Salary Negotiations

Posted: 11/20/2013

By: Elias Cobb, Quantix Recruiting Manager

 What are some do's and don'ts job seekers should adhere to when negotiating salary for a new job?

  • Do negotiate!
  • Don't make the entire conversation about money. You don't want the employer to think that you only care about money. Most companies want people who WANT to work for them and love their job; not just the paycheck.
  • Don't negotiate on things that aren't that important to you, at least early on in the process. Examples would be dressing casually, a parking pass, etc. If they won't make a difference in whether or not you accept the position, wait until you've hashed out the money - once that's close, you can add in some other perks in lieu of a higher salary.
  • Don't get offended by a company's offer. Remember this is BUSINESS, it's not personal. If they lowball you, come back with what you want and negotiate from there.
Should the candidate be the one to bring up salary or should they wait until the employer brings it up?

  • The old adage is "He who speaks first loses." I disagree with that - if the job seeker puts a number out first, then they are in control of the salary negotiation, and they have set the bar. The only caveat is to make sure the number you throw out as a job seeker is something you can live with if they accept it. Always shoot higher than what you would accept.
What kinds of research should candidates be doing to come up with the salary they want?

  • Indeed, salary.com, Glassdoor, etc., are all great sources of information on salaries. Also take into account what you are currently making and make sure you know the company benefit package and bonus plan so you don't end up losing money.
Is it always OK to counter offer?

  • Yes, as long as it is done in good faith (meaning you will accept the counter offer you throw out). Also, remember that some companies have salary bands they may not be able to exceed. You can always negotiate perks and benefits - more PTO, telecommuting or a signing bonus are all things that could be on the table.

When do candidates know when they should no longer push for more money?

  • Each situation is different, but if the company is no longer negotiating, you know you've gone too far. I think the counter offer is fair; beyond that and you're getting into territory where the company may decide they don't want to deal with you.
If the company won't give the job seeker more money, what else should the candidate be negotiating? 

  • I touched on this above: signing bonus, telecommuting, more PTO/vacation time, more of a contribution to medical coverage, a review at three to six months that includes the opportunity for a raise, parking pass/allowance, etc.

Special considerations

  • If you are working through an agency, make sure to shoot a little high with the agency, but share your bottom line number. Companies often negotiate with agencies as well and want the agency to try for more money on your behalf, but you also want them to know what you will not accept.