Job seeking is about more than just applying to jobs you’re qualified for and impressing hiring personnel in the interviews – you also have to make sure any job offer you accept includes a compensation package that meets your needs.

Discussing compensation can be nerve-wracking, and you may be concerned about turning off the company by making a request it can’t meet. However, it’s a good idea to have a negotiating strategy in case you receive an underwhelming offer. Here are a few “dos and don’ts” to consider.

DO Conduct Research

While there’s probably a salary figure in your head that you’d like to make, you need to base you negotiating position on industry standards, local cost of living, a sense of the company’s finances and the talent availability for the role.

For instance, someone negotiating in New York City with a Fortune 500 company for a highly specialized position can probably demand a premium compensation package. On the other hand, someone negotiating with a small local company in Scranton, Pa. over a low-skill entry-level position probably isn’t going to be able to get out of a negotiation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics and Occupational Outlook Handbook are great resources for conducting research.

DO Have a Range in Mind

First of all, you should avoid offering up salary requirements without being asked as doing this puts you on a weaker negotiating footing. If you’re pushed for a salary requirement, don’t commit to an exact dollar amount. Instead, have a range that can live with. This leaves room for negotiation.

Do Make a Strong Case for Yourself

If you aren’t blown away by an initial offer, you should politely decline it by saying you were hoping for a higher amount.

You should then negotiate depending on how well your qualifications match the demands for the position, and not on what you made in the past or what you are making currently. You should consider yourself in a strong position if you are an ideal match for the position.

After pointing out that you have exactly what the company is looking for, you can bring up your salary research and suggest a rate based on your qualifications and experience. By basing you position in hard numbers, skills and experience, you are making your salary request objective rather than subjective.

DO Be Open to a Range of Perks and Benefits

If the company can’t move on salary, you should move on to any perks or benefits commiserate with your skills and experience. Paid leave and schedule flexibility are two areas where an employer might be able to offer some concessions. Just make sure you get them in writing.

A Few DON’Ts:

  • Don’t exaggerate your current or past earnings to try to strengthen your negotiating position.
  • Don’t feel pressured to accept the first offer right away.
  • Don’t get too aggressive, as you will have to work with these people if you take the job.
  • Don’t let your ego get involved or play games with the process.

At Action Group, we fully support professional who are trying to get fair value for their skills and experience. If you want to work with a talent acquisition firm that feels passionately about getting professionals what they deserve, please contact us today.

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