After applying for multiple jobs and navigating stressful interviews and skill tests, finally getting an offer feels like a huge relief. You’ve proven your skills as a professional and successfully demonstrated your value to a new employer.
But just because you get a job offer doesn’t mean you should accept it right away. You probably already know that you can negotiate your salary, but did you know that you can negotiate a variety of other perks and benefits as well?
Before adding your signature to a job offer and sending it to the hiring manager, consider starting discussions about potential benefits that are important to you, such as remote work, additional time off, or reimbursement for relocation costs.
Things to Negotiate in a Job Offer (Perks and Benefits)
When you think about negotiating a job offer, you probably imagine discussing the salary. But many different aspects of your potential position are up for discussion. If you’re happy with the salary you’ve been offered or if you know it’s non-negotiable, consider asking for these other benefits in your counteroffer.
1. Flexible Work Hours
Whether you work in-office or remotely, flexible work hours make your life a lot easier. Maybe you like to start later in the morning so that you can sleep in or head to the gym at the crack of dawn. Or maybe you prefer to start earlier so that you can pick the kids up from school or daycare before rush hour.
Whatever your reasons, a flexible schedule is a great way to support a healthy work-life balance. And many jobs are able to accommodate.
If a flexible work schedule is important to you, consider asking for one in a counteroffer, especially if other aspects of the job (such as the starting salary) are not negotiable.
2. Remote Work
While flexible hours give you some wiggle room in terms of when you do your work, remote positions allow you to do your job from the comfort of your own home. Remote work means that you don’t have to worry about commuting, packing a lunch, or moving closer to your workplace.
And you have the freedom of living just about anywhere you’d like, making it a lot easier to live in a more affordable location or relocate for a spouse’s job.
If you believe the position you’re being offered is able to support a remote role and you’d like to work from home, request part- or full-time remote work as part of your negotiations.
3. Your Start Date
While it’s best practice to give two weeks’ notice to your employer when you leave a job, there are no rules saying you have to start two weeks after accepting a new job offer.
The time between one job and another gives you a chance to take a vacation, recover from burnout, and prepare for a new role. Most potential employers will be willing to negotiate your start date by at least a week or two, giving you a chance to catch your breath before embarking on a new professional journey.
If you’d like a little extra time between jobs, request a later start date in your counteroffer.
4. A Signing Bonus
Just because a potential employer indicates that your base salary is non-negotiable doesn’t mean you can’t negotiate other aspects of your financial compensation, including a signing bonus.
Many hiring managers are determined to find top talent, which means they have to try to entice high-quality employees to leave their current employers to work for them. Some are willing to sweeten the pot with a one-time signing bonus because it acts as an incentive for prospective hires to take the plunge.
If you want to ensure that leaving your current employer is worthwhile and that a new company truly values your experience, try asking for a sign-on bonus.
5. Relocation Costs
Sometimes your job search will lead you to employers outside your current city or state. And although you may be willing to relocate, moving comes with a lot of expenses. If you need to move for a new job, you can ask your employer to cover part of your moving costs as part of your overall compensation package when telecommuting isn’t an option.
However, be aware that most relocation costs come with a caveat. For example, you may only receive a relocation reimbursement after working with your new employer for three months.
6. A Better Job Title
The job title in your offer letter isn’t necessarily set in stone. If the duties outlined during the interview process go beyond the typical responsibilities of the job title you’ve been offered, try asking for one that better suits the role.
For example, if you’ve been hired as a junior content writer, but the job description involves some project planning and outreach, content coordinator might be a better title for the position.
Ideally, you want a new title that demonstrates career growth so you can use it on future job applications and your LinkedIn profile to showcase your professional progress.
Although you shouldn’t ask for a title outside of the range of your responsibilities, it’s reasonable to negotiate with a prospective employer when a different title is a better fit for your new job.
7. Stock Options
When you can’t negotiate for a higher salary, look for stock options instead. If you believe in the company and they’ve shown growth and consistency in the past, stock options could be the perfect way for you to boost the financial worth of your job offer without asking for more money.
If the company offers stock options to employees and you’re interested in investing, try asking for stocks as part of your job offer. Not only will they add monetary value to your offer, but they’ll also demonstrate your interest in and commitment to the company.
8. A Career Development Plan
While a career development plan won’t necessarily get you more money immediately, it can pay off in the long run. Career development can involve training to expand your skill set, taking on management duties, or a path toward a new role altogether.
For example, let’s say you’re hired in a mid-level position. One of your career goals is to manage a team but you don’t have the experience you need to take on a managerial role yet. When negotiating a new job offer, make your goals known and ask whether your prospective employer can help you to meet them.
They may be able to offer you a detailed career development plan, basing a potential promotion on your performance within the next six months. Or, they may be willing to help you build and develop the skills you need to move forward by setting you up with a workplace mentor.
Either way, career development will help you to get a higher salary, a better job title, and more professional experience over time. It’s definitely worth discussing before accepting a new offer.
9. More Time Off
Additional personal time off, such as vacation time and sick days, is often overlooked in salary negotiations. But who doesn’t appreciate some extra paid time off?
If your role starts with less time off than you’d like, or there are limits about when you can use it — such as a rule restricting new employees from taking vacation time off in their first year — start a discussion with the human resources or hiring manager. If you already have a vacation planned or time booked off around the holidays, ask them whether they can accommodate your needs.
Most employers are willing to negotiate additional paid time off, so don’t miss a chance to get more vacation days added to your schedule in lieu of a higher salary.
10. Learning and Professional Development Budgets
Professional learning and development enables you to build your skill set, stay on top of industry trends, and accelerate your career growth. For example, you can use training budgets to attend professional seminars, conferences, and events, or to take a course.
Some employers will even offer tuition reimbursement for college programs and degrees.
If you’re interested in going back to school or boosting your professional knowledge through industry-related events, asking for a learning and professional development budget during job offer negotiations could be the perfect choice for you.
11. Transportation Reimbursements
Whether you drive to work or take public transit, there are costs associated with your commute, like parking fees and bus passes. If your employer doesn’t provide free parking or your trip on public transit will be longer or more difficult than your current commute, ask for transportation reimbursements while negotiating your job offer.
Reimbursement could be in the form of a monthly transportation stipend or free public transit passes. Regardless, transportation reimbursements can save you a lot of money over time by cutting down on out-of-pocket expenses.
12. Health and Wellness Benefits
Health insurance isn’t always equal between employers, and although certain aspects of a potential employer’s health care plan will be set in stone, others will be more flexible.
For example, the health insurance benefits an employer provides are typically non-negotiable. However, you can request a health care spending budget to cover expenses outside of your plan, such as additional costs for vision and dental care, or even gym memberships and exercise equipment.
13. Child Care
If a new job offer doesn’t come with a child care allowance, it might be something you should ask for when you make your counteroffer. While it’s unlikely a potential employer will pay all of your day care costs, they may be willing to cover a portion of your expenses or offer a monthly spending allowance.
Hardware like a laptop, cellphone, or desktop computer and monitor make a big difference in how easy or difficult it is to do your job. When the tools you need to do your job efficiently are dated or substandard, they can impact everything from how much work you can complete to the quality of your deliverables.
Asking for better hardware as part of your negotiations for a job offer ensures you have the equipment you need to do your job well, supporting better performance and potentially improving your output.
For example, if you’re more familiar with Macs than PCs, it’s reasonable to ask for a MacBook in place of a Dell laptop.
15. Office Space
Some employers have embraced the open-office concept, but it doesn’t work for everyone. If you need a dedicated space to work from where you can experience less noise and fewer distractions, ask for an office or private workspace in your counteroffer.
While it won’t always be feasible to provide you with a corner office full of windows, a recruiter or hiring manager may be able to offer a spacious cubicle or a small office with a door instead, depending on the space and what’s available.
When you get a job offer, you have a rare opportunity to ask for additional perks and benefits that will improve your quality of life and overall happiness, like remote work and a child care budget.
The purpose of finding a new job is to improve your professional situation in one way or another. Whether it’s because you want more money, a better work-life balance, or career growth, there’s a reason you’re making a move. And there’s no point in making the switch if the new role you’re being offered doesn’t come with benefits that go above and beyond your current position.
Many of us know what it’s like to accept an offer right away, only to wonder if we should have asked for more. And often, employers are open and willing to negotiate the terms of your offer, even when the salary is fixed.
Taking a new job is a big change, after which you want to feel happy, satisfied, and confident that you made the right decision. Negotiating an offer will, at its best, increase the perks and benefits you receive. At worst, asking about additional perks will keep you from feeling unfounded resentment or asking yourself “what if?”
Keep your requests reasonable, be prepared for a back-and-forth conversation, and prioritize your wants to come away with a job offer worth accepting.