Negotiating your job offer is about more than just salary. In order to truly understand your total compensation and bottom line in your bank account here are a few things to consider:
1. Retirement Benefits
How much does the company contribute and how? Is it a pension or 401k plan? Do you need to wait to be vested or does it start when you begin employment?
2. Health Care
What plans are offered and how much is covered by the employer? Are your current doctors included in their plan? You may also want to inquire as to when health care benefits kick in (and when your former employer’s stop). For example, if your former benefits end on the last day of your previous job but your new benefits don’t begin until the 1st of the month after you start the new position this may be something to consider when negotiating start dates. If you are NOT planning on utilizing the company health care plans because your spouse/partner covers you, you may be able to use this as leverage for a higher starting salary.
In some cases flexibility is just as important as salary. Inquire as to whether the employer offers the opportunity to flex your hours or work from home. Some employers even offer the ability to work 4 10-hour days in lieu of 5, 8-hour days.
5. Transportation Reimbursement
Does the employer cover a portion of your commuting cost – for example, subway fare or parking? Do they offer the opportunity to purchase these things pre-tax? If they do not cover these costs, what will your commuting expenses be compared to your previous employer?
6. Tuition Remission
Inquire as to whether the employer offers tuition remission and, if so, what the policies are. Things to consider:
- How much do they cover and for what types of programs?
- How long do you need to be with the company or organization before you can take advantage of this program?
- Are there requirements as to low long must you stay once you complete the program?
- Are there grade requirements?
- Are you reimbursed for tuition after successful completion of the semester or does the employer pay up front?
- Are there other options for paid professional development?
- Are spouses or dependents eligible for tuition remission?
7. Relocation Reimbursement
Some companies will provide a stipend to cover moving costs. Can’t hurt to ask!
8. Vacation and Sick Leave
How much vacation and/or sick leave are you given as a new employee? Does it increase with time? Is it accrued? What are the standard set of company holidays?
Will the company/organization provide you with a lap top, IPhone, and/or IPad or reimburse you for service fees if you use your own? The little things add up!
10. Maternity/Paternity Leave Policies
Even if you aren’t considering a family in the immediate future, if you are considering a family at all this is a worthwhile policy to consider. FMLA laws in that state will also play a role so look into your state’s policies.
11. Miscellaneous Perks
Depending on the employer they may have other interesting perks. For example, some private schools offer employees free lunch (again, it adds up!) or tuition remission for dependents. Other organizations offer paid time for volunteer activities, company cars, discounted gym memberships, discounted or on-site child care, even bringing your pet to work!
12. Profit Sharing or Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP)
ESOPs, profit sharing plans, and stock bonus plans all differ as vehicles for employee ownership and, depending on the company, this may be a consideration.
13. Signing Bonus
If the salary is outside your desired range but you would like to consider the offer seriously, see if you can negotiate a one-time signing bonus with the company. Since that money would not compound, it may be a one time cost that the company is willing to put forth in order to get you on board. If a signing bonus isn’t an option, consider negotiating for a 6 month review with opportunity for a pay increase at that time.
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