RE: Negotiating for salary and enhancers

Subject: RE: Negotiating for salary and enhancers
From: "Jim Barrow" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2007 07:31:24 -0800

>On Behalf Of TECHWR-L Administrator:
>It's entirely possible I'll be offered a staff position after having been
working agency >contract assignments for the last dozen years or so.

Congratulations. You must have impressed your employer. Unfortunately,
there may be a red flag on the horizon here.

>I've already been told that the salary range is well below what I make as a
contractor >but it's close to what I'd want if I can get them to come up
with some enhancers (I >will probably be showing them the STC 2005 salary
survey as well as the STC/BLS >2006 salary survey to see if I can't get them
to up the ante a bit).

Hmmm...I think the red flag is in the words "well below". Although an offer
of permanent employment is flattering, it may not always be the best thing
for your career. Enhancers are nice, but keep in mind that enhancers don't
pay the bills.

>They've already told me that after a short period, I'd have the freedom to
work from >home most of the time. That's a big incentive for me compared to
the 30- to 50-mile >one-way commute I've had for most of my recent

This is significant since this translates into real-world dollars. Based on
what you wrote above this means that - if you drive to work - you're filling
your gas tank every 4-5 days at approximately $45-$55 a pop. That's big.

>So what I'm looking for are pointers regarding bringing up and negotiating
some of >the other potential enhancers:
>* signing bonus

This was an eye-opener for me after I recently offered a permanent position
to a member of my team. When she said that she was considering asking HR
for a signing bonus I immediately thought, "Wait, you're a writer, not a
quarterback". But, son-of-a-gun, HR gave her a bonus.

>* additional vacation time
>* a real office with a door instead of just a cubicle
>* STC membership and conference attendance (registration, travel and

All good things and definitely something that you can ask for.

>When do I bring these things up?

After your employer makes an initial offer, which is rule #1: Let them
bring up the topic of salary first. If they ask you what you're looking for
in the way of compensation, just keep it light, mention all of your
accomplishments, and mention that you would be willing to accept a salary
that is commensurate with those accomplishments.

>What are some good ways to actually bring them up?

Typically, an employer will draft an offer letter. This "package" will
state the salary, benefits, 401k, vacation, bonus, etc. At this point, keep
your pen in your pocket and ask for a day or two to review the offer.

This is your time to digest the offer and see if everything meets your
needs. Remember, your employer wants you, that's why they made the offer.
Look at the offer objectively and determine if you will be happy with for
"x" years.

Since this is a negotiation process, the starting salary will more than
likely be at the low end of the scale. Based on the current market, I'm
estimating that you may have $12,000 to $15,000 to work with here.

Of all the things you mentioned above, the office may have to be the one
that you sacrifice first as there's not much an employer can do if an office
isn't open, or they don't have the floor space.

>When is the right time to give up pushing for one or more of them?

That's a matter of what's most important to you. Itemize your counter-offer
and mentally rank the things on that list. If your employer would like to
give you an office, but can't, tell them that an extra week of vacation will
aid you in recovering from that disappointment.

>Are there any other enhancers I might have missed that I might want to
throw into >the mix?

You covered the major points. The only things that I can think of is maybe
waiving the open enrollment deadline, if applicable, and rolling back any
deadlines so that you can qualify for your bonus now.

- Jim


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