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Posted: August 23, 2013

Top five tips for negotiating a great job package

Do it while the offer is hot

Shawna Simcik

Two of the biggest mistakes people make after a job offer is made:

  1. Basing their decision solely on annual salary
  2. Not negotiating

As the easiest and clearest variable to evaluate, salary is certainly important, but several other factors can impact you more in the long term, depending on your needs. For instance, flexibility to work at home might be more important to you than commanding a higher salary. Similarly, company benefits such as tuition reimbursement or career growth opportunities may carry a great deal of weight for you.

Before you are faced with the decision of taking a new position, consider the variables that are most important to you. Rate these on a scale from 1 to 5 and be prepared to discuss these options with the employer.  Here’s a short list to get you started:

Start date

Salary

Bonus

Location/Relocation

Vacation Time

Holidays

Title & Responsibilities

Salary Review

Severance Package

Profit Sharing/401K

Stock Options

Car or Car Allowance

Sick & Personal Day

Medical Insurance

Life Insurance

Non-compete Clause

Cell Phone

Training & Education

Profit Sharing/401K

Stock Options

Car or Car Allowance

Sick & Personal Day

Medical Insurance

Life Insurance

Non-compete Clause

Cell Phone

Training & Education

 

Once you have a good understanding of your “negotiable,” you might ask yourself, “when is it time to negotiate?” NOW! Negotiations are in process from your first contact until the company makes an offer. From the beginning you want to present yourself as the class of employee that deserves the compensation package you eventually want to receive.

Follow these top five recommendations for negotiating.

  1. As hard as it may seem, DO take the time to consider an offer. Many people take the first offer they hear with a gigantic sign of relief – the job search is over. It’s critical that you control your own sense of urgency in order to remain in the power position. You want to convince the employer that you have the time and flexibility to wait for the right job.
  1. Don’t talk about money too soon in the process. The first person to mention money invariably loses. Use the phrases, “I’m sure you have a range in mind, and I’d be happy to consider that,” or “I’m more interested in challenges and opportunities than I am in a specific salary. Besides, I’m sure this company offers competitive compensation packages, and we can discuss that when we both feel comfortable we can work together.”
  1. Do you research! What is the current value for this position in the market and in the industry? What are you worth based on your experience, knowledge and education?  Don’t let the employer tell you what is fair – do your research to know your value. If you are planning to relocate, make sure you have a good grasp of the cost of living and comparable salaries in your target location. What was a good salary in rural Iowa won’t make it in San Francisco.
  1. Don’t tell yourself, “I’ll get more later when they see how good I am.” This attitude sets you up for disappointment and creates resentment against your employer when they don’t offer you a raise within 30 days of “great” performance. There are times when you might want to accept a lower salary such as when you are radically changing career fields, and must start at a lower pay rate, or you have the opportunity to take on a highly visible job that will pay out in future self-marketing.
  1. Don’t abandon negotiations when you get uncomfortable. Many people don’t like negotiating because it makes them feel uneasy or they avoid the potential for conflict. Practice ahead of time to be prepared for the conversation and remember the worse that can happen is they say no. At least you asked.

Remember, negotiating is at least 50 percent about attitude. You are going to have to live with these people for at least 40 hours a week for the foreseeable future, so it is imperative that the negotiation process creates a positive relationship.

This doesn’t mean you should meekly accept anything that’s offered, but it does mean the negotiation process should be respectful. Be prepared, assertive and tactful. Seek a win-win solution that sets the stage for future success.

Shawna Simcik, MA, CMP is genuinely passionate about utilizing innovative resources and market knowledge to drive organizational, career and individual excellence. As President of Business Leadership for a fast-growing, certified Woman Owned Business, Shawna specializes in Executive Recruiting, Leadership Development and Career Transition. Reach her at. shawna.simcik@innovativecareerconsulting.com or ssimcik@oipartners.net.  To learn more, follow her at @shawna_icc or contact her at 303-865-4400. www.innovativecareerconsulting.com

 

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