California Lawyers Association

NEGOTIATING SALARY AND OTHER BENEFITS

Come across as more confident in the way you convey yourself during an interview.

Article Image

So you have a job offer and you get excited about the new company for which you may be working. But the salary offer is lower than you expected and the vacation time is not quite what you had hoped for. Is it a wise idea to negotiate for a higher salary or better benefits? How do you go about making the case for these things?

The key is to be reasonable with your requests and, above all, do some market research and know what you are worth. Starting salaries depend on many factors and employers simply may not want to talk money. However, you may be able to agree on other things to bridge the gap. Here are a few things to think about.

Market Research

As you approach the negotiating table, arm yourself with knowledge. It is important to know what the job you have been offered is paying on average. Take all factors into account, such as where the company is located, company size and industry standard. As you make your requests, show interest in working for the company. This may sway the employer to meet your requests amicably.

Think About More than Just Money

Benefits have a cash value to both you and the employer. This is where your market research is important. If you can show a gap between the industry standard pay scale and what you are offered, you may be able to negotiate a hiring bonus to close that gap. This is a onetime payment to you that is made on the first day of work.

Vacation Time

For the most part, you can expect two weeks of paid vacation time to start. Negotiating an extra week is more common than you may think. If you can show that you had accrued more than the two weeks at your previous job, you will most likely be awarded the request.

Short Term Performance Review

By negotiating an early performance review, you may be able to kill two birds with one stone. A positive review will earn you an early increase in base pay. This can serve to settle a lower than expected salary offer. This strategy also shows an employer that you are willing to prove your worth and are extremely interested in the position.

Schedule Flexibility

This is a fairly big factor for many people. If you see that you need flexibility in your work schedule, inquire about an alternate schedule such as four 10 hour days. Perhaps you need an early starting or quitting time to allow for family obligations. Telecommuting is becoming much more prevalent, so asking if that is an option is not unreasonable. All of these are viable options.

When you are truly ready to start moving your career forward, take charge and make it happen, you are the only one who can.