Receiving a job offer can be a very exciting time. After all of the hard work and preparation that you put into your job search have finally paid off. But speaking of paying off, when it comes to the salary negotiation, things can often become quite challenging for most people. Salary negotiation is a sensitive issues as many people just are not that comfortable discussing money, especially when it comes down to a prospective future employer whom you’re trying to impress. However, if can can navigate this process successfully, you can not only walk away with a compensation package that is acceptable to you, but you can showcase interpersonal skills which the employer may find as an attractive quality for you to bring to the job.
Here are five key questions to focus on during a salary negotiation.
How firm is this job offer?
This is typically a great way to begin the salary negotiation process as it opens up the discussion by allowing you to feel out the amount of room that the hiring manager has to work with. This varies greatly from job to job and also is highly dependent on how badly the employer wants you specifically to fill the position.
Are there other forms of compensation?
While this question does not apply to all positions, such as those that often just pay a flat base salary or hourly rate, this is a very important question to ask for many openings. With performance-based compensation becoming more and more common for companies to offer after the recent recession, being able to fully understand the scope of a compensation package is key to making a sound decision.
Are there opportunities for an increase?
With most positions, there will be some form of increase in pay over time, even if it is just an annual percentage increase for cost of living. However, during your salary negotiation period, you should ask if the company offers the prospect for higher pay in the future based on performance and other factors. This can provide you with a better understanding of your long-term earning potential with the employer.
What benefits are associated with the compensation?
With the rising cost of health care, the way that companies are structuring their benefits plans seems to be in flux more than ever. Be sure to ask for details regarding company health plans or retirement benefits. While you may not place a lot of emphasis on benefits initially, they can add a significant boost to the overall value of a compensation package and understanding their value can help you to make a more informed decision as to how you should be negotiating the actual salary portion of your compensation.
May I have the offer in writing?
As difficult as it may be to ask this question to a prospective employer, it can eliminate potential complications in the future. In many companies, especially smaller firms or start-ups, things can change quickly. And as much as we don’t want to think about it, having the compensation details provided to you in writing can provide you with firm documentation to back you up in the event that a potential employer decides to make changes to your pay package.
While the salary negotiation phase can sometimes feel daunting and uncomfortable, asking the right questions can steer you through this process successfully. The most important thing to keep in mind is to remain professional at all times and be respectful. Just remember that you are negotiating with a prospective future employer with whom you could be working day in and day out. You want to make certain that you offer the right first impression.