Our worth is priceless and can never be negotiated.
From this truth, we can negotiate with kindness and courage.
— The Courage Practice

ON NEGOTIATION

Negotiation is an essential aspect of career development. We often think of negotiation as an action taken in order to position ourselves for optimal career growth; however, negotiation is and of itself a practice of career growth. 

We learn much when we negotiate--about ourselves and those with whom we are in conversation. 

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THE PRINCIPLES OF NEGOTIATION

  • The first person to give a number always loses; yet sometimes you will have to share yours so there are specific ways to navigate this with integrity and courage. See below.

  • Employers expect you to negotiate, particularly in the hiring process. If you don't negotiate, you're leaving approximately $500,000 on the table throughout the course of your full career. 
  • The current average employee raise in the United States is 3-5%. The cost of living can increase annually at roughly the same rate based on your geographic location alone. Therefore, negotiation during your sign-on experience is a crucial step in beginning a new role with greater financial ease from your prior position. 

  • It is highly rare for an offer to be rescinded based upon a negotiation. At most, negotiation is not possible due to the organization's financial structure and where your position lands within it. However, negotiation will open this door of dialogue and the possibility of a sign-on bonus to be offered instead. 

  • When discussing salary, make it about your contributions and the responsibility you're taking on for the shared purpose that exists between you and the company. Never make it about your personal situation. Ever. 

 

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NEGOTIATION PREPARATION

1. CALCULATE YOUR 'ALL IN' NUMBER. This number includes all salary and benefits you desireThis number commonly includes: 

  • The base salary
  • The benefits, including health, dental, vision, life, retirement, etc. 
  • The paid time off (vacation and/or sick time)
  • The bonuses (monetary or otherwise within the company)
  • Additional company perks (supplies, stipends, complimentary services, etc.)

2. RESEARCH YOUR INDUSTRY & MARKET. Know your facts and figures based on your desired role, market, industry, and geographic location. Both CareerBliss, Glassdoor, the company website, as well as their competitors' websites are great resources for these insights. LinkedIn may also provide you salary insights for the company if you hold a premium account. 

3. THE INITIAL 'WHAT IS YOUR DESIRED SALARY' RESPONSE. "I'm negotiable depending upon the range offered for the position. My first priority is finding the right fit."  Ensure your tone is confident, strong, friendly but neutral. Be prepared to discuss salary twice -- within the initial interview as well as the job offer.

4. THE SECONDARY RESPONSE WHEN PRESSED. "I'm currently being considered for similar positions in the range of $ to $. However, my first priority is finding the right overall fit."

 

THE 'YOU GOT THE JOB' PHONE CALL

When you receive that fabulous phone call, emotions tend to kick in quickly. Here are a few tips to ensure the phone call--as exciting as it may be--is clear, smooth, and strategic to opening the negotiation doorway. 

1. Stay positive, friendly, upbeat but noncommittal. Kind of like a first date. 

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2. Ask for the details, request a formal offer letter, and get off the phone. 

  • A formal offer letter outlines the offer in more detail to ensure you're making a fully informed decision. It also buys you time should you be weighing other offers too. 
  • Sample Language: "This all sounds really great. When I can take a look at the written offer letter? Wonderful! Do you mind if I take 24 hours to read it through as well? The job sounds great I just want to get a snapshot of my full employment package. I'm very excited to move forward."

3. Never negotiate on the spot. It is okay to ask for more than 24 hours to consider an offer.

4. Following the phone call and while waiting for the formal offer letter, research online the salary ranges again -- for the company and its competition. Review Glassdoor for its salary reviews and LinkedIn to see what similar roles are earning. 

THE NEGOTIATION APPROACH

IF YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB OFFER AT THE SAME TIME: This is the strongest position to be in and can be utilized if you believe another offer is just about to come in as well. 

Sample Language: "I really appreciate this offer. However, I am currently weighing it against another offer as well. However, I know this one is a better overall fit for me."

IF YOU ARE HEAVILY NETWORKING AND APPLYING: This approach isn't as strong as having another offer but very useful when in the heart of networking and applications. 

Sample Language: "I'm being considered for positions in the range of (insert salary range) but I know this role is a better fit for me."

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THE NEGOTIATION PHONE CALL

  • "Hello! Thank you so much for the offer letter. I've read it through and it looks very exciting! I just have a few last-minute questions..."
  • "When do the benefits kick in?" (Only ask if it's not included in the offer letter clearly)
  • "Wonderful. My second question is related to salary...is it negotiable? I ask because..."(insert the applicable approach). "Is it possible for you to meet me halfway?"
  • "Okay, well, I figured I would ask but I would like to accept the offer. I know this is the right fit and I'm excited to join the team!" 

when salary is not negotiable

Sample Approach: "I realize the salary range is not flexible at this time and I completely understand. With that said, I am very interested in working with you so I'd love to know if it is possible to revisit and renegotiate my salary if I do an extraordinary job in the first six months. Would it be possible to meet in the middle this way and have this agreement added to my initial contract?"

Upon their verbal agreement, ask for specific ways you can do an extraordinary job.

  • Get clear numbers and benchmarks.
  • Be sure to write these tangible examples down.
  • Mark your calendar accordingly from your start date. 
  • Then knock them out of the park in the first six months.
  • At the appointed calendar date, make a request to your direct manager to revisit this conversation again.
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COURAGEOUS THOUGHT & ACTION EXERCISE

1. Research the market, industry, geography, and confirm your "ALL IN" number. 

2. Review and commit to memory the key approaches and language important for your negotiation. Tweak to match your own language, tone, and approach. 

3. Write out a negotiation tip sheet to have on hand for your phone calls alongside your written offer letter for reference. Practice with a friend or your coach. 

Lean into the negotiation process with courage. Never forget that how you show up to this process demonstrates leadership and confidence to your potential employer. And when you don’t ask, you miss out on what is truly possible. So prepare, practice, and ask.
— Tonyalynne Wildhaber

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