During good economic times, job candidates find they have a lot more leverage when it comes to negotiating salary, especially for positions that require specialized skill sets. In the quest for talent, companies are often willing to offer up a lot of things, including perks (flex time, vacation, telecommuting, matching 401ks, and more) and sign-on bonuses.
Even in good times, however, company largesse only goes so far. Playing games with your potential employer, or dragging out negotiations, could result in a pulled offer. If you want more perks or money added to an already-generous package, be prepared to justify that leveling-up by pointing to aspects of your experience and skills that make you worth it—but also be prepared to accept the existing offer if it seems your potential employer’s patience is starting to run thin.
Locking down a good deal also depends on preparation. Before sitting down for a salary talk, take stock of your achievements, skills and weaknesses (such as failed projects or gaps in your resume); review your ideal salary and perks; and be prepared to bargain for what you want—while remaining aware that there are limits to every negotiation.