Things to Consider When Negotiating An Offer

You’ve successfully navigated the interview process, wowed them with your abilities, and an offer is on the way! Congrats, you go Glenn Coco! The hard part is over.. or is it? Now comes the time for an offer, and if it is not exactly what you were hoping for, here are a few things to consider when negotiation process.

Do I need direct prior experience to ask for the salary I want?

Not necessarily. Do you have personal experience to backup your untraditional background (ie - you run your own blog or e-commerce business)? Does your untraditional background offer you a unique outlook or set of skills? Think of your experience as everything from an internship, side job, passion project, volunteer opportunity, or hobby.

Who will I be negotiating with?

You will likely be negotiating with your recruiter or manager. I would keep in mind that when you are negotiating with your manager, you are going to be working for this person so be realistic and have an honest conversation about why you are asking for a certain salary. You've received other offers at this compensation, you are expecting to make this amount in your current company, this is the market average for a role like this, are all good reasons. “Because I am worth it”, not so much.

What should I consider when evaluating my offer?

The salary, while important, is only part of the job offer. I would look at your offer holistically, rather than just narrowing in on the salary.

Things to consider other than salary:

1. Benefits - My company’s benefits package is equal to about $15,000! That is money right back into your pocket.

Does your company offer to prorate your cost for health insurance? Do they cover vision, dental, medical, long term disability or short term disability? Do you receive extra perks like tuition reimbursement, parental leave, 401k (bonus if they have a match), commuter benefits? Also a big one.. do they cover parking (you'd be surprised how many companies charge you to come to work) and if you carpool or walk can you be reimbursed for that cost?

2. Perks - Does the company you are planning to work for cover Friday lunches or offer bagel Wednesdays? Do they have a gym or workout classes? Some companies these days offer massage, meditation, pet friendly offices, ect. See what perks may not have been mentioned during your interview.  

3. Stock - The first company I worked for offered me 1,000 stock options (the standard offering for an entry level position) when I started. I had no idea what that meant at the time. Flash forward 5 years later after the company went public and I cashed in my stock for about $50,000! Stock is huge and in some cases more valuable than salary.

4. Vacation - Your vacation days are money in your pocket but an unlimited vacation policy could offer you the flexibility to take more time off. If your previous company offered 2 weeks and your new company offers 1 week, see if they would be willing to come up.

5. Flexible work schedule - Questions to ask: Do they offer remote work opportunities, summer Fridays, a great holiday schedule? Working from home on rainy days so I don't have to brave traffic, seriously makes all the difference to me sometimes.

6. Bonus - Questions to ask: How do bonuses work at your future company? When are they paid? How many people receive a full bonus? Is this based on personal performance or company performance?

7. Is this an exempt (salary) or non-exempt position (hourly)? It should say so in your offer. Do you get overtime? Is there a cap? Most OT is paid at 1.5x your rate. For example - You make $20/hr. Without any overtime (40 hrs per week or 2080 hrs per year) you would make $41,600.00. Say you work an 5 extra hours every week (260 hours per year), your rate for these hours would be $30/hr. In a year your overall pay, would be $41,600 + ($30*260hrs) = $7,800) = $49,400. There is big difference between $41,600 and $49,400.

Check out here to see if you position should be an exempt or non-exempt position. Are you a coordinator or an assistant? Chances are you should be non-exempt.

8. Development - This one is the most important, I promise. For someone looking for career growth or even to stay relevant in your current field, building experience and skills should be the number one thing you look for in an offer. Does your company offer communication training, manager's training, a career development plan, a great manager who is willing to have open feedback and 1-1's with you. How does this company and position help your overall career goals?

My salary is lower than what I was hoping for. Anything I should know before asking for more?

Here are some things I would consider first, before asking for more money.

  1. What is the market rate for this position? Check Glassdoor or google "salary for marketing manager in LA."
  2. What do you bring to the table that another candidate could not?
  3. Could you realistically make this salary somewhere else?

Someone once told me that buying a house is a lot like accepting a new job. During the negotiation process, the buyer (the company) is going to try to get the best price without overpaying and the seller (the candidate) is going to try to get the best price without giving away too much. If really you want the house, you may be willing to pay more than you had budgeted for but you make it work within reason. But if you don't really want the house or its over your budget, you hold on to your money and find one that you like almost as much for the price you can pay.

Don’t ever be afraid to ask for more but also know going in what you would be willing to settle for. Consider the whole package and if you aren't able to get an offer you feel is fair, this company may not be for you.

Any additional tips?

Know your worth! Also, I would share any salary or total package expectations upfront before you get to the offer stage, so there are no surprises when you actually get an offer. If you receive an offer and it is less than what you were hoping for, say "Thank you so much for this opportunity! I'd like to read this over when I have some time to spend with it tonight. Can, I get back to you tomorrow (or on Monday, if it is Friday)?" This will give you some time to gather your thoughts and put together your asks.