In negotiating the terms of employment your goal is to get what you want in terms of job content, compensation and control while maintaining your values and self-esteem. To accomplish this you should reduce ambiguity, manage your own anxiety and understand that you are developing a reputation that will stay with you after the negotiation.
Values / Worth / Self-Esteem
- Keep perspective – the job is the goal, not specific dollar amounts.
- In the interview process, establish your worth and value to the organization in each statement.
- Appear as someone who is evaluating information in order to make a decision about the position.
- Research the market to discover the appropriate range for you.
- Assess your competitive position – how badly do they want you and what, if any, are their alternatives to determine your leverage in this negotiation.
- Assess the internal landscape – understanding the company’s policies and compensation structure will uncover the negotiable aspects of the package.
- Determine your own priorities your “must haves” and where you’re willing to be flexible. Use the Compensation and Benefit Checklist to help.
- Get the offer, then negotiate.
- Ask about the company’s timeline and urgency.
- Treat this as a business transaction – leave your personal baggage out of the conversation.
- Evaluate different scenarios – determine acceptable possibilities and tradeoffs before the discussion.
Set the Tone
- Aim at a dialogue about the criteria and your potential contributions.
- Keep it positive and professional.
- Exercise patience – there may be unknown factors that cause delays.
- Negotiating doesn’t need to be negative; you should look for a win-win situation. If you are happy you will be a more productive employee. If you sell yourself short and are not content with the compensation package it could lead to frustration with your employer.
Contract Elements (when applicable) – while most employment in the US is on an “Employment At Will Basis”, there are situations where a contract is negotiated. In those instances, you should consider the following:
- Term – usually 3-5 years.
- Duties – should be general.
- Compensation – strive to include a minimum without upside limitations.
- Benefits – consider sign-on, bonuses, relocation, expense accounts, health.
- Termination – conduction of and terms of justification.
- Severance – include the monetary remuneration, outplacement and continuance of benefits.