The following suggestions and resources can help you negotiate an offer that is fair, realistic, and the basis for a good working relationship between you and your employer.
Arm Yourself with Data
The following Web sites can help you research salary data and negotiate from a position of strength. You should also research company salary grades through employees and human resources. Contact Mallory Stark, career information librarian at Baker Library, for further assistance.
Use this site to find more than 300 industry-specific and general salary surveys. Test your salary savvy with the "Salary I.Q." test, and find tips and strategies for salary negotiation.
Career Journal: From the Wall Street Journal
The Salaries & Profiles section of this site has salary data by industry and job function as well as a salary calculator, which calculates the relative cost of living between two cities.
Devoted to all aspects of salary and compensation, this site offers a "Salary Wizard" that provides a benchmark for salaries by industry and zip code. The site also offers substantive advice on compensation and negotiation, current news affecting the labor market as well as a job and resume database.
A comprehensive guide to relocation resources, including a salary calculator, moving calculator, mortgage information, lifestyle guides to many cities, and crime statistics.
HBS Historical Salary Trends
Salary data is self-reported by HBS students at the time of graduation. This site, prepared for HBS recruiters shares placement statistics on the classes of 1998-2004.
Take a Strategic Approach
While you should be prepared to discuss compensation at any time, your position will improve if you are able to delay the negotiation. If an interviewer brings up compensation early in the process, you might say "I'd like to get a better sense of my fit with the position and company before discussing finances." When it's time to talk, the offer should come from the hiring manager or your HR contact.
Remember that the negotiation is about more than money! Evaluate all aspects of an offer and prioritize those that are most important to you. These include:
- Organizational culture and values
- Paid vacation time
- Maternity/paternity leave
- Growth opportunities
- Career progression flexibility
- Frequency of performance reviews, performance standards/goals
- Geographic flexibility
- Office space
- Paid travel
- Ownership options
- Professional training
The following tactics can help you conduct productive negotiations.
- Speak with the hiring manager, if possible
- Express enthusiasm for job and company
- Don't negotiate at the time the initial job offer is made
- Know your bottom line in terms of salary, benefits, etc...
- Negotiate base pay first, then other points the employer would likely agree to
- Save other issues of conflict for last
- Seek to understand ("Is there any flexibility in...")
- Use a collaborative tone ("Can you think of anything else we can do to bring us closer together?")
- Share your professional and/or financial goals
- Keep a calm, business-like tone
- Avoid getting into a discussion of market rates with knowledgeable employers
- Keep HR informed
- NEVER STOP SELLING YOURSELF
Visit Baker Library for resources that can help you evaluate offers.
Bibliography – Compiled by HBS Professor Michael Wheeler
- Linda Babcock, Women Don't Ask.
- Robert Cialdini, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.
- John Hammond, Ralph Kenney, and Howard Raiffa, Smart Choices.
- Deborah Kolb and Judith Williams, Everyday Negotiation: Navigating the Hidden Agendas in Bargaining.
- David Lax and James Sebenius, The Manager as Negotiator.
- Carrie Menkel-Meadow and Michael Wheeler, What's Fair? Ethics for Negotiators.
- Robert Mnookin, Scott Peppet, and Andrew Tulumello, Beyond Winning: Negotiating to Create Value in Deals and Disputes.
- William Ury, Getting Past No.