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Seven Tips for Negotiating Your Employment Package

Seven Tips for Negotiating Your Employment Package

Negotiating a job offer should be a non-confrontational, business-focused discussion for two parties to reach the same goal – a happy hire. However, our fear of rejection or potential conflict often gets in the way of rewarding, win-win conversations.

Successful negotiators view the process as collaboration, not conflict. They listen to the employer’s needs and recommend outcomes that benefit both parties. They build relationships and never give ultimatums.

Seven Tips for Negotiating Your Employment Package

Strategic jobseekers understand that the negotiation is the first of many relationship-building conversations they’ll have with their future employer. Below are 7 key points to remember when negotiating your employment package.

Everyone is capable of negotiating.

Nobody is born knowing how to negotiate. It is a learned skill that is developed with experience. When negotiating your offer, remember that you’ve already been selected as the best candidate for the job. This gives you leverage. So, the employer’s primary concern won’t be negotiating the least expensive compensation package. The focus will be on getting you to accept the job. Most employers invest a great deal of time and energy in the  interview process and are very reluctant to take a step backward when their number one candidate makes a good faith attempt to negotiate for more money.

Never ignore job openings because of perceived salary shortcomings.

In many cases, those who interview for positions that at first glance might appear too junior can build a great deal of value into their candidacy by discussing additional responsibilities they can handle within the position. In turn, this can help them to negotiate a better compensation package in the end. Always approach an opportunity like it is the job of your dreams.

While you don’t want to waste your time to get an offer if you just don’t think the job is right for you, many people drop out of the running too early in the interview process because they don’t want to be in a position where they have to turn an offer down.

Continue to interview for all but the most unlikely positions until you get the job offer.

It’s okay to walk away if, after the negotiations, the job still isn’t a good fit for you. In addition, statistics show that one out of every two jobs in this decade and the next will be newly created positions. This allows candidates to work to design their own positions with employers throughout the interview and offer process.

Surveys suggest that 85-90% of hiring managers do not make their best offer first.

The employer begins the negotiation process knowing how much money is budgeted for the position and how much flexibility they have to make the offer. They also know how long they’ve been looking and how competitive the job market is for someone with your abilities. These factors influence what they offer initially. They want to have some wiggle room because they know the candidate may negotiate. By starting low, they build in flexibility for the negotiation process.

Counteroffers are generally 10-15% above the original offer.

Again, employers know they may need to negotiate, so it’s reasonable to assume that there’s flexibility built in to the initial offer. Employers expect you to negotiate. In addition to the financial rewards associated with salary negotiation, you will gain the respect of the hiring manager and increase your credibility within the organization.

Negotiation starts the moment you submit your resume and continues during the interview process.

Don’t sell yourself at one level and then expect an offer for a higher level. During the interview process, start building the relationship with the employer and showcasing your value as a candidate. Once you’ve built maximum value, you’ll have the leverage to negotiate the best compensation package possible.

It’s reasonable to request up to one week to make your decision.

As a matter of fact, you should never accept a position on the spot. You want the employer to view you as a prudent decision-maker, and you want them to understand that you don’t rush into big decisions. Express your excitement regarding the offer, but allow yourself some time to think about the level of responsibility within the position and the associated  compensation. Make sure you have time to review the offer and determine what points you may want to negotiate.

Always get the offer in writing.

Because of the high frequency of mergers, acquisitions, and downsizings, it’s important to get terms of employment in writing. Find out if the company routinely provides new hires with employment contracts. If this is not offered, use a confirmation letter to spell out the terms you have agreed to accept. During the negotiation process, use a follow up memo after each discussion. This gives you more control over the final agreement.

These seven tips remind candidates that the negotiation process reinforces individual empowerment and group cooperation. In framing negotiation as a step toward consensus building, and understanding the psychology behind the exchange, candidates can improve their bargaining power and begin new employment on a positive note.

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