Unemployment remains low and companies are scrambling to fill open positions. As a candidate, that puts you in a great position to negotiate more during the offer stage and ensure your needs are met before accepting.
This can come in the form of many things, such as a higher salary, title negotiations, or just as importantly, the sign-on perks you receive as a new employee at the organization. Sign-on perks come in a variety of forms, such as company-paid health insurance, sign-on bonuses, moving expenses and tuition reimbursement. Others can include asking for a flexible work schedule, paid transit costs, and educational opportunities that are covered by the company.
As Forbes notes, “When you accept a job offer or negotiate a raise, keep in mind that there’s more to a salary than just money. There are a few benefits that are worth the same, if not more than a flat dollar amount. It’s important that you ask for what is most important and most beneficial to you.”
So with this in mind, what can you do to effectively negotiate for these perks before accepting the position? Here are some tips that can help:
Ask for the perks and benefits that you’d like to receive. It sounds like an obvious strategy, but perhaps out of fear of offending or coming off as too aggressive, candidates will often avoid mentioning benefits and accept whatever offer is put forward.
To do this, confidence is key, according to Bruce Elliott, SHRM compensation and benefits manager, in an interview with Fast Company. “Once you get to the part of the hiring process when you start to discuss compensation, they’ve already made the decision to hire you,” Elliott advised. “So it never hurts to ask for [better perks]. The worst they can do is say no.”
Do your homework before negotiating. According to Forbes, you need to be heavily prepared. “For a new job, do your homework by researching the company online to get a feel for the company culture, and see if there’s any mention of workplace perks and benefits. You can also use the job interview to learn more and get a better sense of the company’s policies,” according to the publication.
Find out which benefits are negotiable. Generally speaking, according to Fast Company, retirement plan contributions tend to be hard and fast, but vacation time, performance bonuses and wellness perks – like gym membership reimbursement – may be up for debate. You can find out by talking to current or former employees or doing some online research.
In sum, as a qualified candidate who’s received an offer during a tight labor market, you should feel empowered to ask for the perks and benefits you need to be happy and successful. Don’t hesitate to negotiate for what you feel you deserve; do your homework and have an understanding of what’s actually on the table. As a result, you’ll gain a stronger offer that will be more in line with your personal and professional goals.