Moving from Contract to Full-Time
August 5, 2004 7:41 AM   Subscribe

I've been offered a full-time position at a company where I've been a contract worker for nine months now. Now what? (more, of course, inside)

The salary is acceptable and the work is enjoyable. I think it's a good fit for me, for both my professional and personal goals. I plan on taking the offer, but I want to know about the things I should ask for when I negotiate the deal. It's my understanding that I have more leverage at this stage of negotiations than I will in the future.

Is that correct? Anyone else have any advice/warnings/horror stories? Should I just take the job as offered and shut up?
posted by jmevius to Work & Money (5 answers total)
Ask about:

education benefits
healthcare and what percentage you pay, what percentage employees have paid over last three years, expectations of changes in percentages in the next couple of years
how often people move up from the group you'll be joining
opportunities for lateral moves to circulate around the company
how often your work will be evaluated and how it will be measured
What they saw in your work that made them want to hire you full time and what you might want to revise or change a bit if you become an FTE. (This will give you a hint as to how valued you are and how well you fit culturally with the company.)

Good luck!
posted by pomegranate at 8:06 AM on August 5, 2004

Somebody once told me that everything is negotiable when talking employment.

For instance, if the job offers x weeks vacation the first year, and you want x+1 week, now's the time to ask for it. Other perks might be available as well. It never hurts to ask - just be professional in how you ask.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:13 AM on August 5, 2004

I've also heard this is your opportunity to negotiate some extra vacation time. Also, as a contractor, were they paying you, or an agency. If they were paying an agency, try finding out how much money was going to them. This will give you a better idea what you are really worth, and what they are saving by hiring you.
posted by xammerboy at 8:19 AM on August 5, 2004

It really depends on what type of role you're coming in for--unless you're coming in at an executive level, most benefits like vacation time, healthcare, reviews, etc. are going to be standardized, and you're not going to have much leeway in negotiating a different agreement than everyone else.

The things that are usually up for discussion are:
- Compensation (to some degree)
- Your responsibilities
- Your expectations

You can discuss compensation, but a good manager or HR person is going to be well-armed with a clear idea of what they're willing to pay you, and a solid argument for why that's all you're going to get right now. (You could make an argument that that's even better for you, since who wants to work for someone who tries to keep money off the table? You want to work for a company or a boss who's going to give you what they fairly can, up front, without a lot of jerking around.)

On the other hand, it's a pretty typical mistake not to clarify immediate expectations right up front. The job that you're being hired into doesn't have to be exactly what you're doing now--even if you can't negotiate much of a salary increase, you can effectively get yourself a decent promotion walking in the door. I would encourage you to confirm or bargain up the level of responsibility you're going to have--how you're expected to work with or manage other folks, what level of decision-making you're going to have, etc. (And if you do have that conversation first, it also gives you the best possible shot at winning the compensation negotiation as a next step.)

Another big mistake is not to talk through long-term expectations. I've taken more than one job where I've basically said, "I think I'm more senior than the role you're offering, but I'll tell you what--I'll put my money where my mouth is. If you make me a commitment to sit down in six months and re-evaluate my role, I'll start on the terms you're offering." That's always worked, and whenever I've done that, I've been able to strike a much better deal, after six months as a proven quantity, than I could have gotten if I just really pushed hard on the beginning, when they were just assuming that I knew what I was doing.

Basically, all of your benefits and compensation are really a function of the value you seem to bring to the company. If you focus on that value--emphasizing how much you're really bringing up front, and laying the groundwork for it to grow rapidly over time--you're always going to be in a better position when you negotiate what you reap for that contribution.
posted by LairBob at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2004

G E T M O R E V A C A T I O N .

This is your best chance.
posted by eas98 at 12:47 PM on August 5, 2004

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