Tip #13: Ask Where There's Flexibility | 28 Days of Salary Negotiation

When you really start to dig into the nuances of a salary negotiation, it will become apparent that salary is only one component of what's on the table for discussion. 

Don't forget about...

  • Vacation time

  • Flex work schedule

  • 401k contributions

  • Professional development funding

  • Transit benefits

  • Contribution toward health insurance premiums

  • Student loan payment contributions

When negotiating, it's important to specifically ask where there is flexibility in the offer, as well as what your overall priorities are in the negotiation process.

Consider the following snippet from a salary negotiation email exchange: 

Thank you very much for the offer - the total compensation package is very generous and attractive. Is there flexibility regarding salary? Right now, the most important issue for me is month-to-month salary, so it would be helpful to discuss this aspect of the compensation package further.  

While this is only part of the communication sent to the hiring manager, these opening sentences communicate some very important messages: 

  1. An appreciation for receiving an offer for the company.

  2. Recognition that compensation and salary are two different things.

  3. An indication that, despite the overall compensation being attractive, the salary is less than desired.

  4. Clear communication about what the job seeker's priorities are (in this case, month-to-month salary).

  5. A tone of genuine inquiry and a desire for further discussion.

Because we were communicating in an email setting, it was doubly important to police the tone of the message and ensure that the message did not come across in an off-putting or offensive way.

Approaching a negotiation from a position of gratitude and inquiry can help you find success in your negotiation. In this example, even if the salary did not have room to be raised, the door is open for the employer to offer something else in lieu of higher take home pay. 

Your thoughts are welcome!