The best part of the job search process is receiving the job offer. Typically what happens is the excitement overwhelms the senses and you’re tempted just to accept whatever terms are offered.
This is not a good situation!
The reason why businesses exist is to make money, and with that understanding it’s reasonable to also assume a business seeks to pay the minimum amount to acquire maximum talent. Just because a business calls with an offer doesn’t mean that offer is ironclad. There is always room to negotiate and a responsible candidate will negotiate the terms of the offer.
Think about it: When buying a house or a car, you’ll negotiate the price down, so why not use the same logic and negotiate a job offer?
Before you embark on the negotiation, you need to understand a few principles that will maximize your leverage at the table. Once you understand what to negotiate and how to be effective at it, job offers will still be exciting and fun, but you’ll be in the optimal position to get the salary you deserve instead of the salary the business wants to provide.
Here are some tips to get the best salary for the position you’ve been offered.
Research the salary and marketplace: Before you even apply for the job, know what the average salary is for the position in the geographic area you’re looking to work in. For example, if the average corporate accountant in Dallas earns $75,000 and you’re offered $50,000, then you may have something to discuss with the hiring manager, especially if you have years of experience in the field.
Understand the benefits: When discussing the job offer, know exactly what benefits you’ll get and if they’ll cost you money. For example, if the company offers health insurance but it costs you $50 per paycheck, then you may use that fact to work on a salary increase. Also, inquire about the retirement programs. Perhaps you may be able to negotiate an increased contribution, especially if you are a little older and haven’t planned well for retirement. You could present an option to the company where you take less money upfront for greater contributions to a retirement account.
Make a list of priorities: For some people, traveling is the worst part of working. They’d rather have the stability of being home with family than constantly on the road. The benefit of prioritization is you can play one part of the offer against another. Take travel. Perhaps instead of traveling more, you’ll take a reduction in salary. Many companies want their employees to be comfortable and happy so it’s in their best interest to work with prospective employees at the time of the job offer to come to the best terms, ensuring a long-term relationship beneficial to both parties.
When you negotiate the terms of a job offer, your prospective employer understand that you’re an assertive person (remember assertive means advocating respectfully for your needs) that will be an asset to their company. Understanding salary, benefits, and your priorities is the key to getting the best compensation package and, ultimately, long-lasting satisfaction with your new job.