Sometimes you feel so grateful to be offered a job you want, so you simply accept the company’s offer—no questions asked. But you have more power to improve your salary and benefits during the hiring process, than you do at any other time (once you’re on the job). The perks and compensation you secure now can mean tens of thousands of dollars difference over the years. Here are a few things to keep in mind when negotiating your salary:
Get it in Writing
The company’s offer to you will come in writing. You should respond in writing as well—instead of verbally asking for what you want. This makes it more likely that your counteroffer is going to be taken up the food chain, straight to the decision makers.
Salary isn’t Everything
Don’t get hung up on your annual dollar figure. While most companies expect to do some negotiating while hiring (according to Salary.com, 80% of companies expect a counteroffer), many companies are also strapped for funds. Consider asking for better benefits and perks in addition to cash.
If you definitely want more money, see if it can be negotiated in the form of performance bonuses instead. Ask for reviews at six and twelve months, and set benchmarks that you need to reach to get the extra benefits.
Time on Your Side
Most people value their time more than money. Companies can often be willing to give more in this aspect, since these are things that don’t necessarily affect their bottom line. Here are a few perks that you can ask for (that doesn’t cost the company much):
- A more flexible schedule. Want more free time? Ask if you can work an extra hour a day from Monday to Thursday—and get a half day every Friday. This is especially good for people in programming, content creation, and other types of work that are generally done alone (without huge amounts of interaction).
- Immediately available PTO or vacation. Many companies have policies that only let you start taking paid days off after three or six months. Instead, ask if you can use the PTO credits as soon as you accrue them. You may or may not need them, but it’s nice to know that you have leave credits just in case…
- Immediate medical coverage. If the company has to let people wait to get insurance, ask if this process can be expedited. It may not be possible, but it can save hundreds of out-of-pocket expenses when it is.
While the money in the employee pay category may be limited, the company may have funds elsewhere that can be used to gain extra benefits. Will you be using your personal mobile phone for work? Ask to have a portion of the bill covered. If you will be driving and visiting customers, be sure to ask for mileage, meal, and entertainment allowance. People who fly for work can also consider having airline miles put in their names and getting free flights as a bonus.
In a tight economy, most people are grateful just to be considered for a job. But remember your worth and be sure to ask for a deal that gives you the best benefit!