How to negotiate for better pay and parks when landing job offers

Sabrina Hill knew that this email was the ultimate straw.

By the end of 2021, a message from his HR department told him he would have to return to his office full time. There is no hope.

It was late August, and Mrs. Hill, who lives in Seattle, had just divorced and had the primary custody of two children who were still practically going to school. The flexibility of remote work has become an epidemic lifeline that he was unwilling to give up.

“I never wanted to go back to the office, especially as a data professional, where all my work is done on the computer,” said Mrs. Hill, 47, who was the hospital’s data analyst at the time. . “It was unreasonable,” he said of the rules for returning to the office, “but they were very strict about it.”

He started looking for a job the same week, with the freedom to control his own schedule – and a significant pay rise – both determined to find a company willing to pay him. Within a month, he secured a completely remote job as a senior data analyst with আরও 20,000 more base pay, unlimited pay time and stock options.

“I really told myself, ‘Stop playing small, and apply for a job that will pay you as much as you like,'” said Hill.

His time could not be better. From May 2020 to May 2021, companies advertising remote job opportunities grew by a staggering 357 percent on LinkedIn, as employers moved to attract job seekers who were just as interested in closing down remote job opportunities and unlimited payments as if they had a good paycheck. . . In a recent LinkedIn survey, job seekers ranked work-life balance over compensation as their top priority.

Employers in multiple industries need to quickly fill roles, drawing from a shallow applicant pool that doesn’t always meet those needs. For employees who are smart enough to recognize their leverage, it has never been a good time to discuss a generous compensation offer.

According to, from July 2020 to July 2021, the number of job postings advertised as incentive to sign bonuses has doubled. And this juicy incentive is not just for Silicon Valley engineers and National Football League stars. FedEx and Papa John’s are offering a $ 500 to $ 1,000 bonus for delivery drivers.

As a career and finance coach, I have seen clients successfully discuss offers that include significant salary increases and bonus signatures. The most costly mistake that workers can make today is to leave the bargaining table.

Here are some strategies.

Make a realistic request for a sign-on bonus. Companies are often willing to offer bonuses to job seekers more than their base salary because they only have to cover the cost once. The original is a realistic request when asking for a bonus.

I advise my clients to start with the money left on the table of their current employer. This may include uninsured equity grants, stock options, uninvested 401 (k) contributions and even tuition reimbursement funds that must be paid after they leave.

Job seekers who aren’t necessarily leaving money behind can start by creating the simple question: “Is there a sign-on bonus available?” The employer must first name a number. If this puts pressure on you to specify, a good starting point is to ask for 10 to 15 percent of your base salary.

Line up multiple interviews. Even if you keep an eye on an employer, multiple job offer offers give you the ability to bargain extra. Also, it shows potential employers how much you need.

For Miss Hill, this strategy worked. He got an attractive offer from his best choice but wanted a week to decide because he was waiting for an offer from a competitor. At the time, he wanted additional benefits, such as limited stock units (shares of the company assigned over time) that he had never considered in previous work discussions.

In the end, his favorite company, the clinical software company AdaptX, offered him a limited stock unit worth $ 15,400 and promised him that he could be as flexible as he needed to be on his schedule.

Ask for extra equity. If a company offers equity (such as limited stock units or stock options) as an incentive for new hiring, you can always ask for more than the initial offer. Like that one-time cash sign-on bonus, companies are more likely to sweeten an equity offer than increase your base salary if they already maximize their budget for the base.

Also, if you put equity on your current employer’s table, your new firm has a better chance of covering the cost of your forfeited shares. You just have to ask. They may ask you for documentation of your vested and unequal equity grant before cutting a check, so be prepared to make them.

Ask for a given time in advance. After being crushed for two years in her healthcare analysis role in the midst of the epidemic, Mrs. Hill was thrilled to find a new job that was competitively funded.

But he was still burned and wanted time to recover before starting his new venture. Instead of asking for a start date later and using his savings to cover his expenses in between, he asked his new company to allow him to start the job but immediately took a paid leave.

“I was able to quit my job early and it took me about three weeks to reset, and I was paid for it,” said Mrs. Hill. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow.'”

Read the fine print carefully. Special benefits like sign-on bonus and equity often come with connected strings.

Especially with sign-on bonuses, be wary of clauses that require you to stay with the company for a certain period of time or pay in cash.

And limited stock units are called “limited” for a reason. These are usually taken out in batches (or “vested”) for several years, and employees can only cash out within a specified period of time throughout the year. If you are offered stock options, which give you the option to buy shares of the company at a discount, you will not be able to use them until you have reached your due date.

Don’t be ashamed to ask a lot of questions during your interview about how these equity incentives work. Just save them for your employer, who is more equipped to answer them correctly than the hiring manager.

Mandy Woodruff-Santos is a freelance financial journalist, co-host of the career and finance podcast “Brown Ambition” and a wealth-building and career trainer.

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