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Frequently Asked Questions About Salary Negotiation: The Complete Job Offer and Salary Negotiation FAQ for Jobseekers

Frequently Asked Questions About Salary Negotiation: The Complete Job Offer and Salary Negotiation FAQ for Jobseekers

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions about Salary Negotiation

There is an art to learning how to negotiate a salary. Take the time to finesse your skills in this area, and you will be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.

Once you are in the negotiation phase, you’ve already accomplished a lot. You’ve learned how to write a resume and how to write a cover letter. You’ve aced your interview. And now you are in the enviable position of considering whether or not to accept a job offer.

For many job-seekers, higher pay is a major motivation to make a move. But what happens if you get your dream job, but with a less-than-dreamy salary offer? Do you just walk away?

Not so fast! The majority of job-seekers don’t harness the power of negotiating during their job search. In fact, research shows that only 46 percent of men and 34 percent of women negotiate salary during a job search. The majority skip the negotiating conversation altogether.

Don’t be intimidated by the idea of learning how to negotiate a salary. Ask for what you feel you deserve. To help you wring the most you can out of your next job offer, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions about how to negotiate a salary. The tips are easy to follow and will pave the way for a brighter professional life and higher pay.

How to Negotiate a Salary: Can any job seeker negotiate a job offer?

The short answer is that every job-seeker, from entry-level to executive, has the option to negotiate a job offer. That said, salary negotiation is much more common in professional positions.

That said, every job-seeker has the right and the power to request a higher salary, especially when that request is supported by evidence showing why the salary should be higher. It is key to be realistic when making your request. It’s unlikely, for example, that an employer will raise the pay for an entry-level, minimum wage job very high. Start by doing your research on what the going rate for the job title you are negotiating is in your area to get an idea of whether the offer you’ve received is fair.

How to Negotiate a Salary: How do I know whether the offer I’ve received is fair?

The short answer: Do your research. The Internet makes is super simple to see whether or not you are being paid a market rate. Simple pull up a salary calculator, input your zip code, your job title, and your education level, and you are good to go.

Most salary calculators will pull up a range of salaries, from high to low, and show you what the average is in your area. This number should be your benchmark. If you are being offered a wage that is way below the median salary shown, you should definitely consider negotiating.

How to Negotiate a Salary: Do all employers negotiate salary?

No. Some employers adhere to strict salary guidelines for hiring, while others simply offer the best salary possible. In these cases, these employers will not negotiate salary, but you won’t know this unless you try.

That said, most employers will are open to negotiating other aspects of the offer, such as vacation time, bonuses, and other benefits. When it comes to learning how to negotiate, the golden rule is that it never hurts to ask.

How to Negotiate a Salary: When is the best time for job-seekers to bring up salary in a job interview?

Never start salary negotiations until you have been given a formal offer. While there may be a discussion of what your salary expectations are earlier in the process, or you may be given a salary range for the role you are interviewing for, it’s never appropriate to launch into the negotiating phase until a job offer has been given to you.

How to Negotiate a Salary: How should salary history inquiries be handled?

In some cities and states, asking a candidate about their salary history is now illegal. Before you even begin the interview process, you should do some research to find out if, in fact, recruiters are allowed to ask you this question during the interview process.

If you live in an area that still allows recruiters to ask about your salary history, don’t offer it up until you are asked. Again, do your research on the role you are interviewing for using a salary calculator to find out what the going rate for the job title. You’ll want to have this information handy when you begin your salary negotiations.

When you state your salary history, never lie about your current or past pay. Recruiters are allowed to verify this information with past employers. However, your response should include your total compensation, which may involve salary, bonuses, benefits, and other incentives, depending on your current role. These elements count as pay and should be taken into consideration when a prospective employer is making your next offer.

If you live in an area that still allows recruiters to ask about your salary history, don’t offer it up until you are asked.

How to Negotiate a Salary: What’s the best way to respond when asked about your salary requirements?

Salary requirement requests, like a salary history requests, are a tool that many prospective employers use to either screen out jobseekers (those requesting either too little or too much) or to gain an upper hand in eventual salary negotiations. As a result, this question is usually posed well before a job offer is delivered.

There is no harm in stating your salary requirements; if a potential employer is unwilling to pay you your market value, it would be a massive waste of your time and energy to go through the entire process and receive a low-ball offer.

Again, you MUST have an accurate idea of your market value, so do your research. The best way to respond is to provide a salary range to the employer, starting with the minimum salary you would accept and continuing to a higher level. (“Per your request, and based on my research, I expect a salary in the range of $45,000-$55,000.”)

If you’ve done your research, stated a fair salary range, and still received a job offer that you feel is below-market, it’s time to break out your negotiating skills.

How to Negotiate a Salary: The salary calculator indicates that my offer is low. Should I take the job anyway?

Most people want to avoid confrontation like the plague and sometimes negotiating can feel like conflict. Remember: it’s not. As nerve-wracking as it may be to ask for more money, keep in mind that those who have been hired before you and those that will be hired after you will also likely try to up their pay before signing on the dotted line. In other words, your request is not unique.

When done respectfully, a discussion about salary should not put an employer off. In fact, most employers expect you to negotiate the terms of your employment, whether it is salary, benefits, or the amount of vacation time you receive. So, even if you don’t enjoy the process, it’s beneficial to learn how to negotiate.

Here are the main reasons you should negotiate the salary you deserve (or get as close to it as possible):

  • Your future salaries can be effected by this salary. If you earn less that you are worth in this job, you may continue to earn less than your market value, even when you move on to another employer.
  • Pension and 401K contributions are often based on your salary, so the smaller your salary, the smaller the contribution to your retirement funds. This, too, effects your future.
  • Future employers may ask for a salary history, and some will base their salary offer on what you are earning at your current employer. (See below for more information on this topic.)
  • Your happiness at work can be seriously dragged down by feeling under-compensated or undervalued, which could eventually affect your performance.

 

Most people want to avoid confrontation like the plague and sometimes negotiating can feel like conflict. Remember: it’s not.

In short, learning to negotiate now could positively impact your salary for the rest of your career. Have the conversation. All your prospective employer can say is no.

How to Negotiate a Salary: How do I factor in benefits when negotiating a job offer?

Definitely! While salary and other compensation is essential, the other benefits a prospective employer offers can often make or break a decision. Consider these carefully when thinking about how to negotiate a deal that works for you.

Employers can offer many types of benefits, but the key ones to review are health insurance, life insurance, pensions, and vacation days. Here are some items to consider:

Health insurance:
One of the biggest considerations for most job-seekers is health insurance. Most employers offer healthcare coverage as a perk to full-time employees, but the key elements to examine include the extent of the coverage and how much the organization contributes to its cost. It’s critical to do the math on this one because even if you are offered competitive compensation, you could actually end up with a lower net salary if you have to pay for healthcare out-of-pocket, or if you have high co-pays.

Life insurance:
Life insurance is another fairly standard benefit, and often extended to not just the employee but also to family members. Again, examine how much the company contributes to the life-insurance premium. Depending on your age and the state of your health, life insurance can cost several hundred dollars a month if you have to pay for it out-of-pocket.

Retirement funds
Many organizations do offer a 401k or IRA plan to help employees save for retirement. Take the time to review whether the organization matches employee contributions. Over time, this can be an incredibly valuable addition to your nest egg down the line.

Vacation and Sick Days
While many job seekers don’t pay much attention to vacation- and sick-day policies, it is important to do so. Everyone gets sick now and then, and we all need a break now and then. The ability to take time away from work without fear of losing your job is essential to mental health. Learn about the company’s vacation and sick time policies, for example, how much time do you get, how will it accrue as you advance within the organization, and whether or not you can carry over unused time from one year to the next.

Travel Reimbursements
For salespeople and others who travel for business, another consideration to review is compensation for car travel, whether you receive a company car or get reimbursed for personal vehicle use.

If your job will require traveling by air and staying in hotels, find out about per diem (defined as, “for each day”) reimbursement. This type of reimbursement is designed to cover meals, parking, and other expenses while on business travel. Understanding these policies is vital if your job will require considerable travel.

Other Considerations
Besides these major benefits, other benefits that could be part of your compensation package include:

  • disability insurance
  • profit-sharing
  • stock options
  • relocation and moving expenses
  • tuition reimbursement
  • dependent care
  • club memberships
  • commuter benefits

 

All of these can add significant value to a compensation package and should be considered when thinking about how to negotiate a better deal.

How to Negotiate a Salary: If I receive a job offer that seems perfect, can I just accept it?

Even if you have been offered everything you wanted and more, it’s always best to take time to reflect on the offer, make sure you know all the details, and be sure that this is the right role for you.

When offered the position, graciously thank the employer for the job offer, then ask about getting the details in writing. This will automatically buy you a day or two to think over the offer. If the offer is already in writing, then request a few days to review the details.

All reasonable employers understand the complexity of these situations and should be willing to grant you the time. In fact, some employers might view you as rash and impulsive if you don’t take the time to carefully review the offer. Just make sure you reply with your answer ¬– either an unconditional yes or a detailed counteroffer– within the agreed upon time period.

Even if you have been offered everything you wanted and more, it’s always best to take time to reflect on the offer, make sure you know all the details, and be sure that this is the right role for you.

How to Negotiate a Salary: How should a job-seeker respond to an employer who wants an immediate answer to a job offer?

Walk away. Employers who demand an immediate answer from you are trying to bully you into a decision that should be evaluated. This doesn’t bode well for how the rest of your relationship will go with this employer. In this case, it’s best to decline the offer.

How to Negotiate a Salary: Why is getting an offer in writing so essential?

Rule one of how to negotiate a job offer: Always get the offer in writing. You need a job offer in writing is so that you can review all the details and so that you have proof of what you’ve agree on. Even if a hiring manager tells you the salary and provides an overview of the benefits, vacation time, and other benefits, a verbal agreement isn’t enough. Having the offer in writing offers you a level of protection if the employer doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain.

Having a job offer in writing is standard procedure for legitimate employers. If the employer refuses to put the offer in writing, walk away. Employers who refuse to put an offer in writing are likely hiding something.

Rule one of how to negotiate a job offer: Always get the offer in writing.

How to Negotiate a Salary:After accepting one job, I received a better job offer. Can I rescind my acceptance of the first offer and accept the second one?

Of course, but do so carefully. You made a commitment to the employer, and if you retract your acceptance the wrong way, you could burn bridges. And you never know when doing so will come back to haunt you.

If you are participating in job interviews with multiple organizations, this is always a possibility. If you absolutely must rescind a job offer that you’ve already accepted, it might be awkward, but it can be done gracefully.

How to Negotiate a Salary: I received two job offers from different employers. How do I choose the best offer?

First off, nice job! While some job-seekers would immediately accept the offer with the higher salary, it makes more sense to review all aspects of both offers.

When considering how to negotiate the best offer for you, there are other intangibles that you should also consider. These include the reputation and culture of the organizations, whether there is room for personal and professional growth, your commute time, and other factors. Assuming both organizations and offers are similar, and you would be equally happy working at either of them, then we suggest a very simple model of putting the offers side-by-side, comparing the details, and weighing the results.

How to Negotiate a Salary: I received an offer from one company, but I really want to wait to see if I get an offer from my dream employer. What are my options?

This is a tricky one to learn how to negotiate, but there is a strategy that you can employ.

First, thank the company that made you the offer, request to get it in writing, and ask for enough time to review the details. Most employers will give you a few days, if not more, to consider the deal.

Next, as soon as you have the offer from the first company, contact the hiring manager of your dream employer and provide an update. Tell them that you wanted to inform them that you have received a job offer but that, in a perfect world, you would like to hear back from them before you decide whether to accept the offer. You might write an email that says something like this:

“I am writing to let you know that I have received a very attractive job offer from another organization. Throughout the interview process, I have felt strongly that my expertise and experience are a great fit for your open role. I know that I can hit the ground running and get great results.

I am not trying to change your process. However, I only have a few days to give them an answer. Do you have any idea when you plan to decide who to hire?”

If it works out and the dream employer comes through with an offer, great! If not, you’ve left no stone unturned, and you still have a new job. But do remember to still put the offers side-by-side to make sure the dream employer’s offer is what you really want.

As soon as you have the offer from the first company, contact the hiring manager of your dream employer and provide an update. Tell them that you wanted to inform them that you have received a job offer but that, in a perfect world, you would like to hear back from them before you decide whether to accept the offer.

If the dream employer can’t give you a decision within your time frame, you have to decide whether to take the offer on the table or decline it and wait for the dream employer to complete the interview process.

How to Negotiate a Salary: Can I make a counter job offer by email, or do I have to do it in person or by phone?

Choose the method that is most comfortable for you. Some people like negotiating over the phone or in person. Usually these are the folks who are good talkers and enjoy negotiating. Others do their negotiating in writing, feeling more comfortable negotiating with the written word.

Whichever method you choose, remember that the key to successful negotiation is to know what you want, prove that you deserve it, and ask for it professionally. And always ask for the final agreement in writing before you formally accept the offer.

To summarize, here’s how to negotiate a salary:

  • Thank the employer for the offer
  • Use a salary calculator to determine if the salary is fair or if you need to negotiate
  • Examine the other benefits being offered, including health benefits and vacation time
  • Chose just a few items of the offer to negotiate
  • Use hard data to justify your request
  • Always be professional and courteous during the process.
Source : LiveCareer
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