Interviewing for jobs can be grueling. But if you manage to drum up the right answers to trick interview questions and prove you’re worth hiring, there’s light at the end of the tunnel: a job offer.
Once that offer letter hits your inbox, you know what you’re supposed to do next. Always negotiate. That’s easier said than done, especially if you desperately want the job and it’s already a pretty good offer. Is asking for more money or a better compensation package pushing it?
Fortunately, there are people who specialize in coaching candidates through this mission-critical moment. One of them, Karen Catlin, is a 25-year tech veteran who now advocates for women in tech. She’s a speaker and coach who helps clients get better salaries, signing bonuses and higher-level roles.
Catlin recently shared one of her favorite negotiation tips in a blog post. It all comes down to one, succinct sentence. Not only will it get you more money, Catlin says, but recruiters love to hear it. (She actually got the tip from interviewing recruiters.)
The 12 magic words? “If you can get me X, I’ll accept the offer right away.”
Catlin recently encouraged a young woman to use this tactic who was deciding between three job offers. The one she was most excited about was also the highest offer. But Catlin thought she could get more. The candidate used that exact phrasing and asked for 5 percent more. Two days later, her counter offer was accepted. She accepted on the spot.
Why hiring managers love to hear these words
Recruiters and hiring managers expect candidates to counter. But there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. There are a few reasons why this particular phrase is so effective in getting you more money.
It shows you really want the job
Hiring managers look for more than competency and cultural fit. They want to hire people who are enthusiastic about the role and company. It’s one reason why ending your interview with a candid statement could sway the hiring manager in your favor.
When it comes time to negotiate, using this phrase shows the hiring manager how excited you are about this job. They know you’re likely considering other offers. But now you’re telling them you’re willing to forget the others because this is The One.
It eliminates the back-and-forth
Catlin says there’s often some wiggle room in the salary or the compensation package. If the hiring manager knows you’re ready to sign on the dotted line, that gives her some leverage. She’s more likely to be able to meet your request if she already knows you will say yes.
“Assuming it’s a reasonable request, the recruiter has something tangible to bring back to the hiring committee,” Catlin writes. “It’s easier to make a case to dip into the reserves if the recruiter knows you’ll say yes.”
It displays confidence
No one wants to hire a wishy washy candidate. They want people who take action. That’s exactly what this negotiation tactic does. You’re not just asking for more money, crossing your fingers that they’ll say yes. You’re laying out a clear course of action. One that involves a better offer to move forward.
“Recruiters also love this approach because it demonstrates a decisive leadership style,” Catlin says. “Chances are, they want to hire people like that.”
While the candidate from Catlin’s success story asked for a higher salary, remember you can make other requests at this point. Some other example:
If you can get me one work-from-home day a week, I’ll accept the offer right away.
If you can get me one more week of PTO, I’ll accept the offer right away.
If you can get me a corner office, daily visits from a massage therapist and a personal chef, I’ll accept the offer right away.
OK obviously kidding on the last one, but you get the point. There are a lot of things you can ask for beyond a higher salary. As long as the ask is reasonable, you have a pretty good chance at landing an awesome job that comes with an even awesomer offer.