The compensation package negotiation doesn’t start at the offer. It starts during the interview. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. When asked, “Why should we hire you?” (for example), a strategic answer might be, “I don’t yet know that you should, or that I would accept an offer. That’s why we’re both here. To gather more information and see if it’s a right fit.” Feeling desperate for the job? THEY DON’T KNOW THAT. (see Give/Get/Guard, chapter 3). Ask thoughtful questions that show you did your homework and that you are discerning.