Summary: There is nothing to lose and plenty to gain by negotiating pay and working conditions before starting a new job, as long as you do it right. Here are 10 tips.
Somewhere in the job search process between interviewing and starting the job comes the salary and benefits negotiation. It is a much less formalized part of finding a new job, so many people miss out on the opportunity to leverage their skills and knowledge for better pay, working conditions, and benefits. A successful job negotiation can make a big difference on how you perceive your job down the road. Before you accept your new employer’s first offer, check out these job offer negotiation tips.
1) Pick Your Battles
You can, and should, negotiate for terms aside from money. Decide ahead of time what you value, like your work environment, hours, or the ability to work from home. If money isn’t your highest priority, then use your willingness to take a slightly lower salary to secure your other terms.
2) Negotiate with Confidence
The fact that you made it through the application and interview process means that the company likes what they see in you. The negotiation period is the time to show confidence that your job skills are exactly what what the company needs. Be confident as you bargain, but avoid being arrogant or off-putting.
3) Know the Job’s Market Value
There are plenty of web resources that list and compare salaries. Start by typing your new job title in your favorite search engine. Know the normal range of pay and benefits for your new position, so you will know when the company’s starting offer is low and you can come back with a reasonable counter offer. When you know the market, you can aim high without missing the company’s target and jeopardizing your new position.
4) Negotiate Periodic Raises and Reviews
Another tool in your negotiating tool belt is bargaining for additional review and raise periods. This can be especially helpful if your starting wage might come in a little lower than you wanted. It helps to know the raise and review structure of the company, so ask a current employee if you can. Otherwise, you might find the information with a quick Google search. If you know you are a strong performer with consistently excellent reviews, negotiating for an additional annual review will help you slide up the pay scale and realize your salary goals.
5) Moving Costs
Will you have to move for your new job? If so, bargain for some moving assistance. A move can easily cost a few thousand dollars in packing supplies, labor, and trucking, not to mention a down payment or deposit for your new residence. When negotiating your job offer, ask if the company will hire movers, pay for truck rental, or if they can at least help you out by securing discounted services from one of their vendors.
6) Ask, Then Listen
One important rule to negotiating is that you must listen. Ask for one of your terms, and then wait for them to answer. They might say yes, or they might counter your offer with an explanation. By listening, you might learn how to answer their position or their concern and then work in something more on your terms.
7) Give and Take
Negotiation is a give and take process, so, chances are, you are not going to get everything you want. Remind your new employer of the value you bring to them instead of simply presenting a list of demands. You might also get them to agree to more of your terms if you find out more of their needs and offer to help out in those areas. For example, you might negotiate a stronger position on your pay if you find out that the company needs more coverage on weekend shifts that you are willing to take.
8) Be Likable
Being likable is the universal skill that will springboard your career forward. Face it, someone is much more likely to go to battle for you if they like you, and chances are your new employer will have someone higher up who they have to answer to after you have signed your offer letter. Being likable is more than just being polite. It is being able to ask for more without coming across as greedy. It is winning hearts and managing perceptions.
9) Focus on Your Worth, Not What You Have Earned Before
It is important to note that you are not required to tell a prospective employer your salary at your previous position, especially if your research tells you that your were underpaid. Once they know a ballpark figure of what you were paid, it will be much tougher to negotiate your pay based on what you think you are worth rather than what they think you will accept. Enter job offer negotiations fully prepared to deflect the past pay question.
10) Get It on Paper
So you have scored your dream job and you negotiated for all of your highest priority terms. You do not want to show up to work on your first day only to discover your employer was actually uncomfortable on the terms and had to back out. Get your employment terms in writing before accepting the job. Many companies make this a standard practice, but if they don’t draft an offer letter to be signed, ask for one.
Just as important as knowing what to say is knowing what not to say, so study up by reading Avoid Saying These Things During Salary Negotiations.10 Ways to Negotiate a Job Offer Like a Pro by Cameron Griffin