Negotiating Your Salary and Benefits

By | August 20, 2012

Every person has different goals and ambitions in life. You work and you build your career because you have certain financial goals in mind. Maybe you want to retire by the age of 45 or maybe be a millionaire by your 30th birthday. Part and parcel of career planning is choosing a job that will enable you to reach those financial goals. As someone who is part of the job market, you should always be on the lookout.

Building your career may mean working your way up the promotion ladder at a single company until you reach your desired position. For others, it may be transferring to another firm that offers a better compensation package or better hours or more chances for development. Whatever your career plan structure might be, you will definitely encounter a discussion of your salary and benefits.

The laws of economics will state that as a rational individual you want to maximize your happiness. Like it or not, for the majority, that translates as maximizing salary and benefits in return for the work that you do. Since companies want to minimize cost, a gap is created. That leaves the room open for negotiation. By learning about these tips and tricks when it comes to negotiating for your salary and benefits package, you will be well on your way to achieving your financial goals.

Only ask about compensation when you actually have a job offer.

It is a cardinal sin to actually talk about salaries and benefits when you are still applying for the job position. It signals to the hiring manager your focus is on money and not on providing a valuable contribution to the organization. Wait until you actually receive an offer until you start to negotiate.

Everything is negotiable. Ask and you shall receive

This is a primary rule in the business world. Anything and everything can be brought up to the negotiating table. Write down your financial goals in mind, and translate that into what kind of salary and benefits you need to have in order to achieve them. It does not hurt to ask for your ideal package. The worst that they can say is no, right? If they do say no, then they will make you a counteroffer.

Accepting the first offer made is not the best of ideas. Of course, companies will begin with a lower offer, assuming that you will be negotiating for this. You will doing yourself a disservice if you become too eager or if you are scared to rock the boat.

Knowledge is power

It may be cliché, but it’s definitely true. Preparation is always key to any negotiation. Do your research prior to entering the negotiation table. Many career websites have benchmarks on the different salary levels per position and per industry. You should know what the average for your job is so you know whether you are being compensated fairly.

Also, you should research your industry and the company that is making the job offer, and you want to look at the economic indicators that show whether the industry is attractive to do business in and if it’s on the upswing. You should also do some reading of reports on the performance of the company. If performance is good and the bottom line is more than positive, there is room for you to negotiate for a better offer.

Start with the benefits

You salary is often the most difficult item to determine. Because it is presented in dollars and cents, the numbers tend to be glaring. So, you should leave that for last and begin negotiating for the benefits that sometimes get overlooked. Often times you are so focused on the salary level, that you dismiss a job offer outright because of that. Sometimes, if you have a great benefits package, it can compensate for a lower salary.

You can bargain for a number of benefits. Signing bonuses can make up for the salary difference in the first year. Vacation days are not set in stone, and you can ask for more days if you’ve always wanted to travel or to spend time with your family. Continuing education is also an important benefit, and some companies pay for master’s degrees and other training that you can always use later in life. Stock options are another great option if you see promise in the firm.

When you follows these tips and tricks, you will be able to negotiate for a great salary and benefits package.

Readers, Did you negotiate a great deal at your current job? Tell us about it!