Salary Negotiations

by Mr. Cheap

I recently had a buddy lose his job, and go through the whole job hunt process. He found a new position, and we got on the phone when he wasn’t sure if he was going to take it or not (the salary was lower than his last position). I was shocked that he was debating saying yes or no (leaning towards no) and leaving it at that.

With employment, two needs are being met. The employer is helping the employee with his need for money, and the employee is helping the business with their need for labour. By acting like a beggar when you approach a company, you really aren’t doing yourself any favours (and aren’t understanding the reality of the situation).

When I said to my friend to start negotiating, he glumly told me that the guy had said that the salary offer was the maximum the board would approve and he was viewing it as “take it or leave it”. My response was “ok, leave the salary alone and ask for other things”, such as:

1) A signing bonus. Some companies will balk at the idea, but will sometimes be ok with the idea if you deliver it as something else, such as a relocation re-compensation or training re-compensation for some courses you recently took.

2) A budget for training. Pitch it as it’ll be helpful for your personal development AND for the company. Stress that you’ll take courses that’ll be useful to the work you’re doing at the company.

3) An equipment budget. Ask for a discretionary electronics budget for a pda, laptop, external hard drive, books, or other small items that you wouldn’t want to official apply for approval to purchase.

4) A company car or some sort of car allowance (no idea how this works, as I’ve never gotten anything like this, but some people must).

5) More vacation, the same money for less work is as good as more money in Mr. Cheap’s book.

6) A conference budget, i.e. a discretionary fund you can use to attend conferences for career development.

In the end my friend got them to provide a Blackberry (which he loves and was missing from his last job) and a training budget, which when added to his salary, bumps him up to more then he was making before.

Surprisingly, even companies that have “fixed salary levels” can often be flexible with things like this (if you can call it something other than salary, they can often find the money to make it happen).

If you’re about to say no to a job offer, or are ready to quit, why not ask for a few extra perks? The worst the can say is no…

Any suggestions for other non-monetary job perks you can ask for or suggestions to other salary negotition mind tricks?

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