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The Rubric of Salary Negotiations

#careerchange #careerpivot #education #instructionaldesign Apr 14, 2022

I find comfort in lists, which is how I managed my anxiety when I knew an offer was coming. I studied the job ad and listed how I met the qualifications (and then some). The list morphed into a rubric, which I am about to share with you.

But before I do, some prep items: 

1. Make a list of what you need and want in your next role.

Salary, hybrid or remote, benefits, time off, etc. Make sure to star your must-haves and note your nice-to-haves. Knowing these things guides your job hunt and the interview process

It also helps you navigate an offer. If they can’t meet the salary, maybe they can offer you more PTO or agree to have more remote days. Maybe they can pay for that professional development certification you’ve been eyeing. If you don’t ask, you won’t know. And having to come up with these compromises on the fly is hard.

 2. Make a list of what you’re walking away from!
The recruiter who made the offer for my current role began the conversation with, “What will you be leaving behind?” If I hadn’t thought about this before, I probably wouldn’t have mentioned that I wouldn’t get the 401k match with my current company if I left before a year and a month had passed from my start date. 

She arranged for a sign-on bonus, which made up for the loss and made the offer more appealing.

For some of you, you may not feel like you’re leaving behind much. But if you’re going to lose an annual bonus, retirement match, student loan forgiveness, etc. by moving to a new company, having that information will be valuable in negotiations.

The right company wants you to be just as excited about them as they are to have you.

 3. Do your research on the salaries.
I once had an interview in which the HR person admitted she had not done any research into salary ranges for the position she was looking to fill. She then asked me my desired salary. Already having done this research, I gave her a number to see her reaction.

Let’s just say she didn’t like my number. Had I not done any research, I could have sold myself short.

Research salaries in your area, in the company, in that company’s rival companies, etc. Glassdoor, Paysa, LinkedIn, PayScale, and are helpful tools. Knowing what range to expect empowers you.  

(By the way, this is how I actually recommend answering that dreaded “Desired Salary” question.

 4. Save the job ad!
Some companies take it down while they’re interviewing, which can make it difficult for you to prep but will also make it difficult for you to use my rubric. If you’ve gone this far and don’t have the ad, try using whatever notes you’ve made about the role while interviewing. 

With those prep items out of the way, here’s the rubric. Make a copy of it and fill it out before you have a number. It may even help you during the interview process.

  • Highlight any places where you “Exceed” expectations.
    Emphasize these qualities when countering. Your language should always point to how you’re an asset and will bring solutions to the team; therefore, you’re worth the investment of [insert desired salary/benefit].  

  • Make plans for every “Does not Meet” category.
    When the company shares these weaknesses with you as a reason they’re offering lower on the range, you can counter with your plans. Maybe you’re already filling in those gaps with the IDOL courses Academy curriculum, maybe your plan will make you more of an asset (see my rubric example explanation). 

There’s a lot more to negotiating a job offer than I’ve mentioned here, but I hope I’ve given you a few tools to get started. Remember that if a company is extending an offer, they’re investing in you. Whatever moves you make, do them with confidence. After all, you are an IDOL.


Written by: Mandy Brown

💜 Mandy Brown (she/her) is a fiercely neurodivergent, all-boats-rise kind of person who loves emojis and would be happy to connect with you on LinkedIn. 😉