Every few years, I write a blog about negotiating your best job offer. Times keep changing and I thought it would be beneficial to revisit the topic and provide some helpful hints on working your way through this process. The key is to not be caught off guard and miss key details that should be written down before you begin a new job. Once the ink is dry and you have signed, there is no going back. You want to come out a winner and leave no bad feelings on the table.
If offered a new job today, would you know what to ask for? One candidate I know wrote a two-page letter outlining every detail of what he was looking for. It was accepted by the hiring manager. But some negotiations, if done directly between the candidate and the hiring manager, can lead to battle fatigue and even to the withdrawal of the job offer or the candidate dropping out. If you find yourself in the enviable position of being the final candidate, be ready to discuss your needs and know which ones are deal breakers if not met. What will you do to secure the best offer?
Here is an outline of some suggested items you need to have clarified during negotiations of an offer.
- Base salary/performance yearly bonus/sign-on bonus
- Reporting relationship(s)
- Basic health: major medical, dental, vision, life insurance, disability
- Retirement: 401k, 403B, SERP, deferred comp, executive benefit package, etc
- Perks: mobile and handheld devices, PC/laptop, vehicle allowance/travel expenses, data-lines, memberships, paid tuition for self or family members, etc.
- Health and drug screen
- Psychometric screening
- PTO/Vacation: Currently XX weeks, paid holidays
- Office support/location
- Relocation: temporary housing, moving of household goods, realtor visits, rent stipend, need for spouse to find work, availability of good schools
- Other rare and unusual relocation requests: sale of house, down payments, housing stipend, moving of boats, horse, cars, etc.
- Upcoming events already scheduled.
- Start-Date/availability date
Here are some examples of negotiations scenarios to be aware of:
Surprise verbal offers
One candidate received a call from the president of the organization with a verbal offer after the first visit. He was not prepared and accepted the offer, but regretted not asking for more PTO and a later start date. This is why you must prepare yourself prior to an interview on what you and your family needs with a new job opportunity. If you are working with an executive recruiter, let them handle the negotiations as long as they are aware of your demands.
Remember, a counteroffer benefits the organization, not you. Step away wisely from these types of offers. You will be considered disloyal for thinking of leaving, and accepting a counteroffer almost always leads to regret.
Serious multiple offers
You are lucky if you ever experience multiple job offers at once. These are rare occurrences, but they do happen. Just be prepared to do your due diligence on all the pros and cons of each organization, as well as their offers.
Be realistic about your demands and needs, and include items that are important to your family. Relocation issues are at the top of the deal-breaker list. Try to solve them before a job offer. Research the new area completely — housing, schools, taxes, quality of life, etc. One candidate asked for a year of temporary housing because the family could not relocate for a year, but was only offered six months. Another candidate’s spouse did not like the new area’s library, which caused them to not accept an offer. More common are candidates who can’t find comparable housing or schools to their current ones and decide not to take the offer.
In conclusion, it is best if your recruiter can handle negotiations for you. Share your complete salary, benefit and housing needs, as well as other demands with the recruiter. Be careful not to accept counteroffers from your current employer. Know what your “true” deal breakers are, and be realistic in your demands. Good luck and I hope you are successful in 2016.