How to negotiate salary on a new job offer

This is it! You are invited back for a 3rd interview and feel confident that the job will be offered. Here are some tips to consider when the subject of salary is mentioned.

Before the meeting, do your homework on market data for the salary you can expect for the position. You can use one of my favorites – and make sure you use your zip code, city and state.

Let the interviewer mention salary first.

Try to find out as much as you can what the job actually entails; ie, overtime, travel, benefits. It’s to your benefit to know exactly what requirements and responsibilities will be expected in the position. Be confident of your strengths and achievements. Offer documented value of what you can bring to the job. Bring along a previous performance appraisal.

The interviewer or employer should make the first salary offer. If you are asked, say that you expect a competitive market value salary or you can give him/her a range that you find acceptable. Don’t be too aggressive in negotiating what you expected. An offer is an offer and you can say no.

You do NOT have to accept the first salary offer. If you feel it is inadequate or less than you desire, you CAN negotiate salary. Try to focus on the employer’s total compensation offer.

If the company offers excellent 401k, savings, insurance, wellness, bonuses, vacations, etc., you may want to take that into consideration in lieu of a higher salary. You may also negotiate extra vacation or extra personal or sick days or bonuses in lieu of salary.

Thank the employer for the offer when it is made, but don’t try to negotiate right after the offer is made. Ask for some time to think it over.

Salary negotiations is not a game or status to see how well you can do. Never inflate your current or previous earnings to try to get a higher offer. Human resource departments share this information with other companies and it is likely they already know what you are or were making. You should consider where the company is located, how they are doing (check out their annual report), what the turnover of employees is, travel time to and from work, working conditions, and what your title will be. A Vice-President in one company may be a Director or Manager in another company. Some may have offices but many have cubicles. Decide what is most important to you before the meeting.

If you find the offer acceptable either at that meeting or a subsequent one, ask for the offer in writing. Most companies supply them without asking, but inquire to make sure they do.

Good luck – I hope the job is the one you want and the salary, too!

Marie Coppola February 2011

Ref: Quintessential Careers