Question: Are you the type to accept the offer without ever considering a better option? Or do you think negotiating is something for someone else, or people who only have certain types of jobs, earn a certain salary or hold a specific role? If you are thinking that you aren't eligible to negotiate your salary, then think again. Everyone should be eligible to negotiate the terms of their employment. Whether you are hourly or salaried, if the organization doesn't say that the offer is firm and final...then it's fair game and you should ask. But before you ask, make sure you do the research so your request doesn't fall flat and you have an opportunity to walk away with your needs met in the end.
So, a couple of things I'd like to point out (in no particular order)...but before I begin, my DISCLAIMER is every organization is different. I can not and do not guarantee that the company you apply to will consent to negotiating salary, pay or any of the benefits offered. While most companies do, unfortunately some may not. I am sharing with you my experience using the tools/resources listed below, and tips based on my trial, error and success with negotiations.
Sorry...but I don't want anyone reading this and walking away thinking that I promised them some magic or secret sauce. There is no magic other than you...and you are all the sauce!!
With that said, these are some tips to consider in your negotiating efforts.
1. Do your research - A simple Google search for "salary comparison" or "salary" should return a number of sites that will provide you with salary comparisons for a particular role. One of my favorites is Glassdoor.com. Glassdoor provides a number of job titles to both review and ultimately apply for. Glassdoor provides the top and bottom salary amounts, based on inputs collected from people who are currently in those roles as well as inputs from companies hiring for those roles. However, Indeed.com, Salary.com and others, are great sites to conduct salary comparisons as well. Researching gives you a bit of an edge in the negotiating game. Knowing the average salary helps you to identify your starting point and also lets you know if the salary being offered is at, below or above the industry and market standard.
2. Base Salary vs. Total Compensation - Do you know the difference? If you don't, you need to. But just in case...let's break this down. Base Salary is basically the dollar amount that makes up your annual salary. Your taxable income. Total Compensation (TC) = Base Salary + Benefits + Additional Value. So, Total Comp will include your base salary, health benefits, retirement benefits and any additional value that your company might offer. Those might be other options like daycare or afterschool programs, tuition reimbursement, guaranteed bonus or incentive pay, fitness or discount memberships, paid time off, holiday and vacation pay and employee stock options. All of this is totaled up and included as part of the total compensation number. So your base salary could be $60K, but with the additional items, your total compensation is $75K. Here is where you have room to negotiate. You may not require or want the additional value. If your organization allows you to refuse any of these items, (and again if the terms are not firm), you may have room to negotiate those items off the table. These are options to consider and not
Know Your Numbers - The primary purpose for negotiating is to make sure you get a salary that is both livable and desirable. So it's important that you know what that means to you. Livable in the sense that you are comfortably able to take care of yourself and your family if applicable, and desirable meaning it's the salary you want and as close to what you believe you are worth as possible. This is another reason that sites like Glassdoor.com come in handy. That research will lend itself to you discussing and presenting your salary requirements.
Get It ALL In Writing - The actual and final offer needs to be in writing to be valid. A verbal offer does nothing and won't be acknowledged or honored by HR. The written offer letter will outline the conditions of your employment, your base salary, total compensation, benefits and other additional value items including vacation, holiday and Paid Time Off (PTO). It will also mention your corporate title if applicable, your job title and your job level or band. Depending on the organization, the conditions of the offer will be discussed prior to the actual offer being presented.
Don't Respond Immediately - Once you actually receive the offer of employment, resist the urge to offer a response as soon as you hear the offer... even if you know you're going to accept it. Give yourself a moment to mull it over a bit. Allow yourself a day or two, to talk it over with your family or someone you trust to help you read through the details and make sure it's exactly what you discussed with the hiring team. Check and check it again. Confirm everything that was discussed and agreed upon in conversation was captured in the offer itself. Make sure you understand all of the conditions related to receiving the benefits and incentives. Employers typically don't have an issue with you requesting a moment to review an offer before making it final.
The final offer will also include your start date. So if you're able to reach an agreement that makes you happy, congratulations to you for a job well done!!
Most companies are expecting salaries to be negotiated. They come into the discussion with a budget and far too often, there is money left over because most employees leave money on the table. My kids have never returned my change...neither should you.
Ask for what you want. Be your own magic. You have permission.
RIf you're preparing for an interview and want to bounce some ideas off someone in a safe space, or need some tips for your resume and would like to work with me, consider scheduling an consultation with me for the Resume reBrand. You can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck...and as always...these are absolutely my thoughts!