Salary negotiation is never easy, and most of us come out of it convinced we should have pressed for more—either more money, more vacation, more bonus, etc. We are afraid we will ask for too much and the offer be withdrawn, or that we’ll ask and make no headway at all, leaving us with a loss of face.

Let’s face it, most of us only take a new job a few times in our lifetime, so unless a skill in negotiations is part of our job, we are not very practiced at it. Negotiating is a skill that most of us don’t really have a chance to practice or learn, so we just don’t know how to get the best offer.

Here are a few tips that can be helpful!

  1. Using a 3rd party, such as an animal health recruiter, can help! Having someone else navigate the negotiations and be the go between can really help to make sure everyone has proper expectations. Make sure you convey what you need to that person, so they have a clear understanding of your expectations. Do not be afraid to ask them about the organization’s expectations as well.
  2. The company wants to know that you WANT to work there, and that you do feel excited about this new opportunity. Always convey your excitement and desire to be a part of their organization.
  3. Be prepared with your expectations. Really evaluate what you want to make, what your bottom line will be, what you really would like to have, and also take into account more than just money. What is it about this role that appeals to you besides the compensation? What are the reasons to work with this organization, and how can taking this role help your career in the long run? How is your personal life affected if you do take the role?
  4. Keep your family and friends in the loop; who else is affected by this decision? Especially if this role requires a relocation, bringing in affected family and friends is critical. Make sure they are on board with this opportunity. They can help you talk through your expectations as well, so discuss the offer with them and get their advice. You don’t want to be about to accept an offer, then when you tell them about it they bring up sudden doubts and concerns. But, at the end of the day remember that you are the one that will be working in this role and it is your career that has the most impact.
  5. Do your research—know what the market value is for this role. Consider the cost of living, especially if a relocation is part of the deal. This is another area a recruiter can be very helpful. They speak with people in similar positions to you every day. They are your best source for the market value of the position.
  6. Be precise—have a specific number in mind and convey that when asked what you need (by either the recruiter or the organization). Build your case, highlight your strengths and what you will be bringing to the organization.
  7. Be honest! Complete honesty is paramount when negotiating salary. Don’t invent competing offers or inflate past salaries.
  8. Factor in perks and benefits. Decide what is important to you, and realize that the total compensation does include benefits—vacation days, retirement plans, bonus/incentive plans, and even flexible work schedule will add value to both the bottom line and your happiness in the role.
  9. Don’t draw out the negotiation. If you are asking for more money, and would also like to change benefits or perks, discuss these things together. Let them know what is most important to you and why. Convey your willingness to compromise.
  10. Be positive and don’t make it all about what you are getting. Make sure to convey what you bring to the organization and how they are better off with you!
  11. Be prepared to walk away. If they really have not met your expectations, and are unwilling or unable to compromise with you, this may not be the role and organization for you.

Negotiations are not easy but doing your research and clarifying your expectations can go a long way to ease the process, and make sure you are NOT in a position to walk away!

-Written by Debbie Caldwell: Life Sciences Recruiter and Animal Health Recruiter