As a working professional, there are few things more exciting than receiving that “we’re pleased to offer you the position…” phone call or email. As your stomach starts doing backflips with excitement, no doubt the nerves quickly follow. Not only is starting a new job scary, but negotiating the job offer before you even get to the office can be a source of stress all on its own.
Of course, salary negotiation is top of mind when you start a new position, but did you know there aretonsof other benefits you can factor into the discussion? We put together a few great negotiation points—like vacation days and flexible hours—to make sure you’re getting the sweetest deal possible. Because cash rules everything around us…but so does the freedom to work in your PJs every Friday.
Transparency can manifest itself in many different ways in a workplace. That said, if a company gets itright, it can be one of the most important factors in hiring—and keeping—great employees. While in your negotiations, ask the hiring manager if there’s a clear org chart in place so you’ll be able to see all the bells and whistles off each team (*ahem* and know who to suck up to at the coffee machine) before you start. Nothing’s worse than walking into a job that has zero hierarchy plan in place—because plot twist: thereshouldbe some levels between CEO and Associate.
Don’t be afraid to question the openness policy at the company—no matter what that might mean to you specifically. Do they give regular updates on the status of the company (wins, losses, financial woes, new deals, etc.)? Have there been any layoffs done recently, and how was that dialogue handled postmortem across various teams? What kind of HR department does the company have, and is there a process in place for anonymous reporting if necessary? Does upper management have an open door policy, or are there “Ask Me Anything” forums available? As a member of the company, you have a right to ask for these perks. In reality, they shouldn’t be considered “perks” at all, but standard practice.
Are the days of the traditional 9 to 5 officially behind us? Well, don’t tell Dolly Parton, but they just might be.One studyfound that the one-size-fits-all workday is actually holding womenbackfrom success.
“Since women tend to be the primary caregiver, and since a lot of this conversation, this broken language of the past, has been about providing personal favors to women in the care setting, women are getting access to flexibility, but they’re just paying significant consequences to their long-term career as a result of bias,” says Annie Dean, co-founder and co-CEO of Werk, a flexibility data and insights company.
This means that because women can become mothers and oftentimes take maternity leave, request time off for field trips or summer vacation, or need to adjust their work schedule to allow for school pickup, etc., they are falling behind at work. Many suffer the “motherhood” penalty that results in lower salaries and less general respect around the office. Out of sight, out of mind (apparently).
That said, gender bias aside, an astounding 96% of white-collar employees—both men and women—said they’d benefit from more flexibility at work, though only 47% actually have it. Thankfully, slowly but surely, more and more companies are switching to flexible working hours that fit inyourday, not the other way around. Question your hiring manager on the company’s working hours, and if you’re able to shift your availability to fit your needs. Early-morning pilates classandmaking it to your daughter’s dance recital? You want it, you got it.
If you’re always on the go, or have little ones at home that you’d give anything to have some extra time with, consider asking if it’s possible to work from home one day a week. Or the next time you plan a long weekend getaway, inquire if you have the option to work remotely for a few days rather than use vacation time. Depending on your role, you may even be able to pivot to working on a freelance basis with an as-needed schedule during certain times of the year. Does business tend to move slower than molasses around the holidays? Merry Christmas *vacation* to you.
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s one that’s top of mind during every job negotiation in the history of forever. Before you get that shiny new name plate and pencil holder, you want to make sure you’re getting paid the big bucks for your time and skills, right? The golden rule here—and Girlboss founder Sophia Amoruso’s biggest piece of advice—is, “You never get what you don’t ask for.”
If you’re starting a new job, do your research beforehand to find out what the ballpark salary range is for someone in your position. Sites likeGlassdoor,Indeed, and even LinkedIn provide salary estimates for practically every job under the sun, in a database based on real-world testimonials.TL;DR: Know your worth.If Glassdoor says that someone in your position should be making $75,000 a year, and the hiring manager offers you $30,000, you probably need to have aseriousconversation orseriouslyconsider exploring other options.
Asking for a higher salary can be daunting and sometimes, downright terrifying. But remember this:hiring managers expect you to negotiate.Many will even offer a lower salary to begin with, assuming that you’ll counteroffer and they’ll land somewhere closer to their actual budget. If—god forbid—you accept the initial offer, that’s a gold star for them for saving the company money.
With all this in mind—after you’ve done your homework and a 5-minutepower posein the bathroom—never go into a salary negotiation without a number in mind. If (and when) you’re offered a lower number than you expect, it can be tempting to justify your counteroffer by citing personal issues. I hate to burst your bubble, but everyone has a mortgage payment and mouths to feed. You don’t need the sympathy vote when your experience far outweighs that as a bargaining chip!
Instead, simply justify your counteroffer with the research you did before the conversation (“Research shows that the industry standard for a position of this experience level is $XYZ”) and by reminding them of the value you bring to the table (“I appreciate your offer, but I believe my experience doingthis, this, and thisin my previous positions would be better reflected in a salary closer to $XYZ”). Remember, a little humblebrag never hurt anyone. Asking for 10-25% more than the original offer is a good ballpark to stay in—and remember, the worst they can say is no.
What if the worst happens and they DO say no?I’m glad you asked.
If more money just isn’t on the table, you can ask for all the things we mentioned above, as well as other perks that probably aren’t offered to other employees right off the bat. More paid vacation time, stock or equity in the company, transportation cost reimbursement, or an educational stipend are all feasible asks while negotiating a job offer, and can make a lower salary a bit easier to swallow. You can even ask for a title change, or request to put a plan in place for when to expect a better title and/or a raise.
If the answer isstillno—but you like, really want this job—ask straight-forward questions that will help you understand what the next steps are in this process. How can you further add value to the company? Are there gaps in the company or your team’s workflow that you can directly address or fill? What are the steps you can take to get to where you want to be? Set up monthly or quarterly meetings with your supervisor to discuss your role and your career trajectory in the company, and take detailed notes in between each meeting to track your progress.
The Bottom Line
Hiring managers have a job to do just like everyone else, and their job is to get great candidates (like you!) in the door and in a lumbar support-less desk chair. They want to work with you and come to an agreement that benefits both youandthe company, lest they have to start at square one with other applicants. Be patient, but don’t forget that just like applicants are a dime a dozen, so are jobs. And unless the job prospect is being Beyoncé’s stand-in BFF, you don’t need to—and shouldn’t—settle.