5 key steps to negotiate the best job offer

A call from a prospective employer or recruiter offering you ‘the dream job’ may come from out of the blue.

Or if you’re actively job hunting you may be working through the recruitment process.

Either way – in order to make the right decision – and one you feel comfortable with, it’s best to be well prepared, informed and confident enough to back yourself to negotiate a great outcome.

The alternative is to get stuck in a rut or make the wrong decision because of various influences – such as partner pressure, emotions, ego, desperation – and not to be ignored, the recruiter or hiring manager’s hard sell.

One of the most common themes coming through for candidates during the negotiation and acceptance or decline process is the lack of confidence to back themselves and to negotiate hard – but fairly. Not just for the money.

How do you master this?

To back yourself and negotiate a great outcome you need to do work both up front and during the job screening, interview and negotiation process.

Follow a structured and objective approach. If the call is out of the blue – take your time to revisit and refresh. Making an on the hoof decision is likely to generate a much poorer outcome. Not just for you, but for the hiring manager as well.

The up front work:

Map – Don’t jump.

Take your time. Map out your ideal role, what you bring to the table for that role, and how the role itself will add value to your career. Remember this is all preparatory planning which can be used now or later when you’re qualifying roles.

It’s not a good idea to just jump in.

The process of developing your baseline CV is an ideal time to reflect and work through your needs and value propositions – analysing and leveraging the achievements and the outcomes you’ve delivered. What you’ve enjoyed and what you’d rather leave behind or minimise in your next role. You should be able to come up with some ‘aha’ and ‘wow’ moments as well as some “yeah – I’d rather not” ones.

If you’re in the process of writing your CV you might like to revisit an article I wrote in October 2015; ‘Your CV: 7 front page rules to hook your audience’.

5 Key Steps:
It’s all about ‘knowing’.


  1. Knowing your skills, experience and the outcomes you’ve delivered
  2. Knowing your target audience
  3. Knowing their challenges
  4. Knowing what will resonate
    Resulting in…
  5. Knowing your value proposition – the value of you

Be confident in your ability to add value by knowing as much as you can – not just about them, but about yourself too.

If you’re enabled and/or prepared to distil down the essence of what it is that you bring to the table and the value derived by the employer, along with how that role maps into your own drivers, motivators and career aspirations, you can make a much better decision. And the decision of accepting or declining the opportunity should come much easier.

3 years ago I wrote an article about reducing the stress during your job search.

In the article I talk about the importance of understanding your needs and capabilities so you can ask powerful qualifying questions before proceeding with your application and downstream during the interview, qualification and negotiation phases.

The same still holds true today.

Click here to read this post.

Until you can fully grasp, understand and articulate your needs and capabilities  you’ll be wasting time and emotional energy by chasing non-aligned roles and invariably ending up not only selecting the wrong role but also negotiating poorly and in the long term being disappointed by the result.

So how can you structure this?

To help you stay on track you should define the key attributes of your next role by creating  a Role Attribute Template (RAT).  The RAT assists you to structure and ‘weight’ the key criteria reflecting your personal and career values, drivers, and motivators. These form important anchors during the decision process when sourcing and negotiating your next role – allowing you to populate the RAT with how that role will stack up.  It also enables you to ask the right questions during role research and qualification process.

To assist my clients in the decision making process I have developed an e-tool that provides structure and visual insights – allowing them to make objective decisions.

Importantly they are not only able to remain focused and on their career path, but they’re also able to back themselves – confident in that they’re making the right decision and negotiating a great outcome – which could be to walk away or to to say yes.

Don’t forget your current role…

If you’re currently in a role – think about how that role could be adapted. The grass is not always greener.

So, if you’ve just received an offer – congratulations! Now’s the time to make a confident decision and back yourself either way.

Go for it!


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