When Is It Appropriate?
Let's face it. Most of us would rather face a Survivor
tribunal than negotiate salary. The temptation is to accept or reject
the offer as it is presented rather than to negotiate terms. But what if
you are given an offer by an organization that has truly impressed you,
that meets all of your needs except salary or benefits? If you accept
it, will you do it with no regrets or hard feelings, especially if it
means you have to share living quarters while your friends are working a
similar job in a similar location for more money? If you cannot answer
that question with a strong "yes," then it is probably time to
negotiate. Negotiation is easier if you remember that its purpose is to
reach an agreement. Consider it as a method to reach a situation that
both you and the employer feel good about.
Before You Negotiate
You need several pieces of information before you can negotiate
- How much does this position usually pay? To find out, you can
consult several sources.
- Our office's annual report information is available online
and provides salary information by major.
- We have salary information by major and job type available
in our office. This is published by the National Association of
Colleges and Employers and is compiled from information
furnished by colleges and universities across the nation.
- How much do you need to make?
- Start by considering costs in various locations which
- A good online site for this information is
homefair.com. You can use your present salary and budget
to discover how much you would need to make in another
location to live in a similar fashion. Another way to
research this is by looking at
- consult the classifieds of the city newspapers you are
- Develop a budget that includes reasonable living costs in
the new location, along with student loan payments, car
payments, reasonable clothing and entertainment expenses, and
money for savings.
- As a separate item, add moving costs. Information is
available at the above sites.
- What kind of benefits are important to you? Most people do not
receive all of these, so make a ranked list of those that are
essential and those you would like.
- Health, dental, optical, and life insurance?
- Paid vacation, sick leave, and holidays?
- Maternity/parental leave?
- Retirement plan?
- Profit-sharing plan or stock options?
- Performance bonuses?
- Annual salary review or cost-of-living increases?
- Child-care services or assistance?
- Company car or travel reimbursement?
- Education reimbursement?
- Fitness center availability or wellness program?
- Relocation expenses?
- Flex-time or unpaid leave time?
- Input into relocation decisions?
- Severance pay?
- What do you offer that will persuade an employer to negotiate?
These are points you should have made in your interview, but be able
to provide a summary in the negotiation process also.
The Job Offer
- When you receive an offer, express your
interest in the company and enthusiasm for the job. If the company
representative does not offer the information, ask about their
benefit package. Take notes. It is easier to have a written offer in
hand, but that is not always possible.
- Ask for at least 24 hours after receiving
the offer to make a decision, although you can ask for more if you
are interviewing with other organizations. Tell the recruiter your
career means a lot to you and you want to be very sure you are
making the right decision.
- After you have reviewed the offer carefully, decide which points
you would like to negotiate.
- Anticipate objections such as
- "You don't have enough experience."
- "The budget won't permit it."
- "That is the maximum we pay for this position."
- "That is what we pay new hires."
- Start with a positive statement about your appreciation of the
offer and interest in the position, then indicate that you were
hoping to receive at least (name your figure) in salary, or whatever
you are negotiating.
- If you have other offers at a higher figure, you can mention
them at this point, or use information from your research to back up
- Ask if your figure is a possibility.
- If the representative says it is not, ask if there are other
ways you can achieve your goal, such as company assistance with
housing or a car, an earlier salary review, a signing bonus, or
different options on benefits so you can take home more.
- Hopefully, the representative will be able to offer something
you can accept.
- Sometimes, the company policy is set and negotiation will not
work. Your answer should be ready because you have already
anticipated this. Either thank the representative for considering
you and express regret that you cannot accept the offer, or accept
the offer because of other things offered.
- Even if your negotiations do not succeed, you have learned an
important skill that will help you in the future.
More: Salary Information