Negotiating the Terms of Your Job after 50

By Kerry Hannon

Part of Getting the Job You Want After 50 For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Copyright © 2015 AARP. All rights reserved.

Once you get that job you are seeking after 50, you need to negotiate the terms. Negotiations are best when both parties work toward an arrangement that’s mutually beneficial. Don’t approach negotiations with a hiring manager as an adversarial relationship. Follow these suggestions instead:

  • Wait. Let the hiring manager offer you an amount, and then take a day or two to consider. You may be able to renegotiate for more if you don’t think the first offer was fair, but you will need to have your reasons down pat.

  • Know your value. The more you learn, the more you earn. Research salaries for the position you’re applying for in that area of the country. Three good places to start are

  • Be prepared to tell them what you want. If you get a lowball offer, simply say something along the lines of, “I was expecting an offer more in the $_____ to $_____ range. How did you arrive at the offer?”

  • Speak in “I” statements. “I” statements are difficult to argue against, because all you’re saying is what you think and feel.

  • Ask questions. It’s okay to ask the interviewers how they came up with a specific dollar amount. Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Don’t refuse an offer outright. Don’t fall for the trap of thinking you need to answer yes or no. Keep the conversation going until you hear an offer that sounds fair.

  • Speak in terms of value. You may say something like, “If I were an average employee, I would be happy with your first offer, but I don’t think you’re looking for someone who’s just average.” Then go on to explain why you’re better than average.

  • Don’t back down. Give the conversation more time to percolate instead of reluctantly accepting an offer or turning it down. Take your time. There’s really no hurry.

  • Don’t issue an ultimatum. An ultimatum traps you and the interviewer, providing neither of you with a graceful, face-saving exit. Keep the conversation going until you’ve succeeded in meeting the needs of both sides.

  • Be sensitive to the employer’s needs and current circumstances. If the company is hurting, be open to making concessions that meet the company’s current needs but that solidify your future position.

Negotiate all financial aspects of employment in person or over the phone. Be sure all details of your employee benefits package — including any special adjustments you’ve been granted — are clearly stated in writing in your contract or offer letter.