Negotiating Your Executive Role: A Guide to Compensation and Job Terms

Negotiating Your Executive Role: A Guide to Compensation and Job Terms was originally published on uConnect External Content.

Congratulations; you’ve just landed a job offer!

But before you should accept, you still must navigate one of the trickiest parts of the hiring process: negotiating compensation and job terms. 

We’ve been taught to wait to take a job until we know that the proposed salary aligns with our expectations. But really, you need to do much more than just discuss what you’ll be paid before you accept an offer. 

“Whether explicitly mentioned or not, compensation packages always come with other benefits woven in. It doesn’t matter if you’re negotiating a job offer or trying to wriggle in benefits during a performance appraisal – know that there is almost always more up for grabs,” suggests Kristi DePaul for Harvard Business Review.

She suggests some of the negotiables job seekers overlook more paid time off, signing or performance bonuses, stock options, relocation allowances, home office stipends, job title tweaks, and more. Even if your potential employer doesn’t lay out these job terms explicitly for you, she notes, they are often obliquely on the table nevertheless. 

So, how can you make sure you’re negotiating compensation and job terms in ways that benefit you most? Read our guide to find out.


👉 Identify what matters most to you.

Before you enter a negotiation, think about what matters most to you.

DePaul suggests making a Venn diagram of your personal and professional goals. Wherever those circles overlap are your non-negotiables. So, for instance, if you’ve come to appreciate being able to attend your daughter’s mid-day soccer games because of a flexible work schedule, you must ask for a flexible schedule in your negotiations, too. 

How do you know what you can ask for? It’s up to you to research what’s commonly offered by companies in your field to attract talent. What did your previous employer off that you would hate to lose? If you enjoyed professional development stipends, for instance, or onsite childcare, suggest to your would-be employer that they should offer the same. 

If your potential employer doesn’t give you your non-negotiables, trust that something better will arise if you walk away from that offer.


👉 Come prepared with information about common salaries and job terms in your field.

You should come prepared with a strong understanding of the salary, benefits, and job terms professionals in your industry usually receive. After all, certain perks, like unlimited paid time off, are likely to be offered in some fields but not others. 

So, before your negotiation, do your research. The best way to figure out what most professionals in your field and location receive is by asking for informational interviews.

Carla Dearing, CEO of a financial wellness platform, suggests conducting at least 10 of these interviews. This way, you’ll have breadth and understanding of expectations in your field. 

What’s more, be sure you’re talking about why you want the salary and job terms you’re seeking. For instance, if you want a hybrid work schedule, then talk about how you like to hold meetings in the office but work more efficiently alone in your home office. 

“You need to talk about why the specific numbers or benefits you’re asking for are justified. This could be because of factors like your current position and salary, your experience, what sets you apart from other candidates, your family obligations, industry standards, and others,” said Margaret Boe of InHerSight.


👉 Make sure you understand what your benefits entail.

Rarely, but occasionally, you may receive a salary and job terms offer that sounds so wonderful you think you don’t have to negotiate anything. However, you may want to dig a bit deeper to make sure the offer is what it seems. 

For instance, you may be wary of unlimited paid time off — while it sounds great, the company may not expect you to use it as freely as advertised. 

Michael Solomon of 10x Ascend suggests digging deeper.

“While it might be difficult to figure this out before starting, you can ask qualifying questions to get an idea. For example: ‘Unlimited vacation sounds great, but what do most employees view as a reasonable amount to take off in a year?’ ‘How much vacation do people in the C-suite take?’ These questions are an attempt to uncover the culture which supersedes the policy,” he notes.


👉 Be reasonable about what you want.

Remember that you negotiate salary and job terms to get both what you want and to give the employer what they want.

Of course, the ideal scenario is that they’ll bend over backward to have you on their team! However, in reality, they may have a hard upper salary limit that they simply cannot exceed. In turn, they may offer you the job terms and benefits that you’re asking for – with the understanding that they can’t pay you more. 

So, you may be faced with a job offer that can’t give you everything you want – but is the organization still providing you with your non-negotiables? That’s up to you to decide.


Negotiating Compensation and Job Terms that Benefit You


Before you take a job, it’s important to negotiate compensation and job terms that will satisfy you in the weeks and months that follow.

These negotiations sometimes feel competitive, like you’re trying to grab everything you can, but your goal should be to secure terms that make you excited about starting the job. After all, if you’re earning six figures but only have a few days of PTO each year, is it really the right position for your lifestyle? 

Still stuck about how to negotiate before accepting a job offer? Book a consultation with one of Ivy Exec’s career coaches today!