After receiving a job offer, would you ever say, “No thanks, really, that’s enough money. Please do not give me any more. Give it to someone else.” Really? Of course not. But guess what? That’s what people are doing when they don’t follow key steps for discussing pay. Whether it’s a raise, promotion or job offer, lots of people leave money on the table. (Click here to tweet this reality.) It happens all the time. When people discuss compensation, they assume they know all the possible elements of a package: base salary, bonuses, stock options (maybe), benefits and vacation. But this is just one piece of the puzzle. Additional elements you could and should be discussing when negotiating a job offer include severance, restrictive clauses and supplemental benefits. And, even when it comes to the basics like base salary, many people do not research what the job is worth, ask questions about future raises or even discuss specific job duties. People don’t know what they don’t know. And the result is a lot of money is left on the table instead of in your hands. How do you avoid these monumental mistakes? Simple. As you prepare to respond to your next job offer, follow five key steps.
1. Research your compensation optionsThe biggest mistake people make is not taking the time to learn everything that’s out there and all the rewards they could be getting. They assume the company means something they don’t (for example, they assume they will be eligible for a raise but then are disappointed to find out they have to wait longer). And you know what happens when you assume. So do your homework. Find out what your offer should include:
- Bonus (how much and in what form) – any of it guaranteed for the first year? Should it be?
- Equity (stock options, restricted stock, etc.)
- Benefits (employee investment, prescription coverage)
- Supplemental benefits and/or 401(k) matches
- Noncompetes (and other restrictive clauses); and