How to negotiate salary, benefits

The biggest mistake many job candidates make when it comes to negotiating before accepting a job offer is not negotiating at all, says D’Amore-McKim School of Business associate professor Edward Wertheim, an expert in negotiation, organizational behavior, and mediation.

“This can affect your salary 20 years down the road,” Wertheim explained.

Here are some tips from Wertheim for students and recent graduates looking to confidently step up to the negotiating table.

•    Plan, plan, and do more planning. Know the industry and familiarize yourself with the company and the unit for which you are interviewing. Talk to other employees who work there and fellow students who interviewed there previously.

•    When negotiating, don’t focus solely on salary. Other benefits may be more valuable and worth more than an extra $5,000. Maybe you could have the tuition for your graduate program covered, assistance paying for student loans, or the opportunity to work from home.

•    If the hiring manager asks what type of salary you are looking for, make sure to use objective standards and fairness when making your case. Try to find what the mean salary is for the position and your experience level.

•    A company may say that negotiating salary or benefits is against policy. If this happens, gently ask if there are any situations where the policy does not apply.

•    Clearly, those with the strongest position to negotiate are those with alternatives; have other job offers available that you are comfortable taking.