I recently had an interview for a junior designer position and I’m waiting to hear back from them. At the interview we talked about my work and the company’s, and didn’t cover financial details, benefits, or conditions. If I get an offer, is there anything that I should ask for from the start? And should I get it put in my contract, or is email confirmation the norm?
What to ask for is really dependent on the the firm and the location and it is hard to give you any advice without knowing the “who” and the “where”. I’d say that a good firm will pay you fairly, if you are being low-balled from the get-go for a fulltime jr. ID position, it’s a bad sign. Be confident but not entitled.
A rule of thumb could be that you will get less at a consultancy and more in-house but again, this differs widely and I’d suggest to look at salary surveys to get an idea.
Definitely have everything put in the contract. That is your first legally binding document. Especially anything financial should be stated there.
I’ll compare it to other salaries in the area. But if the offer is lower than normal, then I was thinking of asking if they’d review it in 6 months. Anything else that I should be thinking about?
and if they review it in 6 months and do nothing then what…
if the salary doesn’t meet your needs at the start then hoping they will change it later is not a smart bet.
2 words: company jet.
Typically you will get a verbal offer at which point they will tell you what benefits they offer and the like. Benefits are typically not negotiable unless you are in the company leadership. The only things negotiable at that point are salary, bonus plan (might not be), sign on bonus, and move package. Sometimes they will try to lure you with a nice sign on bonus (if they really want you) but you can try to negotiate that into your yearly salary. You get a salary every year, you get a sign on bonus/move package once. You might need the move package though.
Once agreement has been reached they should send you a formal offer letter. This can be a word doc via email. You will usually need this for doing things like signing a lease on an apartment, so make sure you get it. It is also helpful if there is any disagreement over bonus or benefits. All of that should be spelled out in the letter.
You’re probably right there chevisw. Yo, I didn’t know a move package would be an option. I would be moving across country, so the move would be costly. Perhaps I could take the company jet. Is it normal to receive and sign the main contract before moving, for security? Or is the formal offer letter enough?
For a Jr position, I have never heard anybody getting a move package or signing bonus. From my experience, this happens for more senior positions. It’s super nice if it gets offered but I wouldn’t necessarily hold it against them, should they not.
Did they pay for your travel when you went to see the company, assuming you interviewed in person? That is usually a good sign. If they are already stingy there, then I’d lower the expectations.
Wouldn’t that be nice
I got a move package for both my junior positions. But maybe thats not the norm. But not unheard off.
One was a simple as paying for my gas and hotels for the drive out there. Nothing crazy. The other was the full shebang, early flight out to research apartments, uhaul/pod, milage, stipen, etc. Cooperation usually have a bit more benefits in that regard. And since your usually dealing with HR with negation, its much easier to be more forward in your negations. But with either way, even trying to get your gas paid for on the way out there is usually something you can swing at a smaller consultancy.
But in the end, you need to treat the salary/benefits part of the process with your business sense in mind. Every dollar you leave on the table will compound over the course of your career. For me that part is all business, we can go back to being friendly afterwords.
One simple piece of advice. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no.
I also received a relocation package for a junior/staff level position. It doesn’t hurt to inquire about relocation assistance, the worst they can say is no, and I doubt they would pull their offer unless you played hardball about it, which I wouldn’t.
I don’t think that anyone else brought it up, but I would also inquire about vacation time, how many weeks, paid or unpaid. I’ve seen this used as a negotiating chip to offset low salary offers.
This is a true story that was shared on Core many years ago. This guy was already working for a design consultancy with offices in several cities, he was transferred to another location and he relocated all his belongings at his own expense. When he showed up at the new office he was told he was being laid off.
It varies greatly on the company, how much they want you, and your ability to negotiate. As well as the location of the company. If the company is in SF or NY, you are likely not to get anything (ironic because the cost of living is so high). Also the size of the company matters.
I don’t offer sign on bonuses but I offer move packages when I’m asking someone to move a long distance. I got the same thing right out of school when I went to Evo. Move expenses paid up to a certain amount (keep in mind you will get taxed on this). When I went to Nike I got both a very good move package and a sign on bonus (big company). When I went to frog they told me they didn’t do move packages, I explained they did now and we negotiated one.
Typically these come with a payback clause if you leave the company before a certain time which makes sense. I’m not paying to move you to SoCal if you are going to quit in 8 months. For a jr position it is typically 1 year. For sr positions it can be 2 years.
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Red flag on the 6 month salary review strategy!
In one of my many early career negotiations I was promised a salary bump commensurate with my prior position after a three month review. (full disclosure, I came from a staff position with a manufacturer in a large US coastal city and was applying to a consulting firm across the bay) Unfortunately, I was forced to pull my prepared letter of resignation out of my folio and slide it across the table when they chose not to full fill the original terms of the contract. I’ve lived through this scenario and it did not end well.
Be advised you will need to bring with you your resignation letter going into the salary review meeting in 6 months in case the review does not go in your favor. This kind of working contract relationship favors the employer in the near term and will put you at a disadvantage when the time comes to review. Ask yourself, do you really want to consider walking away from a “full time position with benefits” in six months before you have even begun?
This strategy and line of thinking is ill advised. Always, always always begin a new full time position on solid ground (with benefits) that has a mutually agreed future, unless you are very clear that the gig is just a freelance or a closed ended contractual one.
Everything is negotiable. Salary, benefits, bonuses. Think about from the companies perspective. While a big corpight have less leeway and position packages, if you wanted more vacation, say for family reasons, you could always ask for it with a salary decrease. Benefits cost the company, so taking less benefits might get an increase. Of course all depends also on how willing you are to walk away.
I’ve negotiated everything from bonuses when none were on the table to relocation and the company paying for flights back home several times a year, to housing subsidy and phone bills.
This is true but I do think that if the initial offer is way below what was expected by the applicant and the negotiations, even if successful, are like pulling teeth, it’s a bad sign. I have recently walked away from an offer even after the requested conditions were met as I felt that I don’t want to fight every time there is a review and a bump would be in order.
It also makes me a bit unsure about the health of the company if they nickel and dime you throughout the negotiations. Some generosity goes a long way in making your talent feel appreciated.
All that being said, as a recent grad, which the OP appears to be, just a fulltime position is a huge success as solid experience under the ones belt should be the most important objective. This should be weighed against benefits and starting salaries.
I didn’t ask, so I can’t say whether they would have.
Great advice here. Thanks everyone.
And one concern I have over taking a long-distance position. Though I’m not sure how valuable it would be: