Jobs Opinions

5 Ways to Negotiate Salary When the Base "Is What It Is"

Posted by Jane Turkewitz on April 21st, 2014 at 8:01 am

You're looking for a new opportunity. Of course you'd like a bump in salary, or at the very least, to be where you are now, or were in your last job (if recently laid off).  I get it. And, so should HR teams and hiring managers.

However, sometimes, budgets are fixed.  Companies often have strict guidelines in terms of base salary ranges that they can offer for particular positions. For example, a Director–level position might offer a range of $125K-$140K on the base, based on one’s experience. Well, what if you were most recently earning a $155K base and are excited about this new opportunity put forth, but do not want to take a cut in salary and $140K is the final offer?

Here are some suggestions on how you can negotiate a better overall package, either from a financial or lifestyle point of view.

Ask for a Sign-On Bonus

Sure, a sign on bonus gives you extra dough in your pocket for one year and one year only. BUT, assuming you kick ass your first year, you'll most likely get a raise in year two anyhow, and it does bring your overall package up. For the companies behind the offer, even a small sign-on bonus shows that you are doing everything you can to bring this person on board and a good faith measure can go a long way in closing a deal AND putting a difficult job rec to rest.

Ask for Additional Shares/Options

Yes, it’s difficult to quantify whether or not there’s value in options if the company is pre-IPO, but if you’re willing to take a gamble on a business that has not yet gone public, than logic would follow that you have faith those options will be of value.

Request Extra Vacation Days

For many of us, there’s nothing more important than quality of life.  If the proposed base salary is lower than you would like, negotiate additional paid vacation days to make up for it. Companies usually have official policies about the number of days one can take annually but, chances are, you can negotiate this as a handshake agreement with your hiring manager.

Increase your Bonus Potential

If the offer includes a 10% bonus, based on performance, see if you can negotiate a 15% bonus instead.

Request a Performance Review in 6 Months

Ask the hiring manager, before signing an agreement, if you can receive a review in six months, with the opportunity to review your compensation plan at that time. There are no guarantees that you’ll get the raise, but you won’t know if you don’t try!

Carpe diem…

Jane Turkewitz is the Founder and Chief Talent Officer at .comRecruiting, a firm dedicated to enhancing the careers of digital media and ad technology professionals. She can be reached at Jane@DotComRecruiting.com.

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