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Throughout the negotiation process for your executive compensation package, continue to show your interest in the organization and your passion for the role you’ll play. Leave a positive impression every step of the way. Remember your unique skills and come to the table ready and willing to make the best deal possible.

Know Your Worth

When you enter salary negotiations with a strong understanding of market comparables, it not only shows you’ve done your research, but also reassures you that the compensation you’re requesting is reasonable and justifiable.

  • Find the buyer who will put the highest value on your work. Access data on what comparable employers are paying for talent in similar positions. This is part of the equation. Your worth also is a matter of what the current market will pay. Your executive search consultant can help you track down current figures for your industry and experience level.
  • At the executive level, pay is dependent on both the specific person and the specified job. For instance, the vice president of finance may be compensated very differently than the vice president of marketing, even within the same company. While the relative uniqueness of executive jobs makes clear-cut salary comparisons challenging, it also opens a new negotiating door. You can highlight the specialized skills that you offer above and beyond the standard role. These “extras” may enable you to command a pay premium.
  • Create a detailed history of your recent compensation. Include salaries and bonuses (often called total cash compensation) as well as equity and special perquisites. This gives an employer a better understanding of your expectations without requiring you to openly state your current compensation objectives.
  • Avoid sharing your objectives before an offer is made. Your negotiation position is stronger if you wait for the hiring company to show their hand first. If pressed, be prepared to offer a competitive and well-researched range along with supporting rationale. Make it about the value you’ll bring to the organization, not your personal reasons for needing the income.
  • Don’t say yes to the first offer. Before you counter, know what you’re willing to accept. If the numbers are all you had hoped for, be sure the other details of the package also meet your expectations. If the salary level falls short, back it up with your research and be prepared to negotiate on other areas such as bonuses, stock options or vacation time. Get all offers, contracts and accommodations in writing and have them reviewed by your attorney before you sign.

Pick Your Perks

Every component of your compensation package is negotiable. Not everyone gets everything, so prioritize and focus on those elements that are most relevant to the job and most important to you.

  • Know the typical perks and benefits associated with the job. A basic compensation package encompasses base pay, short and long-term incentives, benefits and perquisites. Additional or supplemental items may include an executive retirement plan, extra insurance coverage or vacation time, a company car or use of a company plane, club memberships or financial and legal counseling.
  • Secure your parachute. This provision should protect you from a layoff related to company financial hardships, mergers or other restructures. You need to insure yourself against the possible consequences, especially if you’re asked to help shape a post-merger or post-restructure organization and may have to eliminate your own position.

Do you need to learn more about negotiating the best executive compensation package? Contact one of the specialized search consultants at BrainWorks today. We can help solidify your career and financial future at the employer of your choice.


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