Tuesday, June 24, 2014

New Job Negotiations… Are You Looking for a Different Title?

 Our last blog entry explored the idea that you can negotiate for a range of “perks” other than just a higher salary.  Today we thought we would cover the area of Title Negotiations, since this is a common concern when a person wants to accept a position at a new company.

Purpose – Why would you want to negotiate for a better title?  Your title is very important; it has an impact on how well you can perform the job at hand as well as your future opportunities and prospects.  Titles are used by others (including future hiring managers) to quickly assess a person’s place in the company and the scope of their responsibilities.  Having a mismatch between your title and your position can make it significantly harder for you to accomplish your goals.

Timing – The best time to start this conversation is after you have been offered the new position.  Show your enthusiasm for the offer, and say something like, “Thank you!  I am very interested in joining your team in this capacity, but I have a few concerns about the title.  I would like to discuss them with you because I feel the current title doesn’t clearly reflect the responsibilities and authority of the position, and I believe a change would be a good idea.”

Research – Before you start this conversation, make sure that you do your homework!  Consider the existing structure of the company and be careful not to step on anyone’s toes (for example, don’t ask for the same title as someone above you in the org. chart).  Research current job listings and titles at other companies to find examples of the title you are proposing.  Does it match your job description?  If so, this should help your negotiations.

Strategy – Present the title change as a benefit to your employer, not just to you.  Explain how it will improve your job performance if people see you as “X” instead of “Y.”  Make sure that you give the manager good reasons to make the change (discuss your research), propose the new title, and explain why it fits.  (Some examples are: customer/employee perceptions, level of experience, or academic credentials).  If you can make the case that this title change will benefit the company, it will make it easier for you to get the improved title.

If you do decide to negotiate for a title change, remember to do your research, pick the right time to start the discussion, and come up with a winning strategy.  Making a strong case for the change will go a long way in helping you achieve your goal.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Job Negotiations… What to Ask for (Besides a Higher Salary)

Congratulations!   You just landed that great job, but perhaps the salary isn’t quite what you had hoped for.  If it’s not negotiable for the time being, take a look below for some ideas on other things you may be able to negotiate for… perks that can improve the quality of your life, provide a different form of compensation, and perhaps even make a new job even more exciting and fun.

What can you realistically negotiate for?  The following list will give you some idea of perks that Bay Area start-ups are often willing to discuss with a new employee:

Time – Time is a critical factor for many people in creating a work/life balance.

Is a flexible work schedule important to you?  Is your start/end time critical, would you like to work 4 (longer) days a week instead of 5?  Do you want to leave early on Fridays? 

Do you already have a vacation planned soon?  Make sure you mention it (and get time off, even unpaid) for that trip you already have on the calendar or one that you are considering.  If vacations are a priority, you can negotiate for more vacation days each year, or ask if you can accrue vacation days quicker the first year.

Place – Would you like to work from home some days? At work, are you hoping for an office of your own, or maybe a cubicle with a window or one in a quieter area?

Job Responsibilities – Are you interested in branching out a bit?  Trying some new challenge or working with a new technology?  Or maybe just taking on more responsibility?   This is a good time to ask for this kind of an opportunity (just make sure the hiring manager knows that you are still extremely interested in the actual job they are offering you).

Job Title – Perhaps you can negotiate to get that title you have been wanting.  Even though it may not increase your salary today, it may help you at your next job.  And if this start-up is acquired, it may make a difference in your future compensation.

Stock Options – How many will you receive?  Do you want to negotiate for more?  And how soon will they vest?  (There is typically a set schedule for this, but it may be negotiable at certain start-ups).

  Healthcare Costs – You can turn the current high cost of healthcare to your advantage.  If your spouse is currently covering your family, you can consider opting out of the company’s plan in return for extra compensation.

  Salary Evaluation – If you can’t get the salary you want right now, you can negotiate for a performance-based evaluation in 6 months, instead of having to wait for a full year.

  Growth Experiences – Can you get tuition reimbursements? Will they pay for you to go to conferences, seminars, etc?  And if so, how long will you need to work there before you can get these benefits?

Please note that when negotiating for compensation timing is key!  Don’t ask for too much too early… the BEST time to start this conversation is when you first receive a verbal employment offer.  You can take some time to consider any offers made during that conversation, and then continue it a later date. 

Also, prioritize what really matters to YOU, and ask for that.  You don’t want to appear greedy or difficult to please.  Asking for too many extra perks may make someone think twice about hiring you.  (It may help to first ask in which areas the company is most flexible.)

Since your happiness at work will make you a better member of the team and a more productive worker, make sure to mention this during your negotiations.  Taking the time to explain how the company will benefit will absolutely help with your negotiation!