Getting the job is only the first step! Once an employer has made you an offer, you are now in the tricky position of negotiating your salary, hours, benefits, and other essential elements of your new position. What is the best way to make sure that your financial needs are met? What are some negotiating tips? How can you make sure your negotiations won’t cause any problems once you start the job?
We spoke with some experts in the employment industry to find out.
One of the best ways to negotiate salary is to give them your salary request and if it’s too high for the employer, tell them you are flexible and can, instead of working full-time, work less hours for what they offer. The negotiations usually meet in the middle at 75% of what your salary request for 75% working hours.
They are usually OK with this approach, they don’t go over budget, and can still use your skills that they recruited you for. I’ve used this technique three times in the last 18 months and the employer has been fine with it.
I then use my remaining time to blog, educate myself or take on smaller projects, which in the long run brings in more money than my initial salary request.
1) Show confidence when negotiating and by stating a salary range. This range can be slightly higher than you think they will pay. (You can always come down in price later if you have to.)
2) Do not jump on the first offer they give you. Take some time, think it over. And…
3) Determine which parts you think are negotiable. Sometimes if the salary range isn’t as flexible, vacation time or telecommuting may be. Figure out what’s important to you.
4) Never, ever bring your needs into a verbal discussion with the negotiator. If you are saying you want more money than they have proposed, tell them how you will contribute to the bottom line. What do you do that will make you an indispensable part of the organization and help them grow? The company doesn’t care if your kids go to private school or paying for your grandmother’s home care. They do care about what kind of employee you will be and how you will make them more money.
Jill L. Ferguson
Raise Rules for Women: How to Make More Money At Work (with Laura C. Browne)
I’ve consulted on thousands of hires, and my favorite strategies for salary negotiations after a job offer are:
1) Be ready with a list of your accomplishment, all the reasons why you’ve earned the figure you want. (This is much more important than why you NEED that amount, which is what most people stress. Though the clear implication may be that if that can’t they come close to the amount, they
may not get you.) If you can assign a dollar value, how much the accomplishments on that list have earned or saved your former company, so much the better.
2) What additional benefits do you bring to the this particular company? And almost as important, you should able to show a benefit to your boss, the one who probably recommends (or doesn’t recommend) the salary figure. How are you going to advance the interests of the company and the interests of your boss?
3) And remember, the first offer is just that: a first offer. Come back with a polite counter offer: “I was really thinking in terms of X dollars, boss.” Then you can settle on something between the two.
Before you do any of that though, ask yourself the following question, “Do I believe I deserve this money strongly enough that I can create a case that should convince my boss?” If you can’t convince yourself, you’ll never convince your boss.
Of course, business being business, you’re not always going to get the salary you want. When that happens, if possible politely and respectfully ask your potential new boss (rather than the HR person) if you can sit down together and determine what specifically you need to do in order to earn the raise in the future. Try to work out deliverables that are as specific as possible and try to pin down a time frame. Take notes, let your new boss see that you’re taking notes, and if possible work up something in writing you can both agree to. Ask for his or her help in achieving those deliverables. Then report your progress regularly. Once you’ve met those specific goals, it will be very difficult for your boss not to grant your raise or at the very least fight for it.
Consultant, Author, Speaker
Employers try so hard to get candidates to negotiate before they even have the job, but it is critical to wait until after you have been offered the job. It is only once you have the job offer that the individual has the POWER. Hold on to that power until have the employment package that is fair market and meets your needs.
I recommend that first you step away and review the entire package. Say something like “Thank you so much for the job offer. I look forward to working with you but I need time to review the entire employment package before I can give an informed response.” This does three things: 1) by starting with acknowledgement of the excitement and gratitude of the job offer you are eliminating the backlash that may be experienced for negotiation, 2) gives you time to be excited and enjoy the job offer and 3) allows you to truly understand medical, vacation, and all the benefits. All of those elements impact how appropriate the salary is. For example, $50,000 from a company paying 80% of the health insurance premium looks much better than $50,000 from a company paying 60% of the premium. Ask to sit down with HR to review any items that are still unclear. Also, be aware that negotiation is expected. Yes, we try to minimize any potential backlash for negotiation but at the same time 95% of human resource professionals are open to negotiation. It’s an expected part of the entire hiring process.
While reviewing the employment package, ensure the salary is within the appropriate salary range. Don’t focus on what you can live on. Focus on what the market value is. You wouldn’t pay more for a steak dinner just because you can afford it so why should you be paid less just because you know how to live on less. Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, and Payscale.com are just a few of the salary research web sites that exist. Also, be aware that the first salary offer is never the best salary offer. Remember 95% of professionals are open to negotiation so they need to keep some money available for the negotiation. There is more money available.
When you call (not email) the manager back (yes, you will negotiate with the manager and not HR), reiterate that you are thrilled with the job offer but there are some items in the employment package that are of concern. Salary, flex schedules, and relocation are the three items most negotiable but include any aspect of the employment package that is of concern. Actually, make sure you include things that you are happy to negotiate away in exchange for something else. For example, always state that the “based on your research the salary was lower than expected.” Then include any other items such as 2 weeks vacation is low for someone at this level; in this industry it is critical to attend the XYZ conference so I would expect the company to cover that; signing bonus; annual bonus; telecommuting 2 days a week; and more. Do not create a laundry list that never ends but 4 or 5 items is very reasonable. Then stay quiet after you make such a statement. Give the manager time to digest and to make a counter. You may get a response of “let me see what I can do” or specific responses to each line item. You need to expect “No.” It’s not negotiations if you get a “Yes” right off the bat. That would be an approved request. You may be lucky enough to experience that. Wait until you get some kind of response with numbers. Acknowledge the manager’s willingness to work with you on the complete package and then state what is acceptable, what is still not right, and what if anything you are willing to exchange in order to make headway on the items that are still not right.
At the end when you have what you want and deserve accept the offer by saying something like “it looks like we have an agreement. I just need to see the revised job offer letter but if all is how we discussed I will be able to sign the letter.” Then reiterate how excited you are to work with your new manager at this great company. Make sure you get everything in writing before you give the definitive Yes.
Founder, Equal Pay Negotiations
We work with job seekers on a regular basis helping them identify the best career path and what steps they need to take to be successful during the job search process. When negotiating salary job seekers need to keep in mind these five easy steps:
1. Ask if salary is negotiable, but be mindful of the how you ask this question. Professionalism is vital. Be prepared to hear no; not all companies, sectors or industries allow for negotiations.
2. If salary is negotiable, ask what factors the employer considers viable.
3. Substantiate/justify your desired salary by identifying how you fit the requirements of the position.
4. Identify your qualifications and research to explain your reasoning for negotiating.
5. Want vs. need. You must first identify what you need; your bottom line. Then you can establish what you want. Be realistic and be prepared to walk away from an opportunity if your bottom line is not met.
1. Use data not emotions or hunches – Walking in and stating that you deserve X because your family needs it to keep up to the standard of living won’t help you get the salary you’re looking for and may very well lose you the opportunity. Instead, use data that assesses exactly why you need the salary you are asking for. Research comparables for average salary in the same area and be ready to share these statistics. Remember, the individual you are negotiating with often has more experience in negotiating than you have. Having the data and facts available makes your argument.
2. Know what your absolutes are. No less than… – When walking into the meeting, know exactly what the minimum is that you are looking for in a salary. In the heat of the moment, you may be less prone to stick to your guns. Have a minimum salary number and stick with it. Your time for negotiation is before you sign the contract.
Polachi Access Executive SearchHow to Negotiate a Salary Once You've Been Offered a Position by Andrew Ostler