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How to Negotiate Salary When Choosing Between Job Offers

by Lisa McQuerrey

If you're fortunate enough to have two good job offers on the table, your ultimate decision might come down to compensation and benefits. Weigh the pros and cons of each job, taking into consideration long-term career growth potential, earnings, benefits and personal preferences. Research current salary ranges through the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics so you can be prepared with statistics and national averages when participating in salary negotiations.

Consider Whole Packages

The salary you're paid isn't always the only compensation you get from an employer. Take into consideration the monetary value of not just your pay rate, but benefits such as health care options, retirement planning and bonus structures. If you’re in doubt about the financial value of the benefit packages for either company you’re considering, ask the hiring manager or the human resources director for clarification.

Know Your Final Figure

If you like each job equally, and it's just a matter of money, know what your bottom line figure is before entering negotiation talks with either company. Get each offer in writing, and ask for a week or two to evaluate and compare the figures before making a final decision. This gives you time to negotiate with both employers for the best price. Counter each offer with a figure slightly above where you want to be, which gives you room for compromise. Try to time your negotiations so you don't have two identical offers on the table at the same time. If each employer says yes to your number, you'll be left in the unprofessional situation of having to turn down one employer, even though he met your salary request.

Ask for More Perks

If you don't think you can get an employer to go any higher with a salary figure, look for ways to negotiate extras to make up the difference. For example, try to negotiate additional paid vacation time, use of a company car or a corporate expense account. These perks can add up from a financial standpoint and ultimately increase your overall level of compensation.

Use Caution

Be careful in how you handle your simultaneous negotiations. You don't want either employer to feel like you're playing them against one another. Try to handle each salary negotiation independently. If you truly favor one job over another, you may opt to tell a hiring manager that another employer is willing to match or beat his last best salary offer to see if you can push for a final bump.

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