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SALARY NEGOTIATION can be a WIN-WIN! by Pat Goodwin

28 May Posted by in Blog Posts | Comments Off on SALARY NEGOTIATION can be a WIN-WIN! by Pat Goodwin


“If one person walks away feeling like they’ve lost or been forced to compromise it sets up a disempowering context for the rest of the relationship.”   Donn Lee Often salary negotiation is a tense or forceful conversation between the candidate and a HR representative or hiring manger.  It doesn’t have to be this way.  It should be a dialogue where both parties are well prepared to discuss the offer in a professional manner. As a candidate who is receiving the offer, there are steps you need to take in order to be in a strong negotiating position. Pre-Salary Discussion:

  1. Research the salary for the position being offered and know if your salary is in range, low or above normal.  It is helpful to know comparable salaries for your work and location in order to understand your worth.
  2. Evaluate your current or former salary amount, add in cost of health care insurance; any perks that may include cell phone, computer, car, expenses, bonus, commission, etc.
  3. If relocation is part of the compensation package, determine if the company will arrange and directly pay for relocation expenses.   Sometimes companies will give a lump sum to you for relocation expenses and that amount becomes taxable income.  If the company will not pay anything for relocating, your expenses for moving will be tax deductible.
  4. Have your total salary compensation in mind and what you want to make as a base salary will help better prepare you for the conversation.
  5. In any negotiating situation, you always need to know what your bottom line is and be willing to walk away if you can’t come to an agreement.

First Discussion about Total Compensation Package:

  1. When the company makes the offer, listen first, do not comment unless you are asked a question. This is not the time to start negotiating.  Get all of the information first.
  2. Make sure that you thank them for the offer, while this may seem trivial; its actual important etiquette to demonstrate.
  3. Inform the company that you would like to review the offer and request that it be put in writing.  Having the offer in writing eliminates any future disputes about compensations, benefits, and special considerations.
  4. Once the written offer has been received, consider any and all questions you have regarding one or more of the following: job responsibilities; job title; benefits; direct reports; company and manager expectations; start date; performance review date; vacation start date and length, travel accommodations, perks that include sign-on bonus; company computer, cell-phone, or car; mileage reimbursement, job related expenses, special considerations. Special consideration might be, for example: business class travel vs. coach; tuition reimbursement for higher education courses, training, or certification; day care provisions for employees working late hours, relocation expenses, etc.
  5. Be prepared as this may be the time that you may need to restate why you are a good fit based on your value and expertise.
  6. Keep in mind, the first offer is just that: a first offer.  This is the time to ask questions, voice concerns, discuss discrepancies, and clarify the compensation package details.  Remember being unemotional, calm, and polite are essential.
  7. If you require a different kind of package than what is being offered, let the negotiations begin,

The Actual Negotiation Process:

  1. It’s important to be clear about what you want for your base salary. Salary offer is typically made with a bi-monthly amount.  Make sure that this is an amount you can accept.  If not, when speaking with the company representative ask,” What flexibility do you have regarding the base salary?”  Be prepared to give them a counteroffer.
  2.  The company has a range in mind, but they often expect there will back and forth negotiating on the dollar amount.  Remember there often is give and take on this issue.  If there is no flexibility you may ask if they would consider giving you a sign-on bonus or an early performance review including compensation to bring your salary up to what you originally requested. Remember being unemotional, calm, and polite are essential.
  3. At that time, they will either do the following: immediately agree or deny your request: compromise to an amount; or perhaps state that they need more time and will get back to you.
  4. If your bottom line still has not been met by the time they get back to you, this may be the time to walk away.

In my experience in helping hundreds of clients negotiate their package, I have found that almost every company has flexibility.  I would encourage prospective applicants to make sure you really want the job being offered.  Remember that once the offer is made to you the power shifts to you.  So it is always important to be respectful and use common sense and go for the win-win.