3 Salary Negotiation Rules You Should Never Break


Getting and acing the interview feels like a homerun, but it’s really a third-base play. Stepping on the home plate happens after the offer, salary negotiations and your signature is signed on the dotted line.

Some job seekers are so eager about closing in on the finish line that they may not carefully evaluate and counter the compensation offer. It’s an important final job search stage, so protect yourself and don’t break any of these rules.

You get paid what the job is worth
It’s not breaking the rules for a company to ask what you were paid in your last job. But it’s also okay for you not provide this information. Most recruiters or hiring managers want to know your current or previous salary to make sure the compensation is within a range you will consider. However, that may not be the best approach.

Asking about a candidate’s earning history can also be a way to low ball an offer. A better approach is to ask for an applicant’s salary expectations. That is a fair approach. If you are asked the salary question, it’s definitely appropriate to turn the question around and ask for the salary range for the position. That gives you a chance to decide upfront if that range fits your experience and anticipated comp. You should be paid for what the job is worth in terms of scope of responsibility and experience required, not for your past or present earning power in a jobs that may not be apples to apples.

Consider the complete compensation package
Don’t focus so much on the annual salary number. There are other variables that add up to the total bottom line. Fully paid healthcare benefits, although rare, do happen, and that’s a big chunk of change of over $5,000 for single coverage or double that for family coverage. Get the details of the company’s insurance coverage, including the percent of employee responsibility and deductibles. Life insurance, disability insurance, etc., as well as 401k contributions impact the total compensation. If a company matches 30% of your 401k, that’s a nice deal.

Look at all benefits, such as daycare, free or discounted meals, and stock options before making your decision. Carefully review the stock program, the number of diluted shares and their actual worth. A large number of options can be enticing, but it’s their actual or potential worth per share that matters.

Don’t accept less because it’s a remote job
It’s an error and red flag is a company offers a lower salary in exchange for a remote role. There are some benefits a home-based gig, but you should be paid for the work that you are doing, not where you are doing it. If a company hires the right talent, most employees will tend to work longer and harder at home than in an office where many distractions exist. The company wins. Plus, the company saves on expensive office space that you’re not using, which could be thousands of dollars per month. Be prepared to address that in your salary negotiations.

Coming to an agreement on your value to a company isn’t a fun part of the job search process, but with insights on how to approach the offer stage, you can command the salary you deserve.

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