What to consider when negotiating a compensation package

by Madison Nance

Marketing Associate at Charles Aris Inc.

We all know negotiating is easier said than done after you come to a preliminary agreement with your potential employer. When done well, however, it can accelerate your career. Effective negotiation enables both parties to evaluate and understand your worth to the organization and in the marketplace.

What’s the best way to approach a potentially delicate situation? Kevin Stemke, a senior associate recruiter at Charles Aris, says the key to successful negotiation is having a plan.

“Know what’s important to you,” Stemke said. “Know what you want out of the role and in a compensation package. Think about what you’re potentially walking away from when negotiating. Think about vacation, relocation costs, real estate cost impacts, et cetera.”

Once you have all the information and have thought about the package holistically, decide what you’re willing to give up for a particular role in a particular organization – and what you’re unwilling to compromise on. When you’re ready to talk negotiation, make sure you have reasons and evidence to bolster your desire to land the best compensation package possible.

“Negotiating is a good thing and we encourage people to negotiate if there is a good reason,” Stemke said. “Have a legitimate reason behind why you want a signing bonus – not just that you want one.”

You have one shot to negotiate, so do it in good faith. Put thought into what you’re asking for; if the employer is willing to offer you what you’re asking, the fair assumption is that you will accept.

“It reflects poorly on the potential employee if the employer accepts your ask and you then come back and ask for something else,” Stemke added.

If the organization can’t or simply won’t offer what you requested, it’s time to ask yourself a few clarifying questions:

  • Am I willing to accept anyway?
  • Should I try to meet them in the middle?
  • Should I decline the offer?

Know that it’s perfectly acceptable to do what’s best for you. Just know when you’re exceeding both your limits and the organization’s.