You are in the salary negotiations phase with your to-be employer, you took our advice after reading Part 1 of Salary Negotiation Basics.
You have presented your case to your current or future employer, and now have received your offer. Fantastic! Do not get overly excited at this point and lose your leverage. Acknowledge and softly thank them for the offer. Do not commit to the offer or accept any of it on the spot. Tell them you need the weekend, or 2-3 days, to review it and you will get back to them. This is the end of phase one of the negotiation process.
Great job remaining patient during phase one. Phase two now involves more self-discovery and patience into what is important to both you and the employer. The first thing you need to do is read and review the offer. When reviewing the offer, here are a few red flags that we here at AKA Search Group want you to be aware of.
Salary Negotiations Red Flags
- Your desired, reasonable salary was listed at $165,000 and they offered you $148,000.
- You are not in a sales role and are not applying for a start-up. However, your total target compensation is made up of only 35-45% base salary.
- For potential bonuses, it states “shall be eligible for a discretionary bonus”, or “goals for bonuses TBD at a later date.”
If your offer has one of these in them, this is not the end of the world. Once your offer contains two or more, the employer is throwing all the risk on you. Being able to spot this is critical during salary negotiations.
Now if your offer does not contain multiple red flags, let’s discuss what you should be thinking about now.
How does this fit your long-term goals?
Is the offer written in a way that rewards you in the long term, but you know that you only want to stay with the employer for a year or two? Or vice versa, is the offer written to reward you in the short term, but you are looking for more in-depth and long-term rewards?
Your offer includes more than salary, bonus, and PTO.
- What About Health Insurance?
- Paid for Training?
- Phone Reimbursement?
- Mileage Reimbursement?
- Non-Compete Verbiage?
All these small items can add up to a larger difference in your total take-home compensation and they are a critical component of salary negotiations. Especially if you are required to drive around for sales appointments every day. Why work for a commission, which is taxed, and then use that taxed money to pay for gas and your car’s repairs? The employer should be covering this if they truly want top talent. This is just one example. Another is health insurance. Is the employer offering to cover any percentage of the premium? Most employers do cover 25% to 50% of health premiums, so be sure to check for this.
Does the company have constraints?
If you are applying to a small-sized business, they most likely will have some constraints and we want you to be mindful of this during salary negotiations. The larger the company, the more they can offer to you. Be mindful of this in either event. If it is a small business and they are unable to offer health insurance premium coverage or a base salary at your desired level, are they willing to provide a larger back-end bonus for results you deliver to make up the difference? Look for these leverage points where the company’s constraints can help your overall compensation and the company’s goals mutually.
This article is the second in a series of articles discussing salary negotiations from AKA Search Group. Utilizing business basics, such as conducting a SWOT analysis, can be a crucial first step when preparing for salary negotiations. Then ensuring you are patient and thoughtful after receiving the offer is even more important. Remember, business is business. Salary negotiation is simply a business transaction. Conduct your preparation and execution as such.