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How to Negotiate an Employment Contract

Employment Contract, How to Negotiate

Some salary offers are firm while others contain a little “wiggle room”. If you think that you have a chance at negotiating your employment contract, you should go for it! Just know that if you overstep your bounds, you could wind up without a job. The most important thing is to negotiate your employment contract with tact, and to avoid asking for too much at one time. Remember that you’ll have employment reviews and you can always ask for a higher salary or better benefits at that point rather than trying to take it all at once.

Before you attempt to negotiate an employment contract, arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. Check the Internet and books for information regarding appropriate salary and benefits packages for your job and your experience level. For example, if the average salary for your job is $35,000, you wouldn’t want to go into an interview and ask for $60,000 because it wouldn’t be appropriate. Simply look up the average salary and adjust it according to your expertise, the length of time you’ve been in the industry and how valuable you are to the company.

It is also important to take verbal and non-verbal cues before you try to negotiate an employment contract. There’s a difference between an employer who is open to negotiations and one who simply is not. For example, if the employer says, “What kind of salary range were you considering?”, this might be an offer for you to make the opening bid. The salary might be non-negotiable, however, if he says: “The salary for this position is $35,000.” In that case, the offer is usually a “done deal”.

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Your next step in negotiating an employment contract is to weigh the salary against other benefits, including insurance and stock options. If the salary is a little bit lower than you were hoping, you still might not want to rock the boat if the benefits package is better than expected. On the other hand, you might have to choose which you want to try and negotiate if both are less than impressive. You might also be able to negotiate aspects other than benefits or salary. For example, maybe they’ll be willing to give you an extra week of paid vacation or perhaps a transportation allowance. Be creative.

One of the main problems with trying to negotiate an employment contract is that once you start, you’re committed. You might be looked upon unfavorably by the employer if you try to negotiate when there isn’t any room, and you might wind up accepting the original offer. All of these things should be weighed heavily in your mind before you commit to a particular path. It is always acceptable to tell the employer that you’ll have an answer in forty-eight hours rather than responding right away.

If you do decide to negotiate an employment contract, be firm, but flexible. If the employer comes back with an alternate offer, consider it before immediately responding that it won’t do, and consider even small victories to be an accomplishment. These days, negotiable contract offers are less common and many employees are stuck with what they’re offered.