Allison Cheston, Career Connector

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Negotiating Your Big Move

 

I am heartened to report that I am starting to see clients being tapped for new jobs, and am also seeing employers who are seeking new talent. This is great news for many reasons.

What I am also seeing, though, is a lot of fear of negotiation, even if the candidate is currently employed and entitled to feel they are “in the driver’s seat”. This mystifies me.

Many of us have an inherent fear of negotiation, coupled with a discomfort with discussing money. Since salary negotiations feature that double-whammy, many candidates simply fold and take what they’re offered.

This is a mistake. First of all, when you have been tapped by a company to join them when you are already employed, you are in a powerful position. You don’t “need” the new job, but it is great to have the luxury of choice. And it’s perfectly reasonable to use the fact that you have a good alternative to get the employer to sweeten the offer. Of course I mean within reason; it’s important for both sides to feel good about the negotiations and where they net out.

Secondly, an offer should be treated as a starting point; in senior level negotiations in particular, that is the definition of an offer. If you feel the offer is a good one, you can convey that to the employer while also making the case for improving upon it.

Thirdly, you might view salary negotiations as something of a test. An employer will be interested to see how you handle the negotiation, whether you are confident and skilled or tentative. They will likely be thinking about you hiring and managing others, and how you would handle those negotiations going forward.

When you’re considering the offer, remember to break down its components into salary, bonus, benefits and perks. There may be leeway in an area that’s important to you and less so to the employer, so think creatively and know what you need to feel great about making the move. Don’t forget that it’s always a significant risk to leave an environment you know for a new frontier, and you want every assurance that the new company will be a good fit.

It’s important to know your worth. Contact your industry trade association, network with colleagues and search consultants in the field, check job listings for similar roles. Although it is only a ballpark, you can also have an analysis conducted by Salary.com.

To read more on this topic, here are a few excellent resources I suggest:

Ask for It (It’s not just for women!)

Compensation Tips: Everything is Negotiable

Getting to Yes (the bible on negotiating!)