John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC
If there was a Question Hall of Fame, this one would be in it. Sometimes you’d like to know before comp conversations begin. Sometimes you need to know if the offer isn’t what you thought it would be.
Let’s get this out of the way. The short answer: Yes, you probably can. But there’s a special trick to doing it.
When the employer puts the offer on the table, he is making what he thinks is the best possible offer. He makes it in good faith. There is no percentage in his low-balling a number simply to see if he can hire you more cheaply. This number signals what the employer considers is your value to the practice.
When you get an offer, then, one of your first questions should be, “Tell me more about how you arrived at that number.” The answer you get is your clue to negotiating the offer. You are not going to get a higher offer just because you think you should have one. You must show that you bring more value.
Perhaps you have more value in managing projects. Maybe you think you could bill at a higher rate.
Remember that negotiation is give-and-take, not take-and-take. Even if you make your case for a higher base salary, look for something you can give in return. An expedited start-date. Extra hours during the first X weeks to speed assimilation.
If you can’t find something to give, maybe it’s not worth trying to take a higher starting salary.