You finally heard the great news – you got the job. But don’t accept just yet! Read below for some tips (and scripts) on deciding what you need to negotiate and how to get what you are worth.
A job search can feel like a ride on the twistiest and turniest of rollercoasters with all of its ups and downs so when that coveted job offer comes we just want to shout “YES” into the phone before they have even finished going over the details.
I see a lot of people whose self-esteem has taken a big hit while looking for a new job, especially if they have been laid off or stuck in a toxic or unfulfilling job. So having someone essentially say – “it’s you that I want” has us saying yes without thinking it through.
A job search is like dating. On a job search, you have a lot of crappy “first dates” followed by long periods sitting by the phone willing that “suitor” to just give you a call. But still, if just anyone asked you to marry them would you say yes without hesitation? Probably not!
Now, I know, it is different and not every job offer needs to be negotiated BUT every job offer needs to be thought through. And me being me, I have a plan for what you should do when that offer does come in.
Before the Offer
Do your research! Especially on the salary. There are so many sites now that offer salary insights like Payscale, Glassdoor, Indeed Pay. Try to narrow it down as best you can to the job, location and industry as those are all major factors.
Look back over any notes from previous conversations and interviews, did you discuss salary previously? What did you say you wanted, what did they say was the range? Did they talk about a total compensation plan (base + bonus), did you mention your salary history (base + bonus)? Also keep in mind extras, like did you have a car allowance? Do they?
Think beyond the pay cheque as well. Is there anything else that is important to you like vacation or working from home? Make a list of things you would ideally like to see in an offer, now you may not get all of them but it allows you to prioritize letting you know what you should fight for.
Do some research on you too. Go through the critical priorities they may have mentioned throughout the interview process (the main reason why they would be hiring you for) or the key skills that they are looking for. Think about how you would get them to where they want to be and how what you bring to the table in terms of skills, knowledge and experience they can’t get anywhere else.
Typically the offer process starts with a verbal offer. This comes over the phone and depending on the company or situation will come from the Recruiter (agency or corporate) or the Hiring Manager. Most of the time they go through the key details – job title, salary, vacation time, benefits. Rarely do they discuss the extras like benefit details (exact coverage), pension, education reimbursement, etc. Typically at the end of the call they want a verbal yes or no.
If they are putting their best foot forward in terms of salary offered, or the salary that was already agreed upon you should say this:
“I am excited about the prospect of joining the team. I would obviously love to see the contract, but I don’t anticipate any issues if what is written down matches what you are presenting although having some time to review will be appreciated.”
If the salary isn’t what you would expect you should say this:
“I am excited to hear such great news and while seeing an offer in writing is necessary, I do feel that we need to discuss the compensation further.”
Some organizations want the salary completely ironed out before submitting a formal written offer, some will send the written offer over just after delivering the verbal. Either way, if the salary isn’t want you want you would state something similar to the above as a way to open up the door to negotiation.
Once you have the written offer in hand take a look at the whole thing in terms of value to you, your bank account and your work/life balance. Pick 1-2 things to negotiate, the ones that are most important to you.
One thing to note, you can’t just expect them to say. Oh yes, you are right here is another $10k added to your salary. You need to show them your value and your worth.
The Salary Negotiation – Your Value
Always start this part off by thanking them again for the offer and by reiterating your excitement to join the team and organization. Then jump into your value. Talk about 1-2 of those critical priorities (for examples revamping a process, building a team, increasing sales) or skills (technical, job specific, interpersonal) and talk about how you can’t wait to jump in and have an impact/make a difference. Revisit a story you may have told them in your interview, or tell them the outline of the plan you have already created to make that difference. Mention how they as an organization can support you by setting you up for success through recognizing your value at this stage (in terms of salary).
How to move on from this depends on you and the company. You may want to give a number or they may want to step away and think about it. In my opinion, you want to give a number as it gives you more control. That number, though, is rooted in the research above, it is not plucked from the air! They will come back with a counter offer and you would either accept or give your own counter offer.
Beyond the Salary:
In the article 17 benefits that I contributed to I spoke about how to negotiate for Flexible Work Schedules but there are many other things that you should think about!
I’ve worked in corporate HR and supported corporate HR for the better part of 15 years and honestly vacation is one of the toughest things to negotiate. The reason why is the policy, the current vacation landscape of the team and the precedent it could set. The best way to negotiate is to match your current vacation.
“Currently I have 4 weeks of vacation and with a young family/love of travel, I value that time to get out to fully recharge. Honestly, some of my best ideas/work comes after a vacation! So keeping that 4 weeks is crucial for me and my success.”
2. Education Reimbursement:
Education Reimbursement saves you thousands of dollars a year while giving you valuable knowledge and beefs up your skills, resume and marketability. You may be able to negotiate an MBA which could save you $25k/year.
“Down the line, some further courses within this field could go a long way to build upon the knowledge I have acquired and so I was wondering if you have an education and training plan in place for this role?”
If they do not
“To me, a company can show that they invest in and value their employees if they were to provide tuition and book reimbursement. I want to be set up to exceed expectations not just today but in the future as well and furthering my education will be a factor in that.”
3. Membership Dues and Fees:
This is something that always goes ignored, especially for people joining organizations in an entry level job. Having them cover your membership dues and fees will save you around $1k/year and it gives you more credibility and keeps you active in your industry making a job search down the line much easier, all on the company's dime!
“I know how valuable being an active member within a professional association (Engineering, Procurement, HR, etc) is as it goes a long way to build up my network and credibility within an industry on top of being kept up to date on the latest trends, laws and technology. To be successful in this role, a person should be an active member, it may even be critical to the success of the role. Based on that, I feel that having my dues and fees covered 100% makes sense as part of the offer.”
4. Work from Home
Working from home is practically priceless, never mind the commuting dollars and time it saves you, especially here in the GTA. Finding a work/life balance these days is tough and in my opinion, the best way to find it is through making your work schedule work for your life. There is nothing worse than feeling chained to your desk and being able to negotiate to have a few of those work days at home will be game changing.
“The first 3-6 months in a new role it is critical to be in the office during normal business hours so that I can build relationships within the team and learn the business inside and out. But once I’m fully acclimated I would appreciate the ability to work from home. The loss of my commute would only mean more energy and time that I could dedicate. Plus, it would allow me the ability to focus 100% on a task without any interruptions. To save the company money on space and supplies, I would even be open to a desk share with a colleague.”
If you have experience working from home in a previous role, talk about how productive you were and the value it allowed you to have.
The Art of Negotiation is really hard for most people, but I hope that this article will give you the confidence to know your worth, ask for your worth and ultimately get your worth.
Having trouble getting that offer? Well maybe I can help with that!
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Finding it tough to find that Hidden Job Market through networking or selling yourself in an interview – I can help you CREATE CONNECTIONS
Need help with it all, from start to finish – I can help you FIND YOUR WAY.
Sara Curto helps people find a career they love by teaching them a new way to job search.
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