The 5Bs of Negotiating a Market Research Job Offer

  1. Be Honest: Discuss your current and desired responsibilities, work hours, work environment and other items of importance to you. Most importantly, be transparent about your current salary, bonus opportunity and anticipated date for a raise—and be prepared to support your numbers if asked by a market research recruiter.

  2. Be Prepared: Speak with your family and take time to be introspective. Identify what aspects of your marketing research job are important to you—whether it is salary, bonus opportunity, flexible hours, benefits or work environment and communicate these items. In being prepared, you should obtain objective, quantitative data for the job dimensions of importance to you. You should seek this data from career, governmental and market research industry association sources—not casual conversations from colleagues.

  3. Be Flexible: Few companies will have the means or ability to meet all of your desires. Furthermore, most large firms will have guidelines into which your offer must fit. Be willing to consider tradeoffs between items of importance to you—and be ready to think out of the box. Opportunities to increase your salary, gain additional vacation time, advance your market research skills, etc. will be available sooner than you might expect.

  4. Be Reasonable: Understand that you are negotiating with your new boss. If your initial requests are met, do not continue asking for more. Conversely, if an offer is below your expectation or industry averages, share your benchmark data with your potential future employer. The use of relevant data is an effective way to depersonalize negotiations and strive toward a reasonable conclusion. A sense of fairness on both sides of the desk is essential for a healthy, productive and long term relationship.

  5. Be Patient: Never immediate accept or reject an offer—regardless of its level of attractiveness. Graciously thank the individual extending the offer, and ask for several days to review it with your immediate family--responding within the agreed upon timeframe. Changing market research jobs is a major life event and it is expected that you will confer with others. If you are expecting an offer but have yet to receive it, be patient. Don’t repeatedly email or call. Coordinating schedules to make hiring decisions always takes longer than one thinks. An over-eager job seeker raises concerns.