was formerly Vice President – Human Resources at PepsiCo where he led HR initiatives for their Quaker Oats, Gatorade and Tropicana businesses.

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4 Responses to “Successfully Negotiating Your Job Offer in HR — If You Want To Max Out Your Total Pay Package…”

  1. Linda Says:

    Alan’s post AND these dynamite “cheat sheets” will help anyone to prepare for the ESSENTIAL pivot from Shopper to Buyer!

  2. Alan Says:

    Thanks Linda! Always appreciate your support. Hope you are well.

  3. Sharlonda Says:

    I just ordered my copy of HR Interview Secrets. Looking forward to reading it and getting more great tips.
    Because of your insights in the HR Resume Secrets book and having my resume professionally done, I made the necessary changes and have some big interviews coming up to prepare for. Thank you!

  4. Alan Says:

    Sharlonda, appreciate your support for the HR resume book. You’ll find HR Interview Secrets just as helpful for those big interviews you’ve got coming up. The examples and potential talking points you can use I think you’ll find especially helpful. Wish you much success!