Negotiating for What You Want

Job Search

List of Wants photo from ShuttestockNegotiating for what you want, and rarely is money, the most important!

Before you can start negotiating, you have to know what you want. Most people think this is about money. I say bull hockey. Think for a moment, what have been the most critical things that have made you happy in your past jobs?

I will almost guarantee you that they were not monetary.

When I took my last corporate gig in December of 2007, my wife and I had planned a three-week trip to Italy for September 2008. I was offered a position to build a sales training program and September is the third and last month of the quarter. This is usually when sales teams are going full blast to make their numbers. I made it very clear that my wife was the real boss. What I wanted was to have these three weeks be paid time off whether I had PTO time available or not. As it turns out, we did not go to Italy. The recession set in and we went to Oregon for two weeks.

My boss did not question me taking vacation during September.

Intangible are worth more than cash

What is important to you?

  • Work from home?
  • Child care?
  • Pet care or maybe you want to bring your dog to the office?
  • Schedule? Maybe the traffic is horrible at certain times of day. You can negotiate the time you need to be in the office.
  • Desk chair? After I ruptured the L4/L5 disc in my back, I learned how important a proper desk chair can be.
  • Cell phone? For years, I refused to take a company phone. If it is my phone, I have the right not to answer it!

Develop a list of the items that are important to you. Remember the non-financial requirements are likely more important than the financial ones. Negotiate on the non-financial items first! Once they have made an offer, they have made a commitment to hiring you. They will not easily walk away. Use that to your advantage. It often turns out money is the least important negotiating point but is usually the one we put the most emphasis on!

Financial requirements

Never ever tell them what you currently make or what you want! Never! Never! Never! Know what you are worth! Talk to peers. The world has changed and people will talk about compensation. Look at the entire compensation including salary, benefits, 401(k) match, stock option, employee stock purchase plans, etc.

Check some of these websites for salary comparisons:

  • Glassdoor Salary Comparison
  • Salary Search

When you are given an offer, never ever accept it on the same day. If they insist on an immediate answer, then walk away as fast as you can! The answer is no. If the offer is low, tell them you want more. If they ask how much more you want, you respond I want to be compensated fairly. Do not take the bait!

Focus on the work environment and follow your gut instincts.

Create a list of intangible/non-financial requirements so that you are prepared when an offer letter comes.

Why are you leaving your current job? Negotiate for what is missing in your current position and it is rarely about money!

This post is an excerpt from my book Repurpose Your Career – A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers.