Can I ask for a different starting salary? Will I be able to work remotely? How much vacation time will I get? These are a few questions one might ask when considering a job offer. The Career Center offers these tips to help Redbirds negotiate job offers effectively.

Starting salary

The negotiation process can seem very intimidating, especially when it comes to discussing salary. However, researching starting salaries of professionals in similar positions before receiving an offer can help ease one’s fears about discussing as a candidate. Hire-A-Redbird, the Career Center’s online job vacancy tool allows students and alumni to research salaries and provides the average hiring salary for many positions.

When considering salary, candidates should also be aware that a quoted salary from an employer might include more than just take home pay. In fact, the Society for Human Resource Management defines total compensation as “information on the complete pay package awarded to employees on an annual basis, including both direct and indirect compensation.” Some items included in the total compensation besides salary may include spending account information, paid leave, insurance, relocation expenses, and even educational assistance programs.

Be sure to ask the employer the value of your total compensation, to understand the complete value you will receive if you chose to become part of the company. This shows that you are knowledgeable, well prepared, and confident to negotiate if the terms are not what you expect. Experts also state that it is rare for an employer to retract a job offer just because a candidate asked for clarity or request a change to the compensation plan. So do not be afraid to discuss.

Time considerations

Time, whether paid time off, vacation, flextime or remote, is important to consider when it comes to any job offer. Many positions require varying hours on the job, so it is best to research the average entry-level work hours for a particular occupation. Thoughts to consider during a job offer include:

  • Paid time off: Do not underestimate the value of time off from work as part of your total compensation. Whether it is vacation or sick time, you are going to need a break occasionally to be able to perform at your best. The average starting allotment for most organizations is two weeks of paid time off. So be sure to ask the employer how much time you will be allotted, and if it includes sick days. This can narrow the pay gap if the base pay offered is lower than expected. To calculate the fairness of your compensation, consider your daily pay rate and the amount of time you may need for rest and recovery. Considering that downtime is compensated, the benefit of paid time could be a valuable component to your overall compensation.
  • Working remotely: Working from an alternative location than your office is another option to propose when negotiating a job offer. If a position involves work done primarily through computer use, it can be viable option, as long as you can present a valid reason for the special arrangement.
  • Travel expectations: Business trips are common for many positions, so it is good to know in advance how much time you will be expected to be away from the office and home, and how your travel time and expenses will be reimbursed.

Additional benefits

When it comes to compensation, salary and time are not the only areas to consider during job negotiations. There are many additional benefits to think about and discuss while negotiating a job offer such as:

  • Bonus: Some employers may offer a “hiring bonus,” a one-time compensation made on the first day of the job. This kind of bonus is more common when filing positions that are more difficult to attract the desired candidates. In addition, other bonuses may be offered throughout one’s tenure with the company, so be sure to ask about them.
  • Relocation costs: A new job might require one to move to a new location. Consider researching the costs associated with the move and discuss if the employer will help compensate.
  • Educational assistance: Some organizations are willing to finance the cost for employees to further their education while employed at the company. Whether it is pursuing additional education or professional development, you will become a stronger employee, but the expenses can be costly. Be sure to ask if the employer will covered such expenses.
  • Other benefits: Such as long-term savings and investments, retirement benefits, and matching gifts have huge monetary returns and are benefits that should not be underestimated. Be sure to ask about them as well.

Career Center guidance

Redbirds who have interviewed for a position should connect with the Career Center before they receive a job offer.

“We are here to support students and alumni to enhance their confidence, help them negotiate their salaries, advocate for their needs, and help them to secure professional champions and mentors,” said Maureen Roach, Career Center senior assistant director for Programming and Events. Having confidence is the key to impressing any employer. Career advisors are a resource for students and alumni, to help ensure they are ready with the professional communication skills and realistic expectations to be successful during a job search and job offer.

“I know that my first job in the field of television news will not be very high paying, but I do plan on researching the market and finding the average salary of entry level reporters to make sure I earn the same as others,” said senior journalism major Haley Kosik. “The Career Center will be one of my first stops when offers come in the near future so I can practice meeting with a hiring manager before the real thing.”

Sleep on it

As exciting as it is to get a job offer, accepting it right away is not always beneficial. Instead, thank the employer for the offer, state your interest, and ask the employer to provide you with a few days to consider it. One to three business days to get back to the employer is a common amount of time to request. Use that time to talk with a career advisor, professor or other mentor for input on your total compensation and any other terms you may need to consider.

Redbirds can overcome their fears of job offers by doing their research about compensation, and asking questions to learn about the full details of the offer. Doing so provides realistic expectations and helps you to be prepared when considering an offer. Accepting a job is the start of your journey, so feel good about your decision. Start your career with confidence in yourself, and in the organization you will serve.

The Career Center assists all students with developing, evaluating and implementing career decisions.