Negotiation Strategies

All of your job search efforts to date – networking, applying to positions, training and interviewing – has landed you an offer. How can you leverage the offer to get the maximum benefit of the new position? There are many areas to negotiate in an offer beyond salary. Consider the following strategies to get what you want. GOOD LUCK!

Never negotiate in an interview. Why? The interviewer holds all of the power during an interview, but when an offer is made the power shifts to the applicant. Take that power. Ask questions and gather offer details such as salary, benefits (monthly and deductible costs), PTO (vacation/sick), holidays offered, and bonus structures. Tell them you want to review the information and will get back to them the next day, or that you’d like to think about it over the weekend. This will allow you time to determine if the standing offer meets your expectations. Use your leverage and make them wait.

There are many areas of negotiation to consider. Here are a few options you may decide to use.

  • Salary: When a recruiter asks your salary expectation, first ask what is in the budget for the position. This may help define your response, then provide a range. Note, the range should be something you can live with, so do your research and be strategic with your answer. When discussing actual numbers, make sure you work in collaboration with the recruiter to find a way to make it work. Often times they cannot approve salary changes and will need to communicate with department managers to learn of wage funds available.

  • Bonuses: If you are fortunate to have the opportunity to incorporate a bonus into your offer, congratulations. If not, maybe you can. Bonus discussions center on individual, team and/or department successes. Clarify criteria, frequency, and rate (percentage of salary or flat amount). Some candidates may try to negotiate a signing bonus if the salary range is lower than expected.

  • Benefits: Medical benefits are ranked high on most applicants’ lists and there are negotiation options to consider. This is especially true if salary negotiations did not provide a high enough rate. Most healthcare plans require monthly payments and deductibles, and maybe you can negotiate to have the employer cover or contribute towards them, saving you monthly expenses. I have known candidates that did not need healthcare benefits and negotiated the employer’s monthly contribution into their salary.

  • Vacation: Negotiating for more vacation time is an easy get, because it doesn’t cost the company any more money. You may end up with an extra week or even a few more days. You can also negotiate when you have access to vacation time, which oftentimes is contingent upon the completion of probationary periods. If you have a vacation slated within the next six months after your date of hire, this is the time to bring it up.

  • Start Date: Candidates negotiate start date for a few reasons, to allow time to get prepared before the first day, or maybe a summer vacation is planned, while others select a date a week or so out to allow time for other potential offers to come through.

For active Dislocated Worker Program clients looking for additional negotiation strategies, consider attending one of our workshops! Register for an Upcoming Workshop HERE!


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