Orville Pierson’s Blog

Negotiating Your Next Compensation Package

It’s not too soon to think about how to negotiate compensation for your next job. Even though most people have some “no-offer” interviews, watch out. Offers can strike at any time. So it’s best to be prepared.

In case you’d like to start working on it, I’ll give you the short five-point version right here.

1. Know the “going rate” for the kind of job you want in the geographic area you’re targeting. You’ll probably need to work on this. Free, accurate compensation surveys are rare. And the higher your comp, the rarer they are.

The best way to get compensation benchmarks is to ask around while networking: “What’s the range Amalgamated has paid for that kind of job in the past?” “What about their competition, what do they usually pay?”

If you can get a recruiter who specializes in your field to talk to you, that’s outstanding. But if you can’t get numbers, you can at least be informed on which organizations are generous and which are stingy with comp.

2. Don’t discuss specific salary numbers with Hiring Managers early on. (If you haven’t heard that one yet, you must be new to career transition.)

3. Negotiate only after an offer is on the table, and before you accept. Yeah, I know that seems obvious, but I’ve seen a lot of people get carried away and believe they could do otherwise. Jumping the gun on this can cost you the offer.

4. Beyond compensation, there is a whole list of other things that can potentially be negotiated on the way into a new job. In some cases, this even includes the job description and title.

5. Remember that offers can be withdrawn, so be judicious about what to negotiate. Propose and discuss, but don’t push it too hard. On the other hand, if the offer is so weak that you would turn it down, maybe you’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose

If you already knew those five points, you’re off to a good start. If not, you should probably go and read some books on it. There’s some suggestions right here on my website, and Jack Chapman has a pretty good one too.

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