When it comes to jobs, is it better to stick with the devil you know?
That's the dilemma people face when a prospective employer dangles an attractive new offer. Should an in-demand employee take the bait, or use the offer to negotiate a promotion with a current employer — assuming they like their job? In short, the answer is yes — but tred lightly.
When using an outside offer to negotiate a promotion with your current employer, consider these best practices from Victoria Pynchon, the co-founder of She Negotiates:
Keep an open mind
If you have a more lucrative offer, there's no harm in using it as leverage. In fact, some employers welcome the opportunity to hold onto talent, suggests Pynchon, who has worked with people who don't attempt to negotiate, then regret it. “They give their notice, and their current employer says, 'If only we’d known. We’d be happy to match that salary.'”
However, don't torque an offer into a threat.
"I think we tend to go astray when we think about a negotiation as something other than a conversation with the people who most have your back in the workforce," says Pynchon. Go into negotiations with someone you trust — and a positive outlook.
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Assess your career goals
A promotion can mean different things: a salary increase, a more prestigious position, or a different role that gives you more access to people in power. Before deciding whether to leverage or take the counteroffer, carefully assess your career goals and market value, or you’ll find yourself unhappy with your job again soon, suggest the experts at Glassdoor.com. Ask yourself, what do I want most? Is it money? Responsbility? Respect? Prestige?
Do your research
Before broaching the offer with your current boss, make sure you know your value. Job duties generally increase over time, so assess your worth based on the job you actually do, not the job you were hired to do three years ago, says Pynchon. Check payscale.com for market reports of salary ranges for your industry and position.
Negotiate like a professional
Negotiate with someone who has decision-making power and can meet — or beat — the outside offer. What's more, stick to objective metrics like salary and job repsonbilities, and avoid sounding self-righteous about what you deserve. “When people talk about fairness, their [negotiating] partner will dig their heels in more because no one wants to be accused of being unfair,” says Pynchon.
That being said, don't underestimate yourself. Says Pynchon, "Make sure you can classify yourself correctly in your industry and your job. Don’t discount yourself."