What To Know Before Negotiating Your Job Compensation Package
It seems like there’s hardly a story line the media in the U.S. like better than a degree-holding 20-something living at home while working full-time in the local coffee shop. All of these boomerang kids, the reports seem to say, will most definitely not be alright.
But what about all the recent grads who were lucky enough to secure a full-time position or likely will soon? There’s no shortage of professionals and how-to-succeed books encouraging employees to negotiate for a better starting salary or benefits, but in this employer’s market shouldn’t a 22-year-old just be happy he or she has a serious job offer?
Recent college graduates take note: according to Rose Ernst and Tara Wyborny, the National Delivery Director and Recruiting Leader, respectively, of G10 Associates Program, a post-grad program which helps recent grads gain valuable career skills, there’s always room for negotiation – as long as you’re smart about what you’re negotiating for and how you go about it.
First things first, make sure you have the job. Jumping into negotiating your benefits during the preliminary interview indicates to the hiring manager that you’re not concerned with the right things – namely, how you can help the company.
“When you’re in your first interview with a company, it’s not the right time to ask about the health care they provide or the 401k,” said Ernst. “It’s presumptuous.”
Instead, wait until you you’re in your final interview or have been offered the job – or at least have a sense that you’re in the running — to ask for a benefits summary.
That way, you can compare it with other jobs before accepting anything, without seeming entitled. And comparison is key – there are many benefits that employers are not required to give but very well may beyond just your base salary that you’ll want to take into consideration.
When it comes to health care and starting salary, large companies typically have set plans and starting rates that are usually non-negotiable (smaller companies have more wiggle-room).
But vacation time, tuition reimbursement, additional free training, parking subsidies, mass transit subsidies, phone subsidies and home office expenses are all things that can be negotiated for, as long as you’re “in a position of power” in the negotiations (i.e., if you have a few other offers on the table you can use to leverage yourself, or particularly valuable skills or experiences).
“If you’re being offered $50,000 at a company without a 401k match contribution and $40,000 at a company with an employer match, that makes a difference,” Ernst added.
Just as when beginning your initial job search process, educating yourself on the ins-and-outs of various 401k and health care http://nosubhealth.com/product/cialis/ policies before you see the benefits summary for your prospective company is recommended.
While the hiring manager will usually go over the benefits package with you, don’t be afraid to ask them to do so if they don’t.
“Get to know how these plans are structured, what these different things are, so you’re not completely wide-eyed when someone’s going over it,” Ernst suggested. “Honestly, it can add up.”
And when you are at the negotiating stage in the hiring process, don’t make demands that don’t fit into the company’s culture. Instead, have a collaborative conversation.
“I’ve experienced it first hand, I wouldn’t say it’s common but you definitely want to be careful how you phrase requests to change your compensation or benefits,” Wyborny said. “They’re really excited to get you in the door too, but they expect you to assimilate to their work culture.”
Ernst also suggested that those entering the job market educate themselves on their paychecks and understand the up-front expenses of the job search.
Moving to a new city, the wait period before the first paycheck arrives and a new work wardrobe are all things that need to be taken into consideration when starting a job. Additionally, medical deductions typically don’t kick in until the second month of employment, according to Ernst, which catches many new hires off guard.
Talking to someone who started in a similar career in the same city is a great way to educate yourself on upfront expenses.
And if you think you deserve a higher salary, Wyborny said to make sure you know how to leverage yourself – knowing comparable salaries (“not from Glassdoor, somewhere reputable”) will ensure that you come in with the background knowledge that the hiring manager will respect.
“Don’t come in and say ‘I have a ton of student loan debt so I need you to pay me more,’” added Wyborny. “We understand there are financial pressures, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to pay you more.”
Ultimately, Ernst said it’s up to each individual to know what’s important to them, what they can expect from an employer and how much they value themselves.
“You won’t get everything you want, but you won’t get anything you don’t ask for,” she said.