So, you've done it. You've taken the next step in accelerating your career by applying for a new job. After a strict job application, several harrowing interviews, and an anxious waiting period, you have the news you've been waiting for: they want you.

Take a moment and celebrate! You've worked hard for this, but now it's time to get down to the nitty gritty before you hand over your weekdays to this new company.

Salary negotiation is not the most exciting experience and many new hires tend to skip this process because they're afraid to upset their new employer when in truth, your employer expects it.

Before you sign the dotted line, follow these tried and true tactics from experienced hiring managers and company executives for best results.

Yes, you should definitely send back a counter offer, whether or not the original offer met or exceeded your expectations.

According to Mary Fox, CEO and Co-Founder of career coaching company Marlow:

"Negotiating your salary in a respectful and thoughtful way will likely lead to increased respect between you and your future employer. Assuming you've handled the negotiation professionally, even in the rare event that an employer can't increase their initial offer, they're unlikely to take back that offer or think negatively of you. Negotiations are a part of business."

Be careful here though, if you've already stated a specific salary and they met that, your counter offer should only be a higher number if you can provide valid reasons. With that being said...

Make sure you are not the first to state your desired salary. If you absolutely have to, then give a range.

April Klimkiewicz, career coach and owner of Bliss Evolution, states it best:

"If you are negotiating salary for a new job, it's a good idea to let the company name a number first. They are making an offer, after all. If they ask you what minimum salary you are willing to accept or what salary range you are looking for, express that you've done your research and are willing to entertain all competitive offers. It would be a shame if they were willing to make a better offer but you mentioned you would accept an offer for thousands of dollars less."

Think about counter offering with something other than a dollar value.

 What are other benefits you can take into consideration other than your base salary? These things may not seem like hard-earned cash at first, but can ultimately create a flexible lifestyle for you.

-       Vacation Days/Sick Days

-       401k

-       Relocation Package

-       Healthcare

-       Work From Home Days

-       Professional Development Budget

-       Student Loan Repayment

-       Gym Membership (or reimbursement)

-       Company Car

-       Commuting Budget

-       Stock Options

If you're going to counter the salary, then provide reasons and research as to why you deserve more.

Andy Chan, career coach and founder of Prime Opt, says this:

"What skill set is most desired by that company in that particular position? Try to make a case that with X years of experience, you deserve receiving a salary which is X% higher because of what you can offer. Always remember to quantify your achievement when making such a case, and use percentage to represent your desired salary.

Also, the Department of Labor publishes salary levels of each job title at different levels of experience. It is another good reference for job seekers.

However, never directly quote the numbers on Glassdoor or other references during an interview or when negotiating for a higher salary. This is because many companies could easily say that the number you give is only an average number, or even claim that those numbers are not reliable. These arguments can then easily turn down one's request for higher salary. So they key is to use the number but not directly quoting the source."

The second counter offer is usually the bottom line, but don't be afraid to ask for clarifications or smaller ask for something they said no to.

For example, if they denied a commuting budget, ask if you can work from home a few times a month. If they said no to a full relocation package, ask if they can provide a small stipend to at least cover a U-haul or storage. You want to know that even if it doesn't fit within their budget, they are open to creative alternatives.

No matter what your response is, remember to be kind and gracious.

At the end of the day, they are offering you a job. Be thankful, even if it's nothing close to what you're expecting. The goal here is to negotiate, not argue, with your future employer. Maintain respect throughout the whole process.

If your prospective employer simply won't budge, accept and negotiate a review down the line--or thank them and walk away.

Mary Fox from Marlow continues:

"If the employer won't budge, it's important to understand why. If they simply want you to prove yourself for a little while before bumping your salary, have them put a date for when you will be reviewed and offered a "salary adjustment" that matches your responsibilities. It's common to ask to be reviewed in 3 months.​

Make sure to put clear metrics for what would warrant a salary adjustment. Be as detailed and specific as possible. The challenge here is that there's no way of knowing for sure if you will get a pay increase and it should not be the influencing factor in your decision making process.

If the employer won't budge because it's not in the budget, it's worth digging deeper. Should you be worried? Will they ever be able to get you closer to market rate? If they're not generous on compensation, are they generous in other areas? There are more reasons to take a job than compensation and it's important to align your expectations during this interview process."

Published on: Oct 31, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.