Given the quirks of the marketplace, when it’s time to negotiate for a new position, what are the areas that are flexible, what isn’t reachable, and how can you optimize your results?
First, let’s start out with the non-negotiable items: Those areas that are constrained by statutory restrictions, third party contracts, or require board of director’s approval. Non-negotiable areas are basically those items that management does not have direct control over. They are mandated so every employee is treated equally with the basics, no matter the function or level. There are exceptions, but are very difficult to change.
Negotiable items are those areas of company policy where management can make exceptions. The key thing to remember is that the greater the policy change, the higher the level of management approval that is necessary. What are some of the policy changes that an employee might ask for? Here are a few:
- A policy of 1 week vacation for a new employee. You request 2 weeks
- A policy of a relocation allowance of up to $5,000. You request more.
- A policy of annual performance review with a merit pay increase. You request a performance review after 6 months with a potential merit increase
- A policy of bonus awards for outstanding performance. You request a hiring bonus.
So, how do you know the limits or opportunities available to you when given an offer for a new job? Here’s a guideline and strategy:
- Since the market is so strong in certain functions, these are the areas that most employees are asking for when negotiating for a new job:
- A more flexible schedule or more time working remotely
- A higher salary, hiring bonus, or incentive compensation for results achieved
- An increase in paid time off, either in vacation time, Fridays off in summer, sick days, or floating days off when work schedules are low
- The more difficult the request, the higher up the organization for approval. Some request exceptions may be made for higher level positions, but not for lower levels
- If the supply of talent in technical areas are extremely low, but the demand is very high, management will make many exceptions if you have all the skills they require.
How do you ask for more than the offer?
- Always ask a question rather than making a statement or demand: “I was looking for X$. Your offer was Y$. Can we find somewhere in the middle?”
- Make comparisons to known information: “My research has the mid-range for this position at X$, which is $2000 above the offer. Why is the offer less?”
- Show where the offer falls short: “My current benefit package is 35% of my salary. Your benefits are only 25% of the salary offered. How can we make up the difference?
When you want the offered job but it’s less than your expectations, you need to demonstrate your flexibility and nicely state your potential value along with documentation. Always ask the question.
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