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Salary Negotiations: Preparing to negotiate benefits

company benefits

Once you’ve figured out your salary targets, turn your attention to benefits, the other piece of your compensation bundle. (If you need to learn more about negotiating your salary, read Salary Negotiations: How much do I ask for?)

Although most jobs will not include all of them, you might find several of these items offered as part of your compensation package:

  • Salary
  • Medical benefits
  • Dental care
  • Vision care
  • Paid time off
  • Flexible schedule
  • Training and education
  • 401(k) matched by employer
  • Guaranteed contract time
  • Profit sharing potential
  • Bonus(es)
  • Cost of living allowance (common in overseas work)
  • Sign-on bonus
  • Pension Plan
  • Child care
  • Paid Memberships
  • Company discounts
  • Tuition reimbursement
  • Telecommuting
  • Commissions
  • Moving/relocating expenses

Your company may offer certain specialized benefits, as well, such as in-house education or profit-sharing. (Here is the complete list of fringe benefits as allowed by the IRS.)

Since in negotiations you’re unlikely to get everything you want, you need to determine which benefits are more  important to you and which ones are less important.

For example, the use of a company vehicle may be more important than health insurance benefits if your spouse has a job with good insurance benefits. On the other hand, if you’re a two-car, one-paycheck household, the opposite may be true.ess important.

When weighing your personal needs, take these things into account and place an economic value on them. They are worth whatever dollar value you give them, not a number provided by a service or a Web site.

Then, prioritize your list according to their importance in your life.

What is negotiable?

Companies will differ in what they offer and what they will negotiate. To help you know what is on the table, be sure to obtain a written employment offer from the company. If the company does not want to give you a written offer, be very wary. They may not want to keep their word.

I had to ask for a written offer at one company I worked for. Several months later, having the written offer saved me from a salary cut when the CEO was having trouble with the budgets.

To figure out what is negotiable, review your employment offer and look for items the company might be willing to change:

  • Position: Is the position full-time, part-time, or flexible?
  • Title: Senior Accounting Clerk may be preferable to Accounting Clerk III if it’s all the same to them. Smaller companies may be more willing than larger corporations to change titles.
  • Location:  Are there multiple locations? Do you have a choice? Can you be promoted or transferred to another location?
  • Salary: Pay attention to the amount, what that includes, and how it is paid (Monthly, weekly, or bi-monthly.)
  • Start Date: Does it work for you? Do you need more time to end your present job? Do you want to start sooner?
  • Benefits: These may or may not be listed in the offer itself. If they are not, ask for the details before accepting the position.

Next time, we will cover the tactics to use when negotiating with your prospective employer.

If you’re running into difficulties with the negotiations phase of your interview process, contact me right away for Salary Negotiations coaching. We can go through the process in more detail customized to your situation and hold a mock negotiations so you feel more comfortable using new skills.


Salary Negotiations: You don’t have to be an executive

Salary Negotiations: How much do I ask for?

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