The bargaining table is rife with fierce and experienced corporate conquerors, well versed in contractual combat. So when you sit down to negotiate your terms of employment, you too, must be wise to the ways of battling for the benefits of your skills. The next time you sit down over an employment contract, get what you deserve by adding more to your bargaining power with these tips.
1. Go in educated
Knowledge is power. And when you combine intelligence with persuasion, you have the key components to successful communication. Be knowledgeable in what the industry standard is for salaries and rates and how much your new employer pays their current staff. This opens the door for negotiating within a reasonable range.
2. Meet with a lawyer
An employment lawyer is a great asset. He or she will be able to point out potential pitfalls you may not pick up on in your contract, providing you with the opportunity to ask for any amendments. Termination clauses are perfect examples. Every employee is entitled to reasonable notice upon termination, but there are myths and then there are the actual laws pertaining to dismissal. For example, no one is guaranteed one month of salary for every year of employment.
3. Don’t be shy
Once an offer’s been made, you may tend to lead toward the thought that asking for more money is a risky move. However, if you have the experience, credentials and facts to back up your request, experts agree that you shouldn’t shy away from the ask. Recent studies show that new hires who attempted a constructive salary negotiation were perceived more favourably than their less brave counterparts, as they were demonstrating the skills that the company hired them for.
4. Write it down
A strong handshake and the promise of being true to one’s word doesn’t equate to a contractual agreement in the modern world of employment anymore. So, here’s one rule to remember: If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen. Get everything you discuss put down in writing. Sometimes, a request can’t be accommodated right away, but your employer is willing to revisit in six months. Ensure these types of things are also documented, so you aren’t met by a surprised manager when you come back with your ask a few months down the road.
5. Look for the clauses
Here’s the big one: Do you have any probationary clauses in your contract? If so, you can expect zero job security. Whether it’s the typical 90 days or more, try to remove it. If you don’t, you can be let go at any time or for any reason within that timeframe—Regardless of your performance.
A lot of companies are also offering variable compensation, with commissions or bonuses. They try to fold these into the compensation package by saying you’ll be paid a base of a certain amount and you’ll be eligible for a 40 per cent bonus. But you need to be aware that that’s discretionary-- not guaranteed.
6. Read the room
Contract negoation sometimes means you also need to know when it’s time to negotiate and when you’ve got to back down (or walk away). Your bargaining power will always depend on how badly the company wants you, but if you’re getting a sense that your needs or concerns aren’t even being considered, you need to ask yourself: Is this the kind of company that I want to work for?
The art of negotiation may not have the tangible aesthetics to rival a Monet or Picasso, but still – it’s a beautiful thing.