HR Pros Comfortable with Job Negotiations

October 12, 2001 ( - While two-thirds of human resource professionals are comfortable with job negotiations, less than a third of job hunters are, according to a new poll.

In fact, 21% of job hunters are downright uncomfortable with the process, according to a new joint poll by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and

The vast majority (82%) of HR pros expect job candidates to counter the initial job offer and 92% say salaries are, in fact, negotiable. Job hunters feel the same way, with 82% stating that first offers are a starting point.

Benefits Bartering

Both sides also believe that benefits are negotiable, though candidates are more likely to ask for cash-based benefits, while HR managers favor non-cash benefits.

Negotiable benefits, according to both groups, include:

  • relocation-cost reimbursement (HR professionals, 58%; job seekers, 80%) 
  • early reviews with the option for a salary increase (HR professionals, 48%; job seekers, 69%) 
  • a signing bonus (HR professionals, 49%; job seekers, 60%) 
  • vacation leave (HR professionals, 50%; job seekers, 30%).

Most job seekers (94%) don’t negotiate “golden parachute” severance packages, while:

  • 84% don’t negotiate planned salary reviews
  • 91% are not concerned about retirement options
  • 90% do not think non-compete agreements are important

While there are few benefits that would cause job seekers to reject an offer if not negotiated to their satisfaction, 41% say they sometimes refuse offers due to unsuccessful negotiations.

The poll reflects the opinions of 641 HR professionals and 663 job seekers.