Handling the Offer
“By Maura Pallera, Salary.com”
You just received that job offer and the salary isn’t exactly what you hoped for. But starting salaries depend on a number of factors including the size of the prospective employer and their current level of success, your professional level, your previous work experience, and the particular skills you bring to the job. Remember too that your salary represents only part of the overall compensation package. Employers may not be willing to make adjustments in base pay, but you may be able to negotiate some benefits to help make up the difference.
Before beginning a negotiation, you must:
Know the Market – Do some research on salaries for the job you are being hired to perform. An excellent source is the
Salary Wizard®. Be careful to find a similar job in the same geographical area, industry and company size. This will give you a general idea of whether the salary amount offered is reasonable.
Show interest – If you appear interested in the position, company and industry, an employer is more likely to give you what you want.
Think beyond salary – If an employer cannot meet your salary request, think about negotiating for other items in your compensation package.
Some benefits are standard for all employees, but some are more open to negotiation. Rather than ask for more of everything, focus on what you might actually be able to get.
This is a one time only cash payment made on the first day of employment. These types of awards are often given to attract candidates to positions that are hard to fill. If you can show a gap between market pay and what you are being offered, you may be able to convince your potential employer that an initial cash award is deserved.
Most companies offer two weeks of vacation time to start. Negotiating for an extra week off is not uncommon and is often likely to be granted. It is particularly helpful if you can show that you earned more than two weeks vacation at your previous employer. Additional time off could also help narrow the pay gap if you consider your base salary to be on the low side.
An Early Review
Most companies conduct annual reviews for their staff. If you negotiate an initial review in 6 months, your salary increase will start 6 months earlier than the norm. This is a reasonable compromise to settle a negotiation over a salary offer that is lower than you would like it to be. It also shows the employer that you are interested in proving yourself to be worthy of a higher rate of pay and are willing to prove it.
If a new position requires you to relocate, do some research on the actual costs associated with your move and present them to your potential employer. Salary.com’s Cost of Living Wizard® provides you with much of the additional information you need to illustrate these types of expenses.
Oftentimes, flexibility in work schedules are a reasonable trade off to higher pay. If flexibility in the hours you work is important to you, ask about coming in and leaving early in order to meet family obligations, request a schedule of 4 ten hour days, or ask if you can telecommute one or more days per week.
As you approach these negotiations, be aware that a prospective employer may withdraw an offer if it feels that your requests are excessive and not in line with what the company can offer. Any negotiation should be approached in a professional and reasonable manner. Equipping yourself with research done beforehand ensures your requests will more likely be considered.