When evaluating job offers, many candidates focus on base compensation and neglect to review the offer in terms of the total compensation package on the table. What looks like a similar or better salary compared to what the job seeker previously earned, might actually be inferior when the total package is considered. For example, if you are transitioning from a company with a generous benefits package to a start-up, you may end up paying significantly more for your coverage which translates into less money in your pocket. If you are switching from a position with overtime pay to a salaried position, a higher base salary might still be less than your previous total earnings. If you are considering employment with a company that offers half the amount of paid vacation time as that offered by your previous employer, you may end up working more for less.
As with all salary negotiation conversations, it's critical to position your requests for additional compensation in terms of what's fair and reasonable. For example, if a prospective employer offers a benefits package with more out of pocket expenses than your previous paid, you might try to negotiate additional salary to compensate for the additional expense. If a hiring manager of a start-up firm can't offer you the starting salary that you were hoping for due to budgetary constraints, you can try to negotiate additional stock options in lieu of base salary.
The concept of total compensation becomes extremely important when recruiters and hiring managers are trying to use your past salary as a benchmark for what they plan to offer you for their open position. Many benefits packages are valued at 30% of an employee's salary, so be sure to take this into account when discussing salary expectations.
Don't leave your negotiations to chance. Base your conversations on total compensation and take benefits, bonuses, stock options, vacation time, and any other perks into account before you decide to take the deal.
Posted by Barbara Safani