Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
According to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management, 90% of the professionals in the human resources industry agree that salaries, relocation cost, flexible work schedules, early salary reviews and/extra paid time off are negotiable. Given the recent economy, however, most professionals are simply accepting what the employer is offering, assuming that negotiating is not an option. The truth is, however, that if you aren’t comfortable with negotiation techniques, you just may be leaving money on the table.
In the book, “Get Money on Your Next Job” (McGraw Hill, 1997) Lee Miller, director of NegotiationPlus.com, says that if you make it through a company’s screening and interview process and have persuaded everyone that you are the person for the job, they probably won’t dismiss reasonable negotiations. "The key is to be sure that you’re the candidate that they have selected and want before you really start negotiating," he says. "Make them fall in love with you before you start talking money."
The most important thing to remember, however is that you don’t want to discuss money until your potential employer actually has put an offer on the table. If it comes up during the screening or interview process, you want to avoid locking yourself in to something at the beginning. In many cases, if you’re willing to discuss compensation early on – that’s exactly the offer you’re going to get, leaving yourself no room to negotiate.
The second key to successfully negotiating with a prospective employer is confidence. The easiest way to work on building your confidence level in negotiating is look at the job offer as the beginning instead of the end.
Too many professionals view the extention of an offer as the end of the game that requires them to make a yes or no decision. Whether than asking yourself if you should take the job or turn it down, you need to be willing to see just how far you can go with the negotiations. See the offer as the companies confirmation that they want you. Now it’s up to you to find out just how much.
When you receive an offer from a prospective employer, you need to take the time to ask any questions you might have to clarify exactly what their offer includes. Never, under any circumstances should you accept a position on the spot. Instead ask for 24-48 hours to think it over. Use this time to review exactly how you feel you can impact the company’s bottom line.
Negotiations are not limited only to salary. If you feel you’ve been given a fair salary offer, look closer at the benefit package and even additional perks that might not seem that important. Many executives negotiate for cellphones, laptop computers, additional time off, and even a new titles.
Once you’re ready to make your counteroffer, schedule an appointment to meet with your prospective employer. Negotiations should never be done over the phone. Being face to face and able to read body language is extremely important when deciding just how far you can go. If your employer seems offended by your counteroffer, you may want to reconsider accepting the position. This could be a sign that the corporate environment is one that doesn’t really value their employees and the skills they bring to the table.
Once you’ve reached an agreement, make sure you get the hiring manager to put the details in writing on an offer letter or company letterhead.