Here’s What’s Often Overlooked in Compensation Negotiations

There’s nothing quite like it, and when a great company offers you a great job it’s certainly natural to feel euphoria. You’re overjoyed and probably more than a little relieved. After all, job searching is stressful, so it’s nice to know you can stop. This blast of euphoria often leads to accepting the first offer presented or only negotiating the compensation component of the total package. Big mistake!

compensation-negotiationsJob seekers tend not to negotiate as hard for themselves as they do in their business negotiations. It’s understandable: you don’t want to risk having the offer pulled and you don’t want to risk starting off with your new employer with hard feelings.

According to ExecuNet’s Managing Director of Career Services, Don Weintraub, “It’s hard to negotiate on your own behalf if you don’t fully understand your unique value proposition.” Without that understanding, the employer has the advantage in a negotiation. Knowing their unique value is the single biggest challenge ExecuNet career strategists see in the members they work with, so getting a coach’s help is a good idea.

What you likely also could use some help with is looking beyond compensation when you attempt to negotiate a better offer. Coach Don says “There are a number of ‘potential gets’ if you’re the company’s top choice – ‘gets’ that are seldom available after you’ve accepted their initial offer.” Compensation and benefits are the obvious negotiation points. What often gets overlooked are intangibles and onboarding.

Intangibles tend to feel trivial, yet can make a big difference – and can be included in an offhand moment by the employer. Most executives can get a “yes” for things like:

  • Start date
  • Title, club membership/professional association dues
  • Unused hiring allocations (recruiter fees, relocation)
  • Money left on the table at your current role
  • Office space/furniture allowance
  • Travel policy
  • Education – get yourself a coach!
  • Telework
  • Spouse’s re-employment

Another place that people typically overlook when they have an offer is their onboarding. Neglecting onboarding is a recipe for misunderstanding and is commonly where newly hired executives go wrong in their new roles. You need to know what you are getting into! You need to know the real expectations, challenges, relationships, and the performance metrics against which your success will be measured. Additionally, you must become familiar with your span of control and detailed background on your direct reports, as well as your future boss’ management style and how you two can best work together. All of this and more must be flushed out before you accept. Listen to Coach Don talk about the importance of including onboarding in your job acceptance negotiations in this excerpt from Negotiate Your Next Compensation Package and Leave Nothing on the Table, a session of ExecuNet Master Class.

Companies expect candidates to negotiate their initial package, so be prepared to do so. In fact for some jobs, how you negotiate your package is an indicator to the employer how you’ll negotiate on the job on behalf of the company. All too often, candidates negotiate with themselves, talking themselves out of a better package because they are afraid to ask and they don’t really understand their worth and less obvious areas for negotiation.



William Flamme

William Flamme

William Flamme is ExecuNet's Marketing Content Manager, where he is responsible for developing engaging career, job search, and leadership insight and delivering executive-level content across the various properties under the ExecuNet brand. Prior to joining ExecuNet in 2008, Will earned a master's degree in education and taught fifth grade and sixth grade. As a teacher, he deepened his appreciation for the written word and mastered skills necessary for managing writers who sometimes view deadlines as homework.

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