While applying for jobs, most people focus on a single negotiable aspect - money. However, during the crucial time of having been offered a job, many naïvely ignore some important aspects that make up a good job and find themselves stuck in their predicament for years after they have joined the job.
This happens to many of us in the early stages of our careers because we are not suitably prepared. Money is only one part of what could have been negotiated, and the following pointers will help you go into your next negotiation much better prepared.
Salary is not the only thing up for negotiation
Whether explicitly mentioned or not, compensation packages always come with other benefits woven in. It does not matter if you are negotiating a job offer or trying to wriggle in benefits during a performance appraisal, know that there is almost always more up for grabs.
For example, you could bargain for a different start date if you want a little break before you begin the job; more vacation or paid time off; flexible hours or work-from-home days (post-Covid); relocation to another branch or office; home office set-up stipends; phone, Internet, or co-working space reimbursements; professional development or external training opportunities; a better job title to boost your resume.
Do your homework
Now you know what you can ask for, but you are not ready to jump into a negotiation just yet.
Start by researching your prospective employer. Browsing sites like Glassdoor or LinkedIn can help you glimpse into what it is like to work at most organisations. If you already know someone who is, or has, worked in the company, you can consult with them about salaries for various roles, benefits, and work culture.
Conversations are the key here because the more you talk about a certain aspect, the more information you will gather and the better you will get at communicating with your peers.
Being more confident will also help you stay calm and centred should your stress levels rise during the actual conversation.
Identify your negotiables and non-negotiables
Knowing what you are and are not willing to compromise on prior to entering a negotiation can help you clarify queries, and sometimes, figure out if a role is right for you in the first place.
For instance, if an employer requires you to accept circumstances that make you a miserable employee, it may be an indicator that it is time to walk away.
Start from a place of agreement
We most often fail to get what we want when we enter a negotiation with the wrong mindset. Catalysts create change by mitigating obstacles. In your own negotiation, think about how you can be a catalyst. What barriers can you remove to make it easier for the hiring manager to change course and agree with you?
The first step is to emphasize the things you have in common. This removes you from an adversarial footing and invites the hiring manager to be more candid, viewing you as part of the same team.
The next step is to determine what the other person cares about. Ask yourself: What do they need to achieve right now? Knowing that, how can you get what you want? For example, you might care a lot about choosing your work hours throughout the week and if you understand where the hiring manager can give you leeway and where they cannot, you can more easily suggest a compromise.
Whatever you're after, ask. Then, listen actively to the hiring manager's response. If they shut you down, reply in a non-defensive way. By asking the right questions, you can start to guide the discussion, understand limitations, and possibly use that knowledge to come to a compromise.
Above all, remember that the moment you have been selected for a job, you need to think about how you will advocate for yourself in the new role. Salary may initially seem like the most important thing, but use the above advice to get the most out of your offer. There are ways to collaboratively unearth ideal outcomes - both for you and your next employer.