Should I Take the First Offer or Should I Negotiate?

May 1st, 2014

Bruce-Powell-Recruiter
By Bruce Powell, Founder & Managing Partner

You interviewed for a great job that scores checkmarks all around on your career wish list. So when you get the call that the job is yours, do you simply agree to sign on the dotted line? Or should you negotiate the terms of your contract to see how much more you can improve the offer?

Well, it depends on the situation. If you’re working with a good recruiter, he or she will know whether the client is open to negotiating or not. Some clients will walk away immediately and you’ll be left with nothing. But other clients EXPECT negotiation… it gives them an example of how strong a negotiator you are and how well you might be able to negotiate on their behalf in the future.

Here are a few considerations on whether or not to negotiate:

Know What You’re Worth

If you do your homework and know what you’re worth then you will be in a much better position to negotiate. Salary guides are helpful and can be found online. If you’re working with a recruiter, they can tell you how much your experience is worth in the present job market.

Salary Negotiation - should I take the first offer or negotiate?

If You Like The Offer

If the client gives you exactly what you are looking for and you are 100% convinced that this is the right move for your career and salary progression, then why negotiate? It’s not necessary. Again, some clients may walk away from you if you ask for more and you’ll be left with nothing just because you felt like you had to negotiate.

It’s Not All About The Money

The popular notion is that candidates who don’t negotiate leave a lot of money on the table. I would guess that more than 1/3 of the people I interview who are looking for new jobs aren’t doing it for the money. It’s usually because of lack of career progression or problems with management (direct managers or company issues). If you truly aren’t in it for the money, then the overall package should be important. The total benefits package, the work environment, how well the job aligns with your long-term goals, etc. are the key considerations; then worry about the base salary after that.

Be Prepared To Walk Away

Once you start negotiating you need to be prepared to walk away if they don’t give you any concessions; demanding more salary or holidays or benefits and then not getting it but still accepting the original offer can start things off in a negative way. However, if they’re willing to meet some of your demands after a trial period (such as three or six months), then it may make sense to take the position and demonstrate you’re worth it! But also be realistic – if they won’t budge now, how co-operative do you think they’ll be in the future?

For other ideas that will help you evaluate your career options, check out our Tips From a Headhunter For Job Seekers section. 

IQ PARTNERS is a Recruitment Agency with offices in Toronto, Montreal & Vancouver, We help companies hire better, hire less & retain more. Our recruiters specialize in Marketing, Communications, Consumer Goods & Services, Retail, Sales, Technology, Finance & Accounting, Financial Services, Life Sciences, HR & Operations, and Construction, Property & Real Estate. IQ PARTNERS has its head office in Toronto and operates internationally via Aravati Global Search Network. Click here to view current job openings and to register with us.

Bruce Powell

Bruce co-founded IQ PARTNERS in 2001 and currently operates as Managing Partner. His personal background includes hands-on management experience in sales, marketing and marketing services. He has built management teams for a wide variety of marketing, communications, media and technology companies. He has also participated in several M&A transactions for service-based companies and is frequently called upon as a resource in the planning and negotiation of such deals.