Since raises are based on current earnings, the salary you accept will determine your salary for the rest of your history with the company. If you accept something that is $5,000 below what you should receive, you’ll be $5,000 or more behind in raises, promotions, and bonuses for your entire tenure with an organization.
If you receive an offer that interests you, don’t be afraid to negotiate. A company invests a lot of time and money selecting a candidate. They don’t want to lose you now, so you have some leverage at this point that you will probably never have again.
You might begin a negotiation by saying, “Thank you for the offer. I’m very interested and would like a day to consider it. Is the salary fixed, or is it negotiable?” If the interviewer indicates that there is room to negotiate, say that you will think about it and call back the following day with an response and possible counter-offer. If they say the offer is not negotiable, I also recommend that you say you’ll think about it and call back later. I’ve known many a job seeker who lived to regret a hasty response, pro or con.
You can also negotiate paid leave, benefits, and other perks. I have a client who is a well-qualified nonprofit executive, and she gladly accepted a very low paying position with an agency that could ill afford to offer her any more money. Fortunately for them, she didn’t care about the money. She wanted more time off, and so she accepted the offer with the caveat that she receive six weeks of paid vacation a year. The company agreed, and everybody was happy.
As every sales representative in the world will tell you, all they can say is no. In fact, many employers expect job applicants to negotiate salary and other benefits, and deliberately make offers a little (and sometimes more than a little) low. I have actually had hiring executives tell me they are disappointed when a candidate accepts a position with no attempt to negotiate a better offer. So keep that in mind, and don’t be afraid to ask for more.
~ Anne Follis, CPRW
© Copyright 2010, Anne Follis. All rights reserved.
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