Don’t wait until you’ve been offered a job to think about these three important factors. While you’re interviewing and applying for a job, you should be aware of what pay and benefits you’re seeking. That way, once you’re actually offered a position, you’re prepared to negotiate the compensation and benefits you believe are fair.
Remember that once employers have found someone they want to hire, they want to make the job attractive to that prospective employee. Even if they say they’re unable to match the requests, you can still accept the job if you want, and you won’t have lost anything in the process.
There are several reasons people don’t ask for a higher pay when offered a job: They don’t know that they can, they think they’ll come off as greedy, or they’re worried the offer will be rescinded if they do.
Even if it feels scary to ask for more money, it’s completely reasonable to ask for a higher hourly wage or salary before accepting a job. In fact, hiring managers often expect it. Remember that employment is a mutual relationship – you’re fulfilling a need and should be compensated fairly.
However, you do need to prepare in advance so you know what pay rate to ask for. Research what the average pay range is for that position and your experience level. Websites like Glassdoor and PayScale are helpful for this.
Plan on asking for a number at the top of the pay range. You may not get it, but it almost never hurts to ask.
One of the top benefits for salary employees and hourly workers are paid time off (PTO) or vacation time. Hourly workers typically earn paid time off after one year of employment, while vacation policies differ for full-time workers.
Vacation days/ PTO is reportedly the top non-insurance benefit that U.S. workers want from an employer, and the average number of paid days off for a U.S. worker is just 10 days.
Before accepting any job offer, you should know how many days you’d receive and how that compares to the amount you’d want. Similar to asking for a higher pay, it never hurts to ask for more paid time off upfront or negotiate how much you’ll receive once you’ve been on the job for one year.
While this won’t be possible for jobs that require working on-site, you can ask to work from home if it’s possible to do some or all of your job remotely.
One upside from the coronavirus pandemic is that many workers have proven to companies that they can do their job while working from their own home, and be just as productive as if they were in the office.
So if working from home is doable and feels like a benefit to you – no commute, can help with childcare or parent care, a more flexible schedule – ask if it can be part of your set schedule or if you can be granted a certain number of work from home days per week or month.
If working from home full-time is important to you, search remote job opportunities here.
Unlike health insurance, which largely can't be negotiated, there are several other benefits that some companies may be willing to offer.
Work-from-home gear - If your job requires using a computer or phone while working remote, ask if they can either loan you equipment, help pay for that technology, or reimburse you for things like your cellphone or internet plan.
Child care costs - Child care is expensive and can be a significant barrier to employment for many. See if the company can subsidize any child care services required for you to work.
Commuter reimbursements - Whether you have a long drive or need public transportation to get to work, it's completely appropriate to ask for reimbursement for some of those costs.
Wellness programs - Wellness programs and reimbursements have become an increasingly popular benefit offered by companies. Benefits you can negotiate vary from smoking cessation programs to gym reimbursements to free flu shots.
Which of these benefits are important to you? Let us know in the comments!