The Final Step: Negotiating Your Salary

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You may have interviewed with numerous people at the firm and are confident this is the right fit for you.  And you are certain that they feel the same way.  Next comes the offer.  When the offer for this promising new position is presented you should remember that salary negotiation is a two-sided process.    Very few people actually enjoy the salary negotiation process but still expect to negotiate; come prepared.

You must research the salary for the position before the offer is made; know the range ahead of time.  There are many online resources you can look to, or simply ask during the initial phone screen.  Ask about the compensation range before the recruiter asks you what salary you are looking for, you don’t want to sell yourself short. AND you don’t want to waste your time if the compensation is significantly less than what you consider acceptable.  When a firm is determining compensation, remember that your past work experience isn’t the only detail that matters; the size of the company and the location of the firm are also factors in establishing salary.  All will play a part as the offered salary is determined.  If the salary presented is not within the range you were expecting, take this time to outline the data you have acquired and ask if the salary could be reconsidered.

For several reasons, a firm may not have a lot of negotiating room where the salary is concerned.  If the final salary figure is still not what you have been seeking, benefits may be a way to enhance your final package.

The first option is a signing bonus.  While this will not increase your salary, it will provide you with a one-time cash payment.  These are frequently offered to candidates being considered for hard-to-fill positions.  If you are asking for a hiring bonus you should provide details showing the gap between the offer being made and market pay.

Another negotiating tool is requesting an early review.  Asking to have your first review after only six (6) months of employment rather than a full year shows the employer you plan to demonstrate your value immediately.   Try to agree on specific, measurable goals that would lead to an increase in your salary; getting it in writing is ideal.  Also, within your first week try to nail down 3-5 objectives you’d like to accomplish within the first six (6) months of employment.

Sometimes additional benefits can help to make up for the lower salary.  Other benefits that could be discussed include extra vacation days or paid time-off.  Are they offering the same vacation time as your current position? Are relocation costs an issue?  Would a flexible work-schedule be an option?  Would they consider allowing you to work from home one or more days per week? Or work four 10-hour days?  These benefits may allow you to improve your quality of life even though the salary isn’t exactly what you were looking for.

It cannot be stressed enough that you arrive prepared to back up all of your requests with data.  You are at the finish line here: you like this firm and the firm likes you.  The salary negotiation process is the last step prior to employment; it should be a positive conversation for both sides.  You may find it helpful to practice your talking points with a good friend or a career coach, like BlueFire HR.

BlueFire HR offers Executive and Career Coaching and can assist you as you prepare to negotiate your best possible compensation package.  You can contact us at hr@bluefirehr.com or call us at 888.892.9597.

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