How do I negotiate my new salary?
June 2, 2008 5:56 AM   Subscribe

What strategy should I adopt to clarify and hopefully increase this job offer?

I have a job, I think it's a good job, but for various reasons I want to move on.

I had an interview with the CEO of a smallish company, and I thought it went well.

During the 1st interview, the topic of remuneration was discussed, I wasn't really ready for it, and frankly I think I made too many positive noises too early. Some figures were mentioned and afterwards I wished I had made my position clearer.
Basically there was some confusion on my part about Base/Package.

I was tempted to call back to clarify it, but I didn't want to sound over confident.

They followed up with a reference check, and finally a telephone interview with a senior technical consultant. All went well and they made an offer today.

The offer is exactly what the numbers mentioned by the CEO.
Looking at the offer, they have included Super (pension) in the Base.
That's a significant amount, say, at least 8% of Base. Maybe more but they have not indicated how much Super they offer (why?).
It's not really normal to roll these numbers together, quite unusual actually.
Also, regarding the bonus, it's KPI linked, but the KPIs will be thrashed out during the probation period.

So my question is how do I approach these discussions?

In my initial conversation with HR, I stated a minimum base.
In my mind Base does not include anything else.
The CEO may well believe we had an agreement in the first interview.
The at risk component is quite significant, so I feel they have room to move.
Should I offer to give up potential bonus, for more base salary?
Should I mention it's not usual to include super in the salary?

There no point moving for the offer they have presented, but I like the role, I think it will suit me, and they are keen to fill the role. They have been with out this role for at least a month and already feel standards are dropping.

My gut feeling is they can and might meet my minimum salary expectations, I just don't want to stuff it up with my lack of negotiation experience.

Sorry for the rambling back story, I hope it's coherent enough.
posted by matholio to Work & Money (2 answers total)
Ok, good news is you've gotten an offer! Now you can start to negotiate keeping in mind, that time isn't really on your side - you can't drag this out for too long without muddying the water or, worst case, risking having the offer rescinded.

Here's how I'd play it: find out who the key decision maker is (i.e., CEO or HR), then arrange a face to face (please, no email / phone calls for this) and put your key concern (if I'm reading it correctly) cash compensation on the table. Find out precisely what your base salary gross will be. You can then back into net and see how that works for you.

Can you clarify "at risk"?

Potential bonus for money cash? Hell yeh! Bonus is almost always (in banking at least) contingent not only upony your performance but also your team / department / division / firm. I'm pretty risk adverse, and want to succeed or fail on my own merits. So I always negotiate higher base.

In terms of the KPIs, don't sweat it. As they'll be thrashed out during probation, you'll be in strong position to insure these are SMART objectives (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Targetable). In fact I'd insist that 80% of the KPIs are just doing the job, while 20% represent stretch.

And don't worry about going in and talking to people. This happens all the time, nothing unusual. Both of you need to make sure this fits and that you're comfortable with the situation going forward.

After all, they've spent a fair amount of money (recruiting costs, direct interviewing time, probably failed interviews you're not aware of) so far, and aren't likely to walk away from the process if you've got some questions you'd like clarified.

In my banking job I do a lot of hiring (and alas, firing from time to time) and someone asking questions is a total plus, in my book. Shows attention to detail and a focus on making this work.

Hope this helps!
posted by Mutant at 7:14 AM on June 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster:
Thank you, your advice helped me feel confident when talking to them.
I basically said the right figure is somewhere between our understanding of Base, words to that affect.
I hope to hear back tomorrow.

Anyway, I appreciate your response.
posted by matholio at 6:25 AM on June 3, 2008

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