Let’s assume a hiring company wants you and you want the job. Now what? You get a telephone call offering you the position. What do you do?
Usually an employer will outline the conditions of the employment offer in writing. Make sure it coincides with your understanding of the position. The basics: The title, compensation, reporting relationship, outline of duties, starting date, and the start of various benefits. After you understand the offer, politely say, “Thank you very much for this exciting opportunity. I’d like to give it some thought, and get back to you within 24 hours with questions I may have”. They may have a back-up candidate waiting in the wings, so don’t take too much time.
Your objectives are two-fold: 1- See if you can differentiate between “hard’ policies/practices from those that are more flexible within the offer. What are the negotiable items? Are there trade-offs that can be discussed? Usually those items that involve third parties (insurances, pensions, 401K’s and the like) are not negotiable. 2- Make sure the benefits, especially health insurance for your family, dovetails in content and timing. You don’t want a “hole” in your coverage between jobs.
Those items within the company’s discretion are usually negotiable. Things like flexible working hours, incentives, telecommuting, vacation, tuition reimbursement, parking, moving expenses or a signing bonus can be discussed. If the salary is less than you anticipated, can there be a 6-month review with a potential performance increase in salary? The greater the out-of-policy request, the higher the level of decision making. If you are seen as the answer to their problems, you have a great deal more influence.
There are compensation ranges and comparatives within the industry that may be at play. Find out industry comparisons (through Indeed.com/salary, Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, or PayScale.com). You might ask the question, “Is that your best offer for compensation, as I was looking for $XX, instead of your offer of $YY”. Usually the response will either be, “The salary is set at this time”, or “There may be some flexibility that we can talk about”. Research says that over 40% of people said they didn’t negotiate their incoming salary. Ask for the salary range of the position to find out where in the range your job offer falls. The closer you are to the mid-point or above the more difficult it is to ask for more.
Always get the final offer in writing. Always give your acceptance in writing. Send your acceptance by registered mail, receipt requested or FedEx. You never want to resign from your current position until the new organization is fully committed to you and your offer and acceptance is locked in.
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