I WANT IT ALL! Help me get it?
October 6, 2014 7:08 AM   Subscribe

I am hoping to receive a job offer soon, I have a lot of things I am requesting this time around - help me make this an effective negotiation?

I have never really negotiated a job offer before, I usually just take the first offer they present but this time around I have a number of things I want. What is the best course of action to make sure I present the strongest case? Should I receive the job offer over the phone should I transition to email to best communicate my requests? And if so how do I set this up?

My requests:
- $xxK salary (only $2K over current salary)
- Company to cover the remaining courses in my certification program (including attending 2 conferences in 2015, x number of online courses - all totaling at $xx in program fees and would still required hotel and flights)
- Minimum 10 personal PTO days
- 5 PTO days for non-profit work I do as I sit on the Board of an organization here in town (3 days for the Annual Conference, and 2 days worth of PTO in case I am required to attend community events representing my Board during work hours)

This is a lot, I know. I am not entry level, but I am not manager level yet either, so are these requests a bad idea? If they extend the job offer means they are interested but I want to make sure not to scare them off. Ahh.. help? Any additional insight, any comments on what I am missing, is greatly appreciated
posted by heavyp08 to Work & Money (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Salary: Good!
Company courses: May be negotiable, but most companies have a designated tuition reimbursement program, so look into what exists already.
PTO days is generally standard, and non-negotiable.
Extra PTO days? I'm not sure that would fly very well in any negotiations.

You can see if you can bump up your own PTO time (if some employees get X weeks per year and then Y weeks after 5 years, you can see if you can negotiate yourself into the Y category, but that's tough).

I would concentrate most on salary, honestly. That's where you have the most wiggle room.
posted by xingcat at 7:14 AM on October 6, 2014 [5 favorites]

You can usually only negotiate for one thing in the hiring process. Either salary/PTO/something else. My impressions come from a fortune 500 company, so YMMV especially with smaller companies.

So, usually PTO is difficult to negotiate unless you are moving horizontally into a company and you know you have the job 100%. These are set by different things, but usually it's "Time worked at company". Here, it's after 5 years of work you get 3 weeks PTO.

I think it's very unlikely that you will get the PTO for your non-profit work, but you could almost for sure get unpaid time off for the non-profit work. Especially at your level.

If the company will cover the remaining education for you, it will be because of a tuition reimbursement program through HR, not usually something that you negotiate in the hiring process.

However, you can definitely negotiate for higher salary. They build that negotiation into the budget of the role. I would let them offer a certain amount, and when they make the offer, no matter what, say I would like to sleep on it and will get back to you tomorrow. Then, respond the next morning with a 10% increase and cite the reason why.
posted by bbqturtle at 7:15 AM on October 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

A lot of companies provide one or two paid volunteering days, especially if a non profit is properly a non profit (not "I sit on the board of directors for the lady who TNRs stray mongeese on her own dime and I help drive her to the snip van three times a year").
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 7:17 AM on October 6, 2014

That all sounds extremely reasonable to me. Definitely ask about what professional development opportunities the company offers before starting to negotiate - it is very possible that they have a set budget/benefits for that. If they do, then just ask for salary + 2k + your remaining professional development costs instead of asking for professional development money separately.

You can definitely negotiate for more vacation time (I haven't done it, but I've seen others do it successfully), but I'd be a little surprised if you were offered less than 3 weeks PTO at the outset. Maybe that's a lot for your industry, but I've had at least that much vacation time since my second year of working full time.
posted by snaw at 7:22 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Mid-career manager/professional at Fortune 500 company here. Consider requesting the following:

- $xxK salary (only $2K over current salary plus estimated costs of certification program plus travel OR company covering.)
- Assurance that non-profit work I do can be on company time. This seems like an enormous stretch to me, frankly, unless it's directly in the interest of the company or your professional development (in which case I would anticipate getting EITHER this or the certification.) There may be a policy on this (volunteer work, etc.) Otherwise, why wouldn't you expect to use your personal time for a personal pursuit or avocation?

- 10 days PTO is 2 weeks vacation -- standard in many industries for a new employee. Wait to see if that's what they offer you first. Otherwise you seem naive, as though you don't know what you're worth. Make sure this doesn't include sick days.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 7:30 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

I've found that negotiating more vacation is extremely easy, IF you have the seniority to back it up. It's a no-brainer if you're coming in with the same amount of seniority that would bump you to the higher level anyway. H/R folks like offering some slack in this area because:

1) It's no change in salary, which makes them look good, although it's technically an increase in pay for YOU because you're working less hours for the same pay, and

2) They rarely clear it with your actual department, and if they do now the H/R person is now defending your position FOR you and explaining that they could land you if only you had this extra week of leave.

So just be prepared to see what they offer in vacation first, and if it's short then say "well, if I stayed with my current job another few months I'd be at (X+1) weeks vacation, can we figure out a way to make that happen for me at (newcompany)?"
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:34 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: > - $xxK salary (only $2K over current salary plus estimated costs of certification program plus travel OR company covering.)

You could also increase your salary ask by the equivalent of 5 days pay, and negotiate unpaid time off for your volunteer work.
posted by looli at 7:52 AM on October 6, 2014 [6 favorites]

FWIW, I've never had luck with major companies in getting more PTO. I had an extra $10k thrown at me as the counter-offer to asking for more days off. Money's nice, but going from 28 days/year (old job, lots of seniority) back to 14 was no fun.
posted by k5.user at 7:56 AM on October 6, 2014

One way you might be able to swing this is to ask for more salary first, then offer to trade down for more time off. I had some success with this approach, though you should be careful to do your homework and make sure your initial number is not unreasonably high.

ninja edit: PTO days were totally negotiable in my case, it turns out. Must vary a lot by industry and company.
posted by PercussivePaul at 8:06 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

As an HR person I've never worked somewhere that PTO days were negotiable. One time the CEO offered them to someone and my boss basically yelled at him for an hour about it because getting it set up in our system was a giant PITA. He never made that mistake again. There are other reasons too, in many places PTO is an earned benefit that has to be paid out when you leave and it sits on your balance sheet so giving more isn't great from a company standpoint.

That said 10-15 days of PTO per year is pretty standard so I wouldn't go in demanding that since it will absolutely make you look naive.

Just ask for more money, a $2k raise doesn't seem like very much (though that depends a lot on where you are now).
posted by magnetsphere at 8:08 AM on October 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: PTO has been non-negotiable in my experience as well, although it sounds like this is maybe industry-specific. In your position I would reply enthusiastically and with a statement that you will review the offer and reply in X days, request information about the benefits package including professional development if that is not already provided, and then go review that information.

I personally follow up by email for the actual negotiation - I think phone is generally recommended, but I get so anxious/flustered on the phone that I think it ends up being better for me to do it by email. I'd ask for a salary bump sufficient to cover or at least greatly assist with the certification, if the benefits package doesn't already include a tuition waiver, etc.
posted by Stacey at 8:14 AM on October 6, 2014

Best answer: Have you already mentioned your non-profit work to them, and were they enthusiastic about it? I can imagine one situation in which they're barely tolerating you sub-contracting and would definitely not give you extra time to help with that (non-profit or no), and I can imagine another situation in which your work is making them look good, and they might allow you to just count that as time worked (like when my company sends an R&D employee to go judge the local school science fair). I can't imagine them giving you an extra vacation day as their way of showing their support. I'd ask what their unpaid time off policy is, and how it would apply to work that you do with the nonprofit, OR, same thing but about flexible work hours, working late on Monday and Tuesday so you can spend Thursday afternoon at a board meeting. (depends on which you'd prefer).
If the company offers you 15 days vacation standard, don't argue. If 10 days is standard and 15 is given at a more senor level, ask for 15 and don't be shy about using the board membership as part of your proof of seniority.
posted by aimedwander at 8:25 AM on October 6, 2014

About the courses - have you researched their tuition reimbursal programs? Discuss with HR how that policy would apply to your certification - it could be that you'd have to be employed for 6 months to qualify, so you'd either pause or discuss their making an exception. It could be that they'll cover course fees but not other expenses. There's probably a policy, and if you're negotiating for changes/exceptions to that policy, it will look much better for you if you're aware of what that policy is, so look it up!

Discuss how often employees attend conferences, and whether they send employees to conferences, and whether they allow employees to send themselves to conferences on company time but not company $$. (in fact, this should have been part of the "do you have any questions for us" portion of the interview!)
posted by aimedwander at 8:30 AM on October 6, 2014

Yes, rather than angle for PTO for the non-profit work, I would represent that as something that is important to the community and makes them look good. A lot of companies would allow you to do this specific thing as an extension of your work if strictly budgeted w/ your supervisor which you have done.

I'd also ask for more then $2k, that's only a $1/hr increase if working 2,080/yr. I would angle up slightly so that you have wiggle room. Also, you may be surprised... you say $3 increase and they come in at $1.50 or $2. Hey look, you just made some extra money that you would've not had the option for. It's hard to ask for more money (I hate it), but they won't suddenly go "oh, no no no, offer cancelled" because it's a negotiation. IMO, you should ask for at least 10-15% more than your last salary as a starting point.

Discuss their policy on reimbursing for education. If it is related to your job, they will likely help pay for it or pay for it all.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:49 AM on October 6, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks so much Everyone! Great insight! For those wondering what my new game plan is:

Listen to offer.
Reply enthusiastically and with a statement that I will review the offer and reply within 24 hours. Request if not provided with :
• PTO guidelines
• training/professional development guidelines/tuition reimbursement program (We had discussed lightly during interview)
• volunteering guidelines/initiatives

"Ask for increased salary only - as generally this is the most one thing that has the most flexibility"
- $xxK salary (Salary + 10% increase + certification program costs + salary for 5 days of unpaid time-off / making sure this initial number is not unreasonably high by industry standards)
(- Ask future boss when hired, if there is the ability to take unpaid leave for volunteer opportunities? Future Boss was really into it and I’d rather deal with him about it.)

“One way you might be able to swing this is to ask for more salary first, then offer to trade down for more time off”
- $xxK salary (Salary + 10% increase + certification program costs)
- Additional PTO (Prepared to say "well, if I stayed with my current job another few months I'd be at (X+1) weeks vacation, can we figure out a way to make that happen for me at (newcompany)?")

* If you yourself are doing this do an increase of 10-15% more than your last salary, I chose 10% so to make sure to stay around industry range with total salary amount request.

Now send me good vibes - hope the offer comes pronto!
posted by heavyp08 at 8:57 AM on October 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: sounds like a good start! I wouldn't give them a 24 hour turnaround, though, since it might take a day or so for HR to send you all the information you need. I'd say something like "by the end of the week" or "by Monday"

As a hiring manager myself, I would not even get into the nonprofit work at this stage EXCEPT to figure out if they support paid days for volunteering. Asking for specific days dedicated to your project would basically mean that 1) someone would have to keep track of what PTO days were just vacation and what were volunteering, and 2) everyone else in the office with a noble-minded pet project would want time off too, and I either end up giving everybody days off for volunteering or having to explain to them that saving the orphans is noble and useful but TNRing mongooses isn't...I just don't want to have that conversation with people. So I agree with your idea to bundle it into your total PTO +/- compensatory salary.

I do think you should ask for your certification program costs separately, though, if the certification is directly related to some aspect of the job. It's not clear to me how much we're talking about, but if it involves flights and hotels we are likely talking about at least a few thousand. I don't know what level of salary you're negotiating at but it might not be easy to get your salary bumped enough to cover the entire costs the first year, and then going forward you'll still make that much extra every year. On the other hand, a defined expense like a certificate program can be an appealing carrot for an employer, because they know exactly how much they'll spend on it, it's a one-time expense, and presumably will make you a better employee. I once negotiated a job in which I asked for 5K over the offer, was denied, and came back and requested a 7K training program that they accepted.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 11:05 AM on October 6, 2014

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