How to Negotiate Salary and Benefits

Negotiating salary and benefits for a new job can be one of the most challenging parts of getting hired. When you get a new job, you want to know that you can get the highest salary and the most attractive benefits package that you can get. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when negotiating salary and benefits.


Before you go into a negotiation for salary and benefits, you need to do some research first. Go online and figure out what the average employee in your position makes. If you cannot find specific information about your particular job, get as close as you can. Look in the industry itself and then find a position that has a similar job description to your own. Look at several different resources because many of them have different information on salaries. This way you can average all of the salaries together and get to a figure to use for your negotiation.

Start High

When it is time to begin negotiations, determine what the absolute minimum is that you would take. Once you have this figure in mind, you know that you cannot go below it during the negotiation process. Then come up with a number that is higher than your minimum acceptable salary. When you start high, the negotiator will inevitably counter off with a lower number. If the counter offer is higher than your minimum acceptable salary, you can then take the counter offer and still get a little more money than you were willing to accept. If you simply start the negotiation out at what you need to live, you may not be able to take the job if they counter offer with a lower amount.


Some people do not feel comfortable negotiating for salary in person. If this is the case with you, you might want to do it in writing. By writing out a salary negotiation letter, you can often accomplish the same thing and look more professional at the same time. This way, you can also avoid letting your emotions get in the way of the process. Spend some time crafting your letter and make sure that it is free of grammar and spelling errors. Then submit the letter and wait for a counter offer.


When trying to negotiate a benefits package, use the same principal that you used with the salary negotiation. Start by aiming high and be willing to take less. For example, you might ask for a specific amount of stock options or annual bonus. Getting a comprehensive health insurance plan will also provide you access to a retirement plan is fairly standard with most companies. You may also be able to get benefits like a flexible spending account, a company car or an expense account. Be flexible throughout this process because you really do not know how much the company can offer you until you begin the negotiation.