If you’ve played your cards right and impressed the hiring manager at your job interviews, then you’ll be super excited to know you’re going to receive a job offer.

The job offer stage is a crucial one, and the key to accepting this offer is to be as prepared as possible. If you’ve properly prepared from the very start of the hiring process, then you’ll be in a great situation once you are at the final job offer stage.

There are many things you should do to properly prepare.

Before you even start the interview process, you should write down the minimums that you must have to accept any position.

This includes writing down how much money you must make and which benefits will be necessary for you to have in the job offer.

When you write this down, this will be the benchmark that you will use at the end of the process to determine if you can accept the job.

After you’ve written down your minimum compensation requirements, you will want to spend some time researching.

There are some excellent tools online that will help you evaluate what would be a fair offer.

The tools you can find online include Salary Calculators and Cost of Living Comparisons.

You should include researching similar salaries and standard compensation for the:

1. location(s)

2. level of job responsibilities

3. type of title or position you’re applying for

That way, when the company makes you a job offer you’ll know if the company is making a fair job offer to you for the type of job that you’re being considered for.

These will also be benchmarks that you can use to evaluate your job offer.

Once you’ve reached the job offer stage, you’ve already developed a positive relationship with the hiring manager and the company.

You will want to continue this positive momentum into the job offer negotiations.

The most productive job offer negotiations are done with clear communication.

Both parties should be asking appropriate questions and attempting to understand the other person’s thoughts.

Negotiations should have the common goal of making both parties happy.

They shouldn’t be adversarial or take on a negative tone. It also shouldn’t be difficult to communicate each other’s needs.

Negotiations don’t have to be only about money, and it’s likely that the other parts of the job offer can be a huge part of what is negotiated.

If one part of the job offer isn’t what you might expect it to be, then the other points of negotiation should be discussed to make the job offer more appealing.

The key points of the job offer negotiation could include:

1. Base Salary

2. Bonuses or Commissions

3. Vacation or Paid Time Off

4. Medical Benefits

5. Car Allowance or Transportation Costs

6. Company Expense Account or Credit Card

7. Company Perks including Computer, Phone, Hardware, or Software

8. Stock Options or Retirement or 401K or Pension

There are some other basic job offer negotiation tips you should be thinking about before and during the job offer negotiation stage.

When it comes to talking about salary, be patient and don’t bring up your compensation before the employer asks about it.

If you are forced to talk about salary, give them a range based on the empirical data you found from the research you did before the interviews.

Make sure your compensation figures are in the same range as the company’s range.

Once you receive the job offer, don’t rush into an answer. You can take at least a day to think about it or discuss it with your family before providing an answer or counter.

You always have the right to say “no” to a job offer but don’t turn down a job offer you absolutely want or need just for the sake of getting a little bit more.

If the offer is fair, there is no harm in asking for more but be prepared for them to say “no” and then you will have to make your final decision.

I wouldn’t advise going back and forth in the negotiations more than once.

Lastly, if there is a discrepancy in dollar amounts or salary, you need to consider negotiating the other benefits of the offer because they are equally as valuable to the offer as the salary figures.

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