College to Career Calendar: evaluating non-salary terms of an offer

Posted by Interview2work on Saturday, March 25, 2017

This is the twenty-third in a series of blogs supporting the College to Career Calendar available for downloading at www.interview2work.com. Today’s blog discusses how to evaluate and possibly negotiate non-salary terms of an offer. We have developed tip sheet on salary negotiation you might want to check out.

There is an expression, “there is more to life than money,” when it comes to agreeing on a job offer, there is more to an offer than the salary. Today we are going to talk about the non-salary terms of an offer that may be negotiable and should be considered before you accept an offer.
I divide these aspects of an offer into five categories:

  • Salary deductions in addition to taxes
  • Value added monetary benefits
  • Equipment and training
  • Job title/responsibilities*
  • Work schedule
  • Salary deductions

In my last blog on calculating take-home pay we discussed taxes that will be withheld from your salary. There are other deductions that can be withheld from your salary and can affect your take home pay that varies by employer. Before you accept an offer you want to know what these are.
The most common deductions in this category are for healthcare premiums (medical/ vision/dental insurance). Some of these types of coverage are optional, others are not, and depending on the size of organization you are working for there may be a variety of plans (costs) to choose from. You want to know when your coverage will start. Sometimes you can negotiate an early start date for coverage.
Other possible deductions include union dues and mandatory contribution to a retirement/pension fund. Once you receive an offer ask about the employee cost of benefits and other deductions unless you have already been provided with this information. These deductions are not typically subject to negotiation but will have an impact on your take-home pay and budget.
Value added benefits

There are benefits that will save you money or add to your net wealth. The most common benefit in this category is am employer’s contribution to a 401k(a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer) that allows you to save pre-tax dollars. Some employers will match your contribution up to a predetermined of your salary. Ask for the details of the plan. This is a value added benefit and you do not need to make a decision on participating in the plan until you have time to research if participation should be a part of your financial plan.

Other value-added benefits can include gym memberships, transportation subsidies (bus passes, free parking), tuition reimbursement, and discounts on travel and entertainment venues. These benefits may mean that you will have less out-of-pocket expenses and more discretionally income each month. But they only have value if you will use them.

Equipment and training

What do you need to do your job successfully? This is the time to ask about formal/informal training and request the equipment you need to perform your job. Do not assume the company has a plan for getting you up to speed in your new job or knows what types of equipment you need. This is especially true if you are being hired into a newly created position. If you are a person with a disability who needs accommodations this is when you state your requirements (tip sheet for candidates with disabilities).

Job title/Responsibilities

The job title effects how future employers and the company’s clients perceive your scope of responsibility. If the title of the job does not convey accurate describe what you will be doing, it is often possible to negotiate a more accurate job title. If you have not been provided with a detailed job description asks to see one. Make sure you can/want to perform all the duties listed. If not, ask for changes.

Work schedule
You want to know the details of your work schedule for two reasons, one so you show up on the correct day and the correct time and the other reason is to make the schedule works for you. It is often possible to negotiate your starting date, your work hours, and the rate at which you accrue vacation time. This is the time to talk about needing a flexible schedule or time off for a special event.

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