Negotiating Benefits

You just received that job offer and the salary is not what you had hoped it would be.  Keep in mind that there are a number of factors that determine your value to a company.  What is the size of the company and what is the margin of their profit?  What is your professional level?  What degree do you have?  What is your previous work experience and what skills do you have?  The salary is only a “small piece of the pie”.  It is, however, possible to negotiate benefits that will enable you to make up the difference.

First of all, there are things you should be aware of before you begin the negotiation process.  Understand the market.  Do your research and determine the salaries that are being paid for this particular job. Geographical area, industry, and company size are all factors. Show clear interest in the position.  Employers do not want to spend time and money training someone for a job if they are not interested in the business.

Yes, all job seekers are hoping for an enormous salary.  Think beyond the salary. What compensation package is available to employees? Some benefits are standard for all employees, but many are subject to negotiation.  It is important to be realistic.  Set your sights on benefits that are attainable.

Some companies offer signing bonuses. This is a one-time only cash payment made on the first day of employment. These types of awards are often given to attract candidates to positions that are hard to fill. If you can show a gap between market pay and what you are being offered, you may be able to convince your potential employer that an initial cash award is deserved.

Most companies offer two weeks of vacation time to start. Negotiating for an extra week off is not uncommon and is often likely to be granted. It is particularly helpful if you can show that you earned more than two weeks’ vacation at your previously employer. Additional time off could also help narrow the pay gap if you consider your base salary to be on the low side.

Most companies conduct annual reviews for their staff. If you negotiate an initial review in 6 months, your salary increase will start 6 months earlier than the norm. This is a reasonable compromise to settle a negotiation over a salary offer that is lower that you would like it to be. It also shows the employer that you are interested in proving yourself to be worthy of a higher rate of pay and are willing to prove it.

If a new position requires you to relocate, do some research on the actual costs associated with your move and present them to your potential employer.

As you approach these negotiations, be aware that a prospective employer may withdraw an offer if it feels that your requests are excessive and not in line with what the company can offer. Any negotiation should be approached in a professional and reasonable manner. Equipping yourself with research done beforehand ensures your requests will more likely be considered.

Source: “6 Tips to Successful Benefits Negotiation.” Web. 07 Nov. 2012

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