Negotiating an Offer: When is the right time to provide details about your compensation picture, breaking down all the elements that go into your current package?
When you have reached a point where you are told you are a finalist for the position (most likely one of three candidates) AND you are seriously interested in the position, is when you present a comprehensive written memo outlining all the components of your earnings program.
In the series about compensation, I provide a detailed check list about the items to consider when evaluating both the cash value of your earnings and the non-cash benefits that are important to you. While you do not need to list all of the items, it is essential that you decide which to include when you provide a written list of your compensation and benefits. It is also important to include a cover note indicating which benefits are most important to you, which is a starting point for negotiating terms.
In addition, having evaluated the risk factors involved in accepting the offer, you do want to feel that the compensation offered is sufficiently attractive to accept the challenges and the risks involved.
If a relocation is involved, a full report about the housing you are in is essential along with any homework you have done about the region you are going to move to. Not only are you looking at selling where you are now, you are evaluating what it will cost to buy into the new market. If there is a significant difference, and housing costs in the new location are higher, then that must be factored into the equation. Mention that when you provide the needed information in writing.
I would stress the importance of providing critical information in writing, in addition to any discussions with company representatives.
What is essential in the negotiation process is to make the discussion about the facts of the situation—not turn the conversation into a discussion about what is fair or what you deserve.
I would also advise that, once you have provided a detailed rundown about your compensation and what special considerations are important to you, e.g. family-centric medical plan, childcare benefits, flextime, working remotely, that you request a rundown of the benefits offered to you by the company. By being so careful about discussing your current situation, you are setting an expectation that the hiring organization will do likewise. It also establishes where there is room to be flexible if some of the new company benefits are very generous and important to you and your family.