Congratulations! Your efforts have paid off, and you have received a job offer. The negotiation phase is now underway.
The first step is to be appreciative of the offer and enthusiastic about the opportunity. Graciously ask what the offer includes and don’t in any way disclose whether you consider the offer acceptable. Get everything out on the table, including the entire benefits package. Exercise discernment when asking questions because you do not want to raise unwanted questions about your candidacy. For example, inquiries about vacation time, sick leave policy, flex time, or disability insurance could raise a flag if they are made too early in the process.
Once you have all the information you need about the offer, say that you need to carefully consider it so that you are making the right decision for all concerned. Agree on a timeframe for getting back to the person, and be prepared to meet the agreed upon deadline. If you are in a situation where you have interviewed for another position you really want and hope to receive an offer for it, you can try to negotiate for more time to respond to the offer you have in hand. Exercise caution when doing this, however, as you want to continue to express enthusiasm and appreciation for the solid offer you have already received.
With few exceptions (jobs with fixed salary), it is expected that you will negotiate the initial offer. There are salary ranges for each job position, and it is highly unlikely that the company’s initial offer will have been at the top of the range unless there has been a “pre-negotiation” prior to the offer. Some interviewers try to determine the number you would accept prior to the formal job offer. This gives you less latitude after the offer comes in, so you want to avoid such pre-negotiations to the extent that you can.
After the meeting has ended, review the offer carefully. At this point, it may be advisable to have a discussion with your accountant to make sure you aren’t overlooking anything. If you are currently employed, for example, you usually want to ensure that the job for which you would be leaving is a significant upgrade to the one you have.
The next step is to develop a list of three specific alternatives that you would consider preferable to the offer you were made. You can combine varying base pay and bonus structures to come up with these alternatives. Consider the following additional negotiating points when you are evaluating the initial offer, and introduce them as appropriate in your discussions:
Employment contract and/or termination contract
Number of paid holidays
Car or car allowance
Deductibles for insurance plans and the percentage that is employer paid:
Cafeteria insurance plans
Professional moving company to pack, ship, and deliver household goods
Cost of buying and selling a house
House hunting trips
Costs of temporary accommodations and length of time they are made available
Job search assistance for working spouse
Note that if a relocation is being considered, consult with your accountant regarding the tax implications for associated reimbursable expenses. Some relocation perks are taxable, and you want to know about these well in advance of tax time. It is also information that can be used for leverage during the negotiation.
After you have carefully prepared for the next round in the negotiation, follow up with the employer by the agreed upon deadline. Present the three alternatives you have identified, and wait for the employer’s response. The employer may say they need to consider your request and will get back to you. The back and forth may continue until there is a number above which the employer will not go. At this point, you may be able to introduce additional negotiating points. The following are some examples:
Time frame for salary review and percentage of increase
Time frame for title promotion
Override for business brought in over X amount
Telecommuting for an agreed upon number of days per week
Carry over for unused vacation days
Compensation for unused vacation days
Dues for professional associations
Health club memberships
After the offer has been negotiated to your satisfaction, ask that the offer be put in writing. Make sure that any additional perks that were agreed to are included in the letter. Before signing the employment agreement, it is recommended that you review the offer letter with an employment lawyer.
Nonie Potocki is the owner of her own private practice in New York City
Originally published on Linked IN by: Nonie Potocki
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