- Kristen Struys
Negotiate With Confidence
It's an exciting day! You’ve applied for a great job, interviewed, and now you've got a call to discuss the next steps - a job offer. That means negotiating your package. Are your palms getting sweaty, and your stomach churning over at the mere thought of it? Will you do it with confidence and success or blurt out an acceptance at the first offer they make?
You wouldn’t be the only one sweating negotiations. A Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, conducted in 2018, found that employers anticipated they would negotiate job packages at offer stage 70% of the time, yet only 39% of the time did it occur. So, you can see, many companies are expecting you to negotiate your job offer, so it won't be a surprise to most recruiters when you do.
Many candidates, especially those searching for a job for a long time, don't want to risk jeopardizing the job opportunity by countering an offer. However, they may regret not negotiating at a later stage. This regret can often lead to discontentment if people feel they're not being paid fairly for the work that they are doing.
Are you someone who feels they can’t negotiate? What if I was to say you negotiate all the time with the people in your life: - your kids, parents, partners, customers, and strangers. Now let's give you the know-how to have the confidence to negotiate the job offer you want in your professional life.
The benefits of negotiating
There is a balancing act when negotiating a job offer. Ideally, negotiating should be a win-win for both the company and the new employee. The business gets your knowledge, skills, and experiences and you receive a compensation package that is fair and in line with your skills and expertise. This lays the foundation for a lasting and successful partnership.
Before you apply, consider your wants and needs
Negotiate with yourself first. Decide what you need and want in the next role. Your needs and wants are different. For example, you need food, but you may want lobster for dinner every night. Assess what you absolutely need in the next role – possibly things like working from home, a flexible schedule to pick up the kids, limited travel, staying in your city, or the salary of $XX. These are your non-negotiables. Much like you have non-negotiables with your values, you should also have them in your next career move. To learn more about values and what they are, read our blog "Creating Awareness".
When you make it clear what you need and want, you will have more confidence in taking the next steps. Identify all of your wants. I would recommend writing down an extensive list of everything you could possibly want from a job or company - a company car, international travel, a virtual assistant, or professional development budget. From there, prioritize your wants by importance, such as what are your must-haves versus nice-to-haves. Keep it handy to reference when reading job descriptions, talking with your network and applying to roles.
The people involved in a negotiation
Depending on the organization's size and the role you’ve applied for, you may interact with different people, all of whom influence the negotiations. For example, some companies may hire a third-party recruiting agency to search for and screen candidates and negotiate a package for you. Or, you may work directly with an internal recruiter or the hiring manager within the company.
Negotiate throughout the interview process
Believe it or not, you will negotiate from the first phone screening to the final offer letter. In a phone screening, you will be asked questions about your optimal work environment, the schedule you need (especially if you need flexibility to coordinate childcare), and your salary requirements. Use websites like www.glassdoor.com or www.salary.com to research typical salary ranges for roles in your city and the industry before your meeting. That way, you will be confident that your skills and experiences align with the market rate for the position.
During your phone screening, the recruiter may share the salary range. If your salary requirements and their salary budget are different, bring it up in the conversation to see how they react. This is your opportunity to decide if you wish to continue to move forward in the process. The data will be helpful to you when you apply to roles with a similar title, as you might get offered a similar salary range. If you had your heart set on a higher salary, this might be the point you have to adjust your expectations
Look beyond the salary.
Now that you know the importance of negotiating, here's a list of some benefits/perks you can negotiate for. While every industry, company, and job will be different, this helps you understand what is important to you when framing what you need or want from your next job:
Salary - how much you will be paid (salary or hourly)
Your work environment - an office, working from home (remote), or hybrid
Your work schedule - number of hours you will work a week and when
Benefits - medical, dental, vision, life insurance, disability, retirement
Paid Time Off - vacation and sick time
Professional development- courses and degrees the company may pay for
Bonus and equity share - sign on money; annual performance bonus; stake in the company
Travel frequency - how often you need to travel to an office or location
Equipment - work phone, computer, office equipment, and supplies
Expense account and credit card - how the company will pay for expenses during travel or client meetings
Start date - when you will begin the job (can coordinate around vacation or setting up childcare coverage)
The more you know
Knowledge and preparation are the keys to success in negotiations. The more information you have to make a decision, the more confident you will be in your negotiations. Being prepared with those facts and figures, plus how you'll respond to counteroffers, are also important.
If you are uncomfortable negotiating, practice before you go into a salary discussion. Create a script of how you will handle each negotiation scenario (where the company may agree or disagree with your expectations) and conduct mock negotiations with a friend or family member before the meeting.
Components of a good negotiation
Think of your negotiation discussions as conversations to get and give more information with the recruiter and agree on a total compensation package solution. According to Carrie Gallant from Gallantleader.com, her Diamond Negotiation Structure lists the following steps for a successful negotiation:
Inquiry - ask open-ended questions and be curious
Listening - actively listen to the other party
Advocacy - use "I" statements and clarify your view without undermining their point of view
Agreement and Commitment - decide on the arrangement and who will be responsible for what actions
Say what you'll offer to the other party
You will be prepared with your salary requirements when it's time for your negotiation discussion. Here's a tip from a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. It's how the offer is framed - share what you will give first, then what you want in return. If you anchor the range first (meaning you provide the salary number to work off), it may set you up to receive your desired salary.
Try this: "I offer to [company name] several years of sales experience plus knowledge and connections in the tech industry, and that's why my offer for compensation is $75,000 plus three weeks of vacation.
Not this: I request that I receive a $60,000 salary.
Time to Negotiate!
Be prepared with a script or talking points during these discussions. It's nerve-wracking to ask for more, but most recruiters and hiring managers are expecting that you will counter their initial offer. Most recruiters will need to assess your counteroffer, receive approval from the department, and you can expect a response back in a day or two. If you agree with the offer, sign the offer letter, send it back and set your start date.
And if you can't reach an agreement on the job offer? Then, you need to decide if you want to take the offer or walk away and continue your search for something more in line with your expectations.
Negotiating for yourself, while it may be uncomfortable at first, will help you financially and emotionally in the end. In addition, knowing you are going into a job with all of your non-negotiables met will start you off on the right foot to a more fulfilling career. Tune into the accompanying podcast, where we speak with Kelly Davis, a business development manager at HAYS Recruitment. You can listen to our accompanying podcast here.
What steps will you take this week to flourish?
Edited by Stephen Flanagan at Talent Attract.