Top Tips for Negotiating Your Executive Compensation


Executive compensation negotiation is often seen as a necessary evil for candidates navigating the interview process. With so many pitfalls, and high stakes with lasting repercussions, it can make candidates of all levels feel somewhat worried and uncomfortable. However, there are several steps that candidates can take to better prepare and alleviate some of the stress.

Step 1: Do Your Research

As with any pending business negotiation, it is important to understand the value of what you plan to negotiate. For your compensation negotiation, this should take the form of establishing your worth and what similar companies are prepared to pay for someone with the same experience and skillset as yourself. There are many online sites which provide salary transparency for many global companies, such as Glassdoor and PayScale. executive compensation

Step 2: Understand Your Value Is Not Tied to Your Current Compensation Level

While your current (or most recent) compensation level might help provide key indicators for potential employers and search consultants as to your experience level and skillset, it should not be the sole focus of your future negotiations. If asked for your current salary level, ensure that you also highlight what your peers with similar experience are receiving by way of compensation, and also mention any additional perks or fiscal benefits that are included in your current role. This will help provide the recruiter or potential employer with a more accurate representation of your goal, your expectations and your worth.

Step 3: Remember That Executive Compensation Is Not Only About Salary

There are many items outside of general annual salary that should not be neglected during the negotiation process. Be sure to factor in other perks, such as your title, working hours, flexi-time, remote working, vacation days, further education, bonuses and relocation compensation.

Step 4: Don’t Be the First to Name a Price

It is often the case in negotiation that the first person to say what they want is the one who loses and salary negotiation is no different. If possible, avoid throwing a number out when asked. If you do so, you could end up selling yourself short or pricing yourself out of the competition. To avoid being the first to name a number, you could either ask them what the salary range for the role is, or provide a very general range yourself based on your research. This also helps to show that you are open to negotiation and can be flexible.

Step 5: Be Prepared to Provide a Counter Offer

While you don’t want to engage in a lengthy bidding war over your compensation, it is important to remember that you can provide a counter offer if you are not satisfied with your initial offer. Do your research, provide reasoning and come back with a more appropriate figure. If it gets turned down, you can then make your decision knowing that both parties have all the information they need.

If you would like more help and advice regarding executive compensation negotiation, listen to the recording of BlueSteps' webinar, “Expert Advice for Negotiating Your Executive Compensation,” here>>


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About the author

This article was written by Lisa Marsh, Marketing Manager at the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC).

About the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants

Since 1959, the AESC has set the standard for quality and ethics in executive search and leadership consulting worldwide. Because AESC members must commit and adhere to the AESC's industry and government recognized Code of Ethics and Professional Practice Guidelines, clients can be assured that AESC members are able to serve as trusted advisors for their most important engagements. As the voice for executive search and leadership consulting worldwide, today the AESC is comprised of more than 350 member firms, representing 8,000 executive search professionals in 75 countries. To learn more about the AESC and its membership, visit www.aesc.org.

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