Everyone wants to have great benefits and make as much money as possible when it comes to their job. That’s a given. But how do you successfully navigate the negotiation process when a company extends an offer to you, especially in light of the current job market when unemployment is so high? Here are a few tips to help you maximize any future offers and master the art of negotiation:
- No matter how many people applied for the position, they want you. You may be their first choice or their third choice. No matter what choice you are, they want you to come work for them. Plus one point for you.
- Always wait for the official offer before you even bring up pay and benefits. With any interviews (phone, video, in-person, etc.) your goal should be to learn as much as you can about the company, the culture, the job, your boss, advancement opportunities, training, growth, etc. You need to interview the company as much as they need to interview you. Interviews should always be a two-way conversation. The minimum number of questions I recommend asking is 15. I always ask at least 30-35 questions, but that’s because I want to know exactly what I’m getting into if I work for a new company. The fewer questions that you ask the more surprises that will pop up if/when you end up working for that company.
- Certain benefits are negotiable while others are not. It depends on several factors (the job, the company, the manager, etc.). Every company is different, but for the most part, you’ll have better luck trying to negotiate the following benefits:
Work schedule (start time, # of days a week you work, etc.)
Technology/electronics (laptop, vehicle toll pass, mobile hotspot, etc.)
Good luck with trying to negotiate the following benefits:
Any insurance premiums/coverages (i.e. Health, Dental, Vision, Short-Term Disability, Long-Term Disability, Group Life Insurance, having the company pay for your COBRA premium while you’re waiting to be eligible for your new companies’ health insurance, etc.)
Cell phone allowance
Bereavement (funeral) pay
Volunteer time off
Wellness plans/gym memberships
Bringing your dog to work
Mileage reimbursement for the use of your personal vehicle for work purposes
You get the idea.
- How many parts of the offer should you negotiate? Do you believe in the motto of “go big or go home?” Or, are you more conservative with your approach? The two things I recommend negotiating for any job are compensation and PTO (vacation time, personal time, sick time, etc.) For compensation, ask yourself, is what I’m being offered fair? Is it below, above, or in the middle of what the average is for this job in your market/community? (Check Salary.com to learn more.)
- If you want to negotiate pay, a good rule of thumb is to negotiate up to around 10% of what you’re being offered. If you’re offered a job and they offer you $50,000, it would be respectful to counter with $55,000 (not $65,000). If you want to negotiate PTO and they offer you two weeks of PTO, ask if they are willing to offer you three weeks.
- Be respectful and polite with your counteroffer. Try not to use language such as “I need” or “I have to have.” They don’t need to give you anything. Additionally, avoid if possible, countering via text or email. Call the HR Representative, or hiring manager, and speak with them directly. Thank them for their offer. Then tell them after reviewing the overall compensation package that was presented to you, after careful thought and consideration, you’d like to see if they are willing to offer you X (and Y, and/or Z, etc.) And give a reason or two as to why you’re asking for this. It could be your experience, certification, numbers/results you’ve achieved in the past, or anything else. The reasons will justify your request.
- If they accept your offer, tell them “Thank you. You won’t regret that decision.” In the end, just remember that some companies have the funds and ability to negotiate certain parts of the overall compensation package with you while others don’t. The worst thing they can say is “no.”
If you are looking for new career opportunities, check out the open positions that JX currently has and apply today!