The Art of Negotiating Salary, Commissions, and Bonuses

When you're looking for a new job, you don't just want a position that will allow you to "get by." You want a job that will fulfill your financial expectations--and that includes salary, commissions, and bonuses.

The last thing you should do is wait until after you've already started a new job to start trying to convince the company to raise your income.

The last thing you should do is wait until after you've already started a new job to start trying to convince the company to raise your income.

If you're thinking about negotiating your salary for a new position, keep these tips in mind.

Tip #1: Know When to Negotiate

WHEN to negotiate one's salary is irrelevant if you are already aware that company policy does not allow for flexibility in regard to starting pay. Do the research and know this information on the front end.

WHEN to negotiate one's salary is irrelevant if you are already aware that company policy does not allow for flexibility in regard to starting pay. Do the research and know this information on the front end.

Before you start negotiating salary, commissions, and bonuses, there's one key question you need to have answered: Is it negotiable? Some organizations, especially larger companies, have firm starting rates and the potential to increase your compensation only during specific points throughout the year. Others are open to negotiation. Make sure that you know whether or not your compensation is open to negotiation before you start.

Tip #2: Do Your Research

In order to discover the appropriate salary range for your chosen position, you need to do your research and know what's normal for employees in your field. From base salary to commissions, make sure you have an accurate picture. Take into consideration your field, your experience, and your geographic location before deciding that the offer you've been given isn't adequate.

It's also important to have a good understanding of the job and its value to the company since this can help improve your negotiating power. One great way to find out what your position is really worth? Talk to recruiters when they call to offer you a job. They'll be able to give you great insight regarding potential salary ranges.

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As you're considering your salary needs, make sure you know what you really want (a specific number looks best to employers!) and have an idea of the salary offer that's so low, you'll walk away rather than continuing negotiations. This helps build your negotiating power and gives you confidence! 

Tip #3: How to Approach Your Negotiation

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Before you jump into the negotiation, make sure you understand the full package. A great base salary is fantastic. The company may also, however, be offering some key benefits that you're overlooking. This might include some or all of the following: 

  • A great benefits package
  • Paid time off
  • Moving allowances
  • Signing bonuses
  • Anything else that's included in the offer

Ideally, you should ask for information about the offer in writing. This will give you time to consider all the benefits of the offer and increase the odds that the company will follow through on the offer they're giving you. If you haven't been given an offer yet, on the other hand, keep in mind that you hold the power: if you throw out the first number, that will be the basis for negotiation for the rest of your salary discussions. 

When you're ready to negotiate, go in with confidence! Practice your power pose, drink some coffee, or do whatever is necessary to put yourself in the right frame of mind. Know your benefit to the company and what you're worth to them, and you'll be more likely to negotiate the salary you need. 

Tip #4: Forming Your Salary Request

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When you're asked for your salary range or for your salary history, be honest! Be realistic with both yourself and your employer about the amount of money you need to make in order to be happy. If your current salary history isn't in keeping with what you'd like to be making, stay honest anyway. You can show certifications that you've gained, additional responsibilities that you'll be taking on with the company, and other information that will make it obvious that you're worth the increase.

Salary negotiations can be challenging and stressful, but they're also an important part of being sure that you're able to take care of your needs and stay with your job long-term. Need more help moving into a position that will meet your needs? Contact us today to learn more.