To effectively negotiate a job offer learn what is negotiable in an offer and what might not be. Explore how companies have changed the flexibility of certain compensation factors like paid time off and bonus. Whereas, other factors like salary, equity and stock are more negotiable. Christine shares secrets about things to negotiate that were not in the original offer. Learn how to position a sign-on bonus, relocation reimbursement and flexible work arrangements.
- Are you happy with your offer? Are you ready to say yes? Or do you still have questions? Are there some things you feel you should negotiate? By the time an employer makes a formal offer, in most cases, they have already considered the value they believe you'll bring to their organization and weighed that against their budget and how your peers are compensated. This gives them a formula to make you an offer for what they call total compensation, and one they most likely believe you'll accept.
This doesn't mean, however, that there's no room for negotiation. Before you can negotiate, though, it's important to know what's typically negotiable and what may not be. This will give you the best possible chance of getting what you ask for. What's commonly negotiable continues to change. Most companies today have established paid time off policies and bonus structures, which has made those items increasingly difficult to negotiate. So if you aren't happy with the amount of vacation days you'll be allotted or want a higher bonus percentage, you may be wasting your time trying to negotiate them.
If the company has structures and policies in place where all employees at specific levels in the organization receive the same level of benefit in these areas, it's unlikely they'll make an exception. Instead, focus on elements that are typically more flexible. For example, base salary can be negotiable along with equity and long-term incentives, like stock options. Sometimes the most powerful negotiation points aren't in the offer letter.
They're benefits that often don't cost the company any money, but can make a big difference on your end. This takes some inside knowledge and a bit of creativity. Have you ever asked for a sign-on bonus? This typically isn't something the recruiter is going to freely offer up. So it's up to you to bring this to the table as a potential negotiation point. The key is having a good case for it. Let's say that by accepting this new offer for employment, you'll leave your current role in the middle of a bonus cycle.
You estimate that by resigning before you are eligible for your bonus payout, you'll be walking away from approximately $7500. You can leverage this potential loss with the new offer and ask if the organization can make you (mumbles) by granting you a sign-on bonus in the same amount. Sign-on bonuses are one-time payouts. Therefore, they're not repeated every year, which means they don't affect salary. Since it doesn't increase the salary line in their budget, it might be something the hiring manager can approve without disrupting any kind of internal equity concerns.
Meaning, the fear of paying employees in similar jobs with similar experience differently. Other things that you may be able to negotiate are also not in the offer letter. For example, maybe by accepting this job you're doubling your commute or maybe the job requires a lot of travel. These are good reasons to explore flexible work arrangements. Let's say that you've learned that their salary offer is the best they can do. Would it make a difference if you could work from home one day a week? That could mean less transportation cost and less time spent commuting, which means money in your pocket.
In this case, you would be gaining something and it would cost the company little to nothing. Many companies have relocation programs. They're usually reserved for people who are moving a great distance. But there may be situations where these funds can be applied for partial moves. Let's say that you live far from the office and have been asked to be present every workday, is there an option to be compensated for moving closer? Or maybe have a company-subsidized apartment or a hotel room for a period of time.
As we discussed earlier, vacation programs are becoming more challenging to negotiate. However, there may be an opportunity to ask for a one-time exception. As with other options, you should have a strong business case for asking. An experience I've had as a recruiter is when we were eager to fill a vacant position, we asked the candidate to start sooner than the date they requested. The candidate responded that they could make that happen, but they had a prescheduled vacation shortly thereafter.
In this situation, they might ask or we may offer to take the prescheduled vacation, but before the company's standard vacation program would normally allow. In this case, you'd be asking to take the vacation and not have it recorded against your paid time off. Essentially, you'd be getting extra paid vacation time. Knowing what elements of your offer are more negotiable than others is an important part of the negotiation process.
This is experience true when it comes to negotiation points that most people never think about. The goal is to not only feel comfortable saying yes to the offer but being excited to do so.
- Researching the position and salary range
- Asking for what you want
- Receiving and evaluating an offer
- Negotiating salary: tactics and myths
- Negotiating in special situations
- Giving notice at your old job