NEWS + ADVICE
How to Negotiate Your Salary and Benefits
Get your full value from a potential cleared employer and negotiate the offer that makes sense for you.
1. Salary and benefits combine to form your total compensation
When you’re reviewing an offer, there’s more to consider than just the salary number. While pay bands for some contracts are tight, the employer has leeway when it comes to other benefits, which may have great value for you. Consider the whole package, not just the salary piece of compensation – bonuses, healthcare, 401k contributions, tuition reimbursement, time off, stock, lifestyle benefits, and more.
2. Be ready to have this compensation conversation up front
You may receive a call from a recruiter tomorrow – before you’ve even applied for a job. Have you given thought to what your compensation requirements are? Do this on the front-end of your job search process and determine what’s important for you and your family, so you’re not caught off guard.
3. Know your value
PayScale.com, Salary.com, Glassdoor.com and LinkedIn all have salary and market data, but these are only a starting point. Network with others in your profession and your professional association to gather more specific data.
4. Determine the other benefits that are important to you
Maybe you pay part of your healthcare at your current employer. If another employer is offering full coverage for you and your family, that’s worth thousands of dollars. Medical insurance and retirement plans are not negotiable, but base pay, incentives, stock/options, vacation, telecommuting options, sign-on bonuses, tuition reimbursement and relo expenses often are.
5. When you receive an offer you have to make some decisions
Your first decision is, do you really want the job? Don’t waste anyone’s time with negotiations for a position that doesn’t interest you. If you want the job, you can accept the offer or decide if it’s close enough to what you initially discussed to negotiate. If you’re asking to change a lot of the offer, ask yourself if this is really a good match.
6. If you’re going to counter your offer
Consider the 1-2 critical changes you want and think about what you’re willing to accept. Call the hiring manager and talk about what you love about the organization and the job and what your concerns are with the offer. Do this quickly after you receive the offer. Ask for the specific changes you would like to see, along with the business reasons for the changes. Be willing to offer alternatives – if you can’t get more pay immediately can you get a sign-on bonus? If the offer is revised, be prepared to accept it quickly.
7. You should counter
In the current cleared employment environment you should counter and ask for something, whether it’s salary or benefits. This is a negotiation so don’t be afraid to ask. Men are much more likely to negotiate an offer than women are, so ladies don’t be shy.
8. Contingent offers are not binding
Don’t be afraid to accept a contingent offer. What you don’t want to do though is accept more than one contingent offer on the same contract. Be upfront with the employer if you currently have, or subsequently get, other contingent offers.
“Compensation is not my first question. But it’s always in my first conversation.”– Lisa Turbyfill, Cleared Solutions