Career Transitions in
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Everyone should get paid what they are worth. So, it only makes sense to ask for what you want and give employers the opportunity to meet your expectations. Right?
Before you dive too deep into this mindset, you will want to look at this from the other side of the table first. Otherwise, you might lose the offer altogether or leave a poor impression with your prospective employer.
How do you ensure that the offer negotiation process is a win/win and leaves everyone excited for the future? Easy, know the limits on both sides and meet them at the top of their offerings with justified concrete data.
What are you really worth?
First you need to understand your market value.
You might be truly exceptional in many areas, but those personal differentiators won’t impact the local market and how you compare with the average compensation for similar roles.
Once you know how you stack up to the competition you can see how your worth aligns to the position in question. It’s crucial to understand where your personalized range sits in comparison to the market. Here’s why:
HR knows your value in the market and if you counter too far out of range it may send the wrong message.
For example, let’s say the compensation range for similar jobs in that area is $95,000 - $142,000 and your personalized estimate is $103,000.
Even though the market range goes up to $142,000, that doesn’t mean you should adopt that range for yourself since your experience, education, etc. will differ.
If their offer is within this range then you will be limited in your negotiation options and may need to exercise some creativity if you decide to counter so you don’t come across uninformed or too cocky.
What will the employer pay for the role?
Once you understand your market value then you need to research the pay grade or banding for the role with that employer. Most large companies are restricted by these ranges to maintain compliance with employment law and avoid litigation.
Let’s face it, people talk and that includes co-workers and the topic of salary. Disgruntled employees are often created when they are not being compensated fairly in comparison to others performing similar work. See Adam’s Equity Theory
HR is very sensitive to unequal pay and will not approve an offer creating high levels of pay disparity.
How do you find out a position’s pay range for a specific employer? There are a lot of great tools out there to compare salaries with specific companies, but the one I like best is Paysa. Within a few clicks you can clearly see all the direct compensation metrics for each company along with other indirect benefits.
After all, it’s not all about the base pay. Often there are other benefits that you can negotiate which becomes a valuable strategy if your personal market worth is sitting below the 25thor above the 75thpercentiles.
What else can you negotiate?
Once you have vetted out the direct compensation piece then you will want to consider all the other areas that will bring you value in your work-life balance and career development.
For those who are wanting to continue their education, negotiating University Tuition Reimbursement can be highly appealing. Or, you might have your eye on a specific training, a professional development course or certification that you can factor into the negotiation.
Childcare is another huge expense for many and often companies can be more flexible to better working arrangements regarding travel and remote offices. In addition, certain health or fitness stipends can bring additional value to your bottom line.
Perhaps a sign on bonus or relocation package would be enough to bridge the gap financially?
Get creative on what is most important to you, but remember that if it involves going against company policy it will likely not be considered to avoid discrimination.
Because of this paid leave, vacation time, medical insurance, 401(k) contributions, etc. can be a bit trickier to negotiate as opposed to education, training, moving expenses, contingency bonuses etc.
The next time you ask yourself, “Should I counter?”
Think first about the data. Do your research and approach the negotiation process without opinion or emotion. Be fully prepared to justify your response!
Express gratitude for the offer and be gracious in your communication. You can come to the table with all the right information but present it in an unprofessional way and loose an offer just as fast.
In a nutshell, always counter when it makes sense. Employers will expect you to not leave anything on the table and will respect you when you go through the process, especially when you keep the above in mind.