Whether you're negotiating on the phone, via email, or in-person, good preparation is essential.
Don't rush. If the other party is in a hurry, say that you have to discuss it with those close to you. It is courteous to provide your prospective employer with a timeline (i.e., 48 hours to get back to them). Use the time to prepare.
Is there a faculty association or union? If the answer is yes, you should contact them right away to get details on salary, benefits, and other things you may be entitled to through the collective agreement (i.e, moving expenses, rank, credit for academic years served at another institution, etc.). They should be able to help you understand your offer and ensure that it is a fair one in relation to the position and your qualifications. We can't stress this strongly enough - contact your bargaining unit.
Prepare yourself and your space. If you're nervous about negotiating, do what you need to do to make yourself more comfortable. Negotiating over the phone? Make sure you're somewhere quiet where you can focus on the conversation. If you have questions about the offer, write them down. Make a list of points you consider negotiable and how you'll bring them up in the conversation.
What's on your list? The main focus is typically salary, but there are other things on the table! Differentiate between ongoing and one-time costs. Can't move on salary - what about start-up funds or support for a project that will ultimately advance your career? Does the start date work for you? Are there major responsibilities in the offer letter that weren't on the job ad or mentioned during the interview? Again, speaking with your bargaining unit may help you immensely.
Still feeling a bit nervous? Remind yourself that you're the one with an offer. That's wonderful! Furthermore, these searches are time-consuming and expensive. The University Librarian/Dean may be under pressure to fill the position. You can take time to consider counteroffers too, but provide deadlines and don't leave the other party hanging. Get the elements of the new offer in writing.
It shouldn't be adversarial. If it is, you may have to consider whether or not this is really best for you. Negotiation should be a conversation. Ideally both parties should be comfortable with the agreement and ready to start the new working relationship from a place of mutual respect and shared goals. Consider the other party's point-of-view. But remember, a good employer understands the long-term benefits of having the best candidate walking through the door feeling valued and excited to be there.
* See the Tools page for additional practical advice and negotiating toolkits *