So you've got a new job offer? Congrats! Now, it's time to make sure you're getting paid what you're worth — one way or the other.
Let's say the salary is a fair number — in line with the market, if a little less than what you wanted. You ask to negotiate (like a boss) but the recruiter says the company can't go any higher. Before you sign on the dotted line, it's important to remember one very critical piece of the puzzle: there's still more on the table. You just have to ask for it.
Over the past year, I've become obsessed with negotiation — mostly because I went so many years without giving it any thought at all. We've written before about the power of negotiation — especially for women and young people. And even if your recruiter says they can't budge on the salary, there are still plenty of other ways to get additional compensation. Before accepting an offer, push for these oft-forgotten perks.
No more money on the table? Ask if you can adjust your title to be slightly more senior — or at the very least, slightly more in line with your job function. See if you can swap words like "coordinator" for "manager," or "manager" for "lead" — or take words like "junior" or "associate" out of the mix.
In a 2016 WorldatWork survey, 76 percent of workplaces offered signing bonuses. Unfortunately, many candidates simply don't think to ask for them. If your recruiter can't budge on the salary, and especially if they approached you about the position, a signing bonus could help make up for a lower salary in the first year.
Monster warns you to be very direct with your inquiries about year-end bonuses. Not doing so could make you ineligible for an end-of-year bonus, or for a salary bump at your annual review.
Instead, negotiate a performance bonus up front to avoid potentially missing out down the road. When approaching the conversation, say something like, "What's the company's policy on year-end bonuses? Is this included as part of my compensation package, and if so, when does it pay out?"
Similarly, try to get some intel on the company's fiscal year, which could also affect your eligibility for a raise, or end up keeping you at your starting salary for longer than you anticipated. Most importantly, be sure to find out if you'll be eligible for a bonus this year, given your start date.
If the recruiter can't offer you a raise or bonus in any certain terms, see if you can at least negotiate an expedited review process to re-negotiate your salary. You'll want to get this in writing though, as managers are likely not going to remember this term when your six-month mark rolls around. Be specific about what you're asking for (a mid-year review to re-negotiate salary, for example) and write it into the terms of the offer.
Perhaps one of the most obvious elements of a negotiation, if your recruiter won't budge on salary, see if they can provide an extra week or two of vacation instead.
Another way to bump up the total value of your offer is to negotiate for more compensation in the form of stock options. Especially when joining an early-age start-up, equity can pan out long after you accept your offer. (Or not. It's always a risk, which is why you should think twice about accepting options instead of a market-rate salary.) You'll want to make sure that you know what you're getting out the deal before signing, though; look at this equity resource from Mashable for background, and consider consulting a lawyer before you sign anything.
Usually, this can be handled at a later date with your direct supervisor, but if it's important to you, consider working it into your contract. Especially if you're working with an extreme commuter situation, see if you can negotiate to only spend a few days in the office per week, and work remotely for the remainder of the workweek.
Similarly, if you think the compensation is too low, and feel confident that you could do the job in fewer days per week, consider negotiating a reduced workweek.
Is the job requiring you to relocate? See if you can negotiate some sort of moving package. This could be all-inclusive, but a small stipend to help with housing or mileage along the way is great, too. Shipping costs, mileage, hotel stays, temporary housing and costs to cover new furniture can all be negotiated.
Many companies now offer this as part of the total package, but try to get it in writing, if you can. See what the company offers in terms of continuing education, conference costs, or paid certification and training courses. Further, many companies have started offering tuition remission to pay back student loans. It's all about the ask, so open the conversation and see what the recruiter can offer.
This could be for a gym membership, yoga classes, massages, acupuncture, therapy, personal training — whatever you need to stay healthy and on top of your work game. Some packages include an HSA or FSA for this kind of spending, but see if your employer will designate an additional lump of money for these expenses, or cover the cost of them altogether.
If you're taking a job that requires quite a bit of travel on your part, inquire about a travel budget or account. Will you be paid overtime for trips? Will they offer you money to offset the cost of pet or house-sitting? Will transportation to and from the airport be provided? This isn't just applicable for out-of-market travel, either. See if your company has options for offsetting commuter costs like parking, mileage, tolls or bus fare. Further, if part of your interview process required out-of-pocket travel expenses on your end, see if they'll reimburse you for those costs as part of your signing.
If none of these options seem to be panning out, the least you can do is see if you can negotiate for a later start date. Especially if you're getting severance from a current position, it's a great time to ride out your mailbox money and do some traveling, spend time with family, or focus on personal development before getting back to work.
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