It’s tempting to let out a sigh of relief or a shout of joy on receiving a job offer. You probably feel like you have crossed the finish line of a very long race. However it’s important to realise there’s still more work to be done.

Rather than accepting immediately, it’s beneficial to take a day to understand what has been presented. This will give you time to weigh up your options, including your potential salary and benefits package. Once prepared, you will then have the chance to negotiate what has been offered to you — this can be intimidating, but it’s absolutely essential to the hiring process.

However, while salary negotiation is necessary prior to accepting any potential job offer, you must know when to stop negotiating and either accept or deny an offer completely.

What are you negotiating?

Before and during your discussions, you need to continually refer back to your initial reasoning for wanting to negotiate. While negotiation is beneficial to success on your career path, don’t just do it because you feel it’s expected of you. Do your research and gain as much knowledge as possible about the salary ranges for this position in your industry sector. This will allow you completely understand what you are negotiating for. Was the offer just slightly out of your range or way off? No one is going to accept an unreasonable offer.

Bear in mind these negotiations don’t have to be limited solely to money. Many individuals choose to negotiate other benefits that are important to them – it may be the opportunity to work from home once a week, extra holidays or a car allowance rather than an actual car. Whatever it might be, your discussion should be based on research, not on simply demanding the salary you think you deserve.

When should you accept?

Accepting an offer is easy if you have clearly defined your needs to a potential employer. There isn’t a sounding bell for the perfect timing to stop negotiating and accept an offer, but you will feel more confident when you’ve taken the necessary time to prepare, consider, and ask for what you want.

The package might be great, but it’s your job to tie up any loose ends before finalising the deal. Make a final assessment of the position by taking a deeper look into the job content, the company culture, as well your needs. Your acceptance of the offer should ultimately be based on your judgement of all factors.

When do you need to reject an offer?

During your salary negotiation, it’s important to completely understand why and what you are looking for based on research and your needs. Even if you’ve done your homework and conducted an appropriate negotiation, an employer doesn’t have to change their offer.

Your decision to decline should come when your needs aren’t being met. Be sure to do this promptly, confidently, and respectfully. There is no reason to burn a bridge with this employer.

The thought of rejecting an offer might be hard to swallow. After all the hard work and a potentially long hiring process, no one wants to start again. But there’s no reason to accept an offer for a position you’re less than thrilled about, or one that’s below par.

Your decision should be based on your confidence that your needs are being met. Never settle for less.

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