Negotiating a job offer can be an intimidating prospect. You’ve poured hours into your resume and cover letter, done the research, completed the pre-hire assignments to showcase your skills and aced the interviews. This is an exciting time for your career!
Then you pause because the contract is in your inbox, waiting for you to sign on the electronic dotted line. It’s a great contract, but it’s not quite perfect. Before you sign, here are 10 things you should negotiate before you start a job.
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Start with negotiating your pay
According to Business Vision World, women in particular have a tendency to underestimate our professional worth and have been socialized to be "nice" at work. These two qualities means women are often not negotiating for higher salaries. In addition, women can get penalized for asking for more money. “When I started my career in recruiting, which feels like 100 years ago, a hiring manager told me to always negotiate. Never take the first offer,” says Seena Foley, a senior recruiter.
Try saying this:"Thank you for your offer. I am excited to join your team and really feel my skills and experience will yield immediate results (will enhance the current structure or team). I do have some minor amendments required. Here are the following items I’d like to review: Salary: Amended to $xxxxx.”
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Here’s what to do if they won’t negotiate your pay
All is not lost. There are other opportunities to negotiate your salary after you’ve started the job. Just remember to ask for a salary review when you’re negotiating your contract.
Expert advice:“If the company is not flexible on starting salary, try suggesting a six month salary review,” says Sarah Paul, vice president, Human Resources & Corporate Social Responsibility at Govan Brown & Associates. “This provides you with an opportunity to prove yourself, with little risk to the company.”
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Upgrading your title
Did you know you can ask for a title change? Image and perception do count, so if you think the current title doesn’t reflect the job description or your skills, ask! That’s what Aya McMillan did when she was negotiating her contract. “I emailed with ‘Given the seniority of my experience, the calibre of clients and projects I have managed, and the strategic direction I would be bringing to the role (meeting the organizational expectations expressed in our interviews), I'd like to pose the question around the title being changed to Senior Manager.’" She got the new title.
Expert advice:Paul says that when you’re negotiating a title change remember to provide a logical business case. One example would be to have more credibility in the external market, which would help the business.
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Make sure you get that sweet vacation time
A study from Syracuse University found that going on vacation can reduce metabolic symptoms and the risk of cardiovascular disease. So going on vacations is literally good for your heart. Plus, it makes you more productive at work.
Expert advice:With everything, you need to know your audience and qualify why you need more vacation time, Foley says.
Try saying this:“Based on my previous x years in the industry, I would like to maintain four weeks vacation.”
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How to waive the wait for health benefits
Benefits are awesome especially when you have to go to the dentist or get new glasses. Most places will have a waiting period of three months before you can start using them but these too can be negotiated because a root canal waits for no one.
Try saying this:“I have had a great benefit package with my current employer and won’t be able to go with a break. Please waive the 90-day waiting period.”
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Look into company RRSP investments
While you’re negotiating health, dental and vision benefits, don’t forget to negotiate for RRSPs. Some companies have a waiting period before you can participate in the group RRSPs plus a period of time before you’re fully vested.
Try saying this:You can use the same script for health benefits, just tweak for RRSPs.
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Look into education and professional development training
“Be sure to clarify whether the company supports professional development and training,” Paul recommends. “You may want to negotiate an annual budget for courses related to your industry and profession. Also, any annual fees to maintain a certification or designation should be included in your offer.”
Expert advice:Highlight how your education can help the company’s revenue and growth.
Try saying this:“I’m very serious about my career and my role at this company. The skills from this course would help me increase revenue/take on more responsibility/assume more of a leadership role.”
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Research flexible working schedules
A Deloitte study found that 75 per cent of millennials want flexible working hours and rank work/life balance very high on their job search list.
Expert advice:Flexible and remote workers tend to work longer hours and be happier, which is something to keep in mind when you ask. Do your research before you ask. There may be a mention on the company website or you can ask about work-life balance and flexible work arrangements in the interview.
See also: 16 great jobs for women in trades.
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Look into parking options
“Depending on the location of your office, parking may be a significant cost,” Paul says. How significant? Calgary is the most expensive city in the country at $211.05 U.S.per month according to a 2017 report from Parkopedia. Toronto and Montreal aren’t that far behind.
Expert advice:According to Paul, paying for parking is a taxable benefit but would defray the bulk of the cost.
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Investigate relocation costs
If your new job means you have to move, most companies will offer to cover the costs up to a certain amount, Paul says. “Typically this would be capped amount to cover all reasonable moving expenses, such as house-hunting costs which includes meals and travel, movers, charges to cancel and connect utilities and fees to cancel leases.”
Expert advice:Figure out how much it would cost to relocate and compare that with the company’s offer. If there’s a difference (within reason) ask them to cover it.
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Written BySlice Staff