Negotiating Salaries and Job Offers

crop businessman giving contract to woman to sign

Navigating negotiations can be a daunting task. When job hunting or accepting a job offer, there are many things to consider. Salaries, benefits, and other aspects such as remote work can all be part of a job offer package. Some people might be tempted to just accept the terms given, but you can negotiate many aspects of a job offer other than just salary. Recently, I took a useful and informative MBA class called Negotiation Strategies. In this course I learned some helpful tips and tricks about negotiations and ways you can get the most out of a job offer that I have compiled to share with you in this article.

Surprisingly, many people do NOT negotiate their salary or job offer. This could be for a variety of reasons. First, many people don’t know it’s an option! Additionally, some individuals don’t know what they are worth and are hesitant to advocate for more. To combat this, do some homework! Use tools like Glassdoor or LinkedIn to look at comparable positions and compensations. Completing this step will help you feel more confident when negotiating. There are also individuals who are uncomfortable negotiating with a potential employer and are afraid of appearing greedy. However, you won’t appear greedy, especially if you can explain “why” you deserve more and back it up with the market research. In fact, most companies will leave room in the initial offer and expect you to negotiate. Finally, some people are afraid that a company may rescind an offer if they negotiate. However, it is rare that a company will rescind an offer simply because you tried to negotiate for a better package. This only happens when candidates are too demanding, rude, or not considerate of the employer. No matter what the reason, it’s okay and often expected that you will try to negotiate.

There are many things you can do to prepare for a salary negotiation. People tend to find job negotiations difficult, especially because people tend to closely associate salary with their self-worth. As mentioned earlier, doing your homework is important. Knowing your worth and conducting market research can make you feel more secure in your dealings with a new company. Also, many companies expect you to negotiate, so they often do not start with their best offer. Realize that there is most likely some wiggle room in any offer.

Be aware that salary is not the only aspect that you can negotiate. Many offers will include a vague description of the company’s benefits. First, ask for a detailed description of the benefits. Comparing differences in 401k plans, health plans, vacation time, retirement benefits, relocation expenses, and other items can make a big difference when comparing offers from different companies. Finally, if all else fails and the employer won’t budge on salary or other benefits, realize that you could ask for an expediated review after starting at the company. Make sure to get this in writing, but having an expediated review can help you get promoted faster. Overall, you should consider the entire package, and negotiate accordingly.

When job hunting, it is often good to try and solicit multiple job offers. This can help you to compare between offers and allows you to use them as leverage in negotiations. Even if you don’t have multiple offers, knowing the minimum compensation that you will accept as well as a desired salary range is important. Importantly, don’t be afraid to set your reservation point, or walk away point. Always make this decision prior to the negotiation so that you are less influenced by emotions in the moment. It is also important to keep in mind that you don’t need to accept the first offer that is given to you. Additionally, you can ask for more time to decide if you are unsure or are comparing between multiple offers.

People may be hesitant to negotiate out of fear of appearing greedy or ungrateful. However, it is okay to still try and negotiate for better terms. You might be wondering how to ask for more without appearing greedy. Luckily, there are steps you can take to put your best foot forward. After completing your market research, you should show your potential employer a list of compensation benefits for comparable jobs in similar companies. Additionally, always express enthusiasm for the job and express hesitancy for the parts of the offer that fall short or that are offered by other companies. Importantly, be sure to avoid personal needs and focus on the value that you will bring to the company. Some reasons that may not be good to bring up are things such as education loans, housing costs, or other debts. Instead, clearly articulate the value that you will bring and the unique skills and abilities that you offer.

A difficult situation that many job hunters find themselves in is when a company asks for salary expectations before an official offer is on the table. This could happen during an interview or early on in conversations about the role. Employers may ask this question to determine whether your expectations are in line with what they are able to pay. Alternatively, they may hope that you will undervalue yourself so that they can save money. When facing this situation, be cautious. Don’t overstate your salary requirements as it may be a reason that a potential employer may stop considering you for a position. If an employer insists that you provide salary expectations, there are a few ways to handle the situation. First, you could delay. Saying something such as “I would like to learn more about the position and how I can contribute to your team before discussing salary” can buy you more time and get you more information about the role. You could also ask for clarification and see if the company could provide a range for the role. Alternatively, you could give an industry average that is in line with your expectations. If the employer is insistent on a number, provide a realistic range based on your market research and desired compensation.

At any stage of your career, you can negotiate. Negotiating your salary is extremely important, and your starting salary can act kind of like an anchor. Things such as future raises, bonuses, and even retirement savings can all be influence by this initial amount. It is also important to note that there are gender differences in negotiations. Men initiate negotiations about four times as often as women. In fact, 20% of adult women say they never negotiate, even when it may be important. No matter the situation, negotiating from the start can help boost your career and get you the best offer available. There is a cost to not negotiating. Small initial differences in compensation can lead to big results later on. When you don’t negotiate, you risk losing out on large amounts of money over time.

Overall, knowing your worth and not being afraid to negotiate for yourself can lead to long term benefits. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and help your career along the way.

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