Hosted By

Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Isaiah Hankel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer Cheeky Scientist

Join Isaiah as he walks you through the questions you should ask to ensure you get the best possible job offer

Here’s a quick rundown of this week’s episode…

  • First, Isaiah presents the two questions that have helped thousands of PhDs get better job offers
  • Next, Isaiah explains why open-ended questions are so powerful during salary negotiations
  • Finally, Isaiah gives a list of the best open-ended questions to ask to counteract things that employers might say during salary negotiations

From This Week’s Show… 

The Two Questions That Have Increased The Job Offers Of Thousands Of PhDs

After reviewing the initial offer and staying grateful for the opportunity but neutral (at most) toward the salary amount, you should get curious about what else is possible.

This is best done by asking the employer open-ended questions such as, “Is there anything else you can do in terms of salary?” or, if they say no to this first question, “Is there anything else you can do instead of salary?”

These two questions have helped thousands of PhDs swiftly get a 5 to 15 percent increase in salary and a 20 to 40 percent increase in their signing bonuses.

Why Open-ended Questions Are So Powerful During Salary Negotiations

The key is to avoid including any specifics in your open-ended questions or in your responses to any counter questions the employer asks. When you give specifics, you risk capping your job offer lower than what the employer is willing to pay you.

For example, you want to avoid saying, “I’m really excited about this opportunity, but I was wondering if we could go $5,000 higher in terms of the starting salary?” 

In response, the employer might quickly agree (which probably means they were willing to pay you much more), or they might take the opportunity to meet you in the middle by saying, “How about we settle halfway at $2,500 more?” 

Instead, say, “I’m really excited about this offer, but I was wondering if there was anything more we could do in terms of salary?” This phrasing puts the impetus for proposing a higher offer on the employer.

Whenever possible, have these open-ended discussions in person or over the phone instead of email. Try to get as many people on the phone as possible. Push to do a quick conference call with the hiring manager and whoever else is part of the decision-making process.

The more you engage the other party in real time, the better your chances of getting the job offer increased. Sure, you might be more uncomfortable negotiating over the phone than over email, but the employer will feel more uncomfortable saying “no” too.

How To Use Open-ended Questions To Keep Your Negotiations Relaxed

The key is to always keep your negotiations relaxed and conversational. Using open-ended questions is a great way to do this. Carefully consider the following salary related questions an interviewer may ask you and, despite how uncomfortably the question positions you, how you can reply:

  • They may ask, “What do you think is a reasonable salary?” – You can reply by asking in turn, What’s possible?
  • Or, they may ask, “We can’t increase the salary, unfortunately.” – Here, you can reply by asking, When have you increased a candidate’s salary in the past?
  • “We are considering several other candidates who would accept this salary.” – Reply by asking, How does my candidacy stand out from the other candidates?
  • “If we offer you $100,000 per year right now, would you take it?” – Reply by asking, When might I be able to see a job offer on paper?
  • “We can increase the salary to $110,000. Agreed?” – Reply by asking, Can we increase that number a little more?
  • “Due to budget cuts, we can’t negotiate salary.” – Reply by asking, What exceptions have you made for this in the past when hiring other candidates?

Remember, the interviewer is maneuvering to make you feel just uncomfortable enough to settle on their terms. Your goal is to calmly and professionally maneuver in a way that keeps the conversation open.

If you’re ready to start your transition into industry, you can apply to book a free Transition Call with our founder Isaiah Hankel, PhD or one of our Transition Specialists. Apply to book a Transition Call here.

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