job negotiationsYou’ve been in search of that next great job for months now and finally an offer comes through! Are you feeling excited…or more anxious? For many, particularly women, we take the offer that’s presented at face value and NEVER even consider negotiating!

I know – I’ve been there. I’ve learned a few things along the way and thought I’d share some lessons learned. Hopefully, you can find them useful and be ready for that next negotiation.

Start with a good foundation of knowledge about what the market will bear for the job. It’s not about how much you were paid in your last position – it’s about what the job in question is worth in the marketplace. Take time to speak to contacts you have in the industry and connect with recruiters to ask about salary ranges for your specific type of position.

Next, understand that your ability to negotiate depends what information the employer has & try to estimate its significance. Things like:

* Your most recent compensation

* How long they’ve been looking to fill this role

* Other candidates in the pipeline

* Your current employment situation…are you currently employed or been looking for a while?

* Flexibility in their salary ranges

With all that background in place, let me share some guiding principles in negotiating a new job offer:

* Do not negotiate until you have a firm offer.

* Avoid being the first to give a definite salary figure. Through your research and asking questions of the recruiter, find out a range and state your preferred “salary range”. Expect a salary reasonable based on your experience and market conditions.

* Be cautious if a more modest offer includes a large signing bonus. That may be a sign that the base salary is not negotiable.

* Avoid ultimatums and instead reaffirm your interest in the job, express gratitude for the offer, then highlight your concerns with a question.  For example: I’m thrilled about the opportunity to join this team and make a contribution to its success, but I have one concern. The salary is a bit lower than I hoped it would be. (then be quiet for about 30 seconds…may feel like an hour).  The other person is also uncomfortable with the silence and will often fill the dead air by asking you want you expected or indicate they they will go back and see if any adjustments can be made.

* Never bluff. Stretching the truth on past/current salary amounts can come back and bite you – big time!

* Get the final offer in writing to avoid any misunderstandings and before you wind down your search process.

* Never accept an offer on the spot.

* The employer will view you as a prudent decision maker.

* It prevents you from selling yourself short – once you’ve accepted an offer, there’s no room for further negotiation.

Of course there are other things besides salary that can be negotiated.  Here are a few other factors to keep on the table:

* Signing Bonus, Paid Time Off (PTO), Individual Performance Bonus, Flexible Work Hours, Company Performance Bonus, Working from Home, Tuition Reimbursement/Certification Funcding, Parking/Transportation Subsidy

Finally, remember the negotiating begins the minute to step into an interview. That’s when you start to build value for your candidacy. The more value you’ve built during the interview process, the more leverage you’ll have when it’s time to negotiate!


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