Congratulations, you’ve completed the interview process and received an offer! So are you happy with the offer and compensation package that you’ve been offered? For many candidates the answer is “No”. So how do you go about the stressful process of negotiating your compensation package? Well first, with some advance research it does not have to be stressful or even unpleasant process. The key is to know your value and what an appropriate compensation package should be for the position. If you’re working with a Recruiter they can help with the negotiations. A good Recruiter will have already researched the company know the position details prior to presenting candidates. At the very least they should already know the base salary and OTE (“on-target” earnings) values.
The most important point to remember is that negotiations should never become adversarial or contentious. The goal is to reach an agreement based on facts that meets your needs and those of the employer. Relying on facts and values helps remove the emotional element which often causes negotiations to fail. Employers have budgets to follow, revenue and margins to consider, and established values for specific positions. These are the facts on which their negotiations are based. The key is to show your potential employer that your value is higher than the value that they are offering.
So how do you determine what your compensation should be? Look at the current salary range for the position you are considering. You can use online tools to determine these salary ranges. Some of the better tools we’ve found are at Salary.Com, Simply Hired and Glassdoor. The other part is to determine the value that you bring to the position. This is based on past performance and experience. If you show that you’ve consistently exceeded quotas and increased sales that increases your value. Show them how their investment in you will result in increase sales and revenue to cover an increased compensation package.
Once you’ve done your research it’s time to set your goal and your priorities. Know what you want and let the employer know. Be willing to compromise based on the facts that are discussed and the priorities you’ve set. It is a process of “give and take” where the goal is to arrive at a package that works for both you and the employer. If the compensation package does not work for you or meet your needs be prepared to walk away. We see many candidates settle for lower compensation packages only to leave the position within a year due to regrets or better opportunities. However, don’t use your goal or your the willingness to walk away as a threat or ultimatum. It’s important to treat these negotiations as a business transaction and not a competition. Threats and ultimatums are the fastest way to end the negotiations and burn bridges.
One final note before you accept the position. Get the agreed upon compensation package in writing before you accept. We’ve seen candidates receive an offer and then give notice to their current employer only to have the negotiations break down. During the negotiations continue to interview and make sure you current position is still part of your back-up plan.
For additional reading Emily Moore has a great article on Glassdoor. Her article, 11 Words and Phrases to Use in Salary Negotiations if You Want to Succeed, gives advice on negotiating compensation packages. She presents words, phrases, strategies and tips which can help increase the success of your negotiations.