Know Your Value
Now you know what you can ask for, but you’re not ready to jump into a negotiation just yet. If you want to walk away with more than you had, there is some pre-work to be done.
Start by researching your prospective employer. Sites like Glassdoor or Fishbowl can give a glimpse into what it’s like to work at most organizations, including salaries for various roles, benefits, and culture. But if you put in a little more effort, you can learn much more about what factors into a job offer.
Ask your friends in the industry, or those around you who might have friends at that company, any bit of information will help.
If you don’t have immediate connections that you feel comfortable seeking advice from, consider looking into your university alumni network. Fellow alumni may be willing to help you practice your negotiation skills and can recommend others who’d be relevant for you to chat with as well.
Identify Your Negotiables and Non-negotiables
Knowing what you are and aren’t willing to compromise prior to entering a negotiation can help you make clearer asks, and sometimes, figure out if a role is right for you in the first place.
Here’s a simple task: Make a Venn diagram to figure out where your personal and professional goals converge. Whatever objectives lie in that area of overlap are your non-negotiables. These are your dealbreakers, your red lines where no agreement can be reached. It could be staying geographically close to your loved ones, flexible work hours, onsite child care, or a salary over 70K. Whatever they are, it’s best not to compromise on these points.
What’s your number - the one you actually want?
What’s your number, the minimum you’ll accept?
Know the numbers, and be prepared to walk away if your numbers aren’t met.
Don’t focus entirely on the salary as you negotiate.
Many people only negotiate salary and bonuses, but that is a mistake. There are many other elements of a job that can be negotiated and may make the difference between feeling appropriately compensated for your work and not. Find out what terms are on the table so you can prioritize which ones matter most to you before the initial job offer.
Here’s a sampling of what you can potentially negotiate for beyond salary:
A different start date (if you want a little break before you begin) Greater 401(k) contribution (in the U.S.) More vacation or paid time off (PTO) Flexible hours or work-from-home days (post-Covid) Relocation to another branch or office A signing bonus (this may be tied to relocation, if that isn’t covered) A performance bonus later in the year Equity percentages or stock options Home office set-up stipends Phone, Internet, or co-working space reimbursements Professional development or external training opportunities Ability to present at industry conferences A direct report or budget for freelance talent A better job title (to boost your resume) Reimbursement of travel expenses
Use your coach, your friends, your partner, your kids, anyone you can to practice your conversation.
If helpful, try the following:
Write down what you’re going to say Write down any objections you might hear, and come up with your responses Set up a mock negotiation with your coach Practice in front of a mirror or record your pitch on your phone and play it back
You’ve got this!