Compensation Encompasses a Great Deal More Than Salary.

As your offers start to roll in don’t be caught off guard! Preparation is essential. Here are some pointers to maximize negotiating leverage:

  • Don’t accept an offer on the spot. Think smart and say "I’m excited about this opportunity, however, this is an important decision which I need to evaluate and discuss with my family." Then review your job offer carefully and develop a counter offer.
  • Ask for time to consider the offer. Every company should allow at least twenty-four hours for review and consideration.
  • Always get the offer in writing. Tie down the details orally, then get it in writing. Oral agreements an sometimes be forgotten, especially if the hiring authority moves on to other opportunities.
  • Money follows value. Your A+ resume with your A+ interviewing skills and your confidence in your ability to add to the company’s bottom line, along with your researchon salary ranges will enable you to command top dollar.
  • Maximize starting compensation. It’s the basis for your future income with that company. $5,000 left on the table means losing $70,000+ over a ten year period.
  • Always attempt to negotiate. Regardless of your job level or years of experience, you should negotiate. Don’t leave anything on the table.
  • Make it Win-Win. Be polite, not rude, greedy, aggressive or unprofessional. In every negotiation both you and the employer should be winners.
  • Always negotiate with the hiring authority. Human Resources usually has neither the incentive nor the authority to increase the offer. Talk to the person who does.
  • Let the employer name the first salary figure. Don’t box yourself into a corner or turn off the interviewer by bringing up salary first unless it is absolutely necessary. Get the offer, then go for your compensation target.
  • Be prepared to give a range. Don’t lose your leverage by being unprepared for the questions "What is the minimum you will accept?" or "How much money do you need to make?" You’re not interested in minimums. Respond with "Based on my research for this position, my compensation requirements are in the range of $X to $Y."
  • Orchestrate offers. Once you receive your first offer, contact your priority target companies and tell them you have an offer. Express your interest in their organization and let them know you want to give them an opportunity to extend an offer before deciding. This will bring other offers to the table so they can be considered simultaneously.

Remember that compensation encompasses a great deal more than salary. There are other, often better ways than base pay to achieve your compensation goals. Consider benefits, sign-on bonuses, early performance reviews, career planning, incentive and performance bonuses, stock options, promotions and executive perks.

Read the chapter on Negotiation in Job Search: The Total System for more techniques to maximize your job offer. Also, take time to review the techniques and principles in Job Search: The Total Interview Video Series to create your personal Return on Investment plan. Demonstrating your ability to bring more to the company’s bottom line is the best way to increase your total compensation.

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