How to Successfully Negotiate Benefits During the Hiring Process

Published: May 23, 2024

 Job Search       Salary & Benefits       
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During the hiring process, job seekers might decide to negotiate their salary with a potential employer upon receiving an offer. For some job seekers, employee benefits might take priority over salary, in which case they may negotiate for more PTO, a hiring bonus, or tuition assistance. Today, we’re going to be talking all about how to negotiate employee benefits. Let’s begin.

Which Benefits Can You Negotiate?

When applying for a job, take note of the types of employee benefits the company offers. Which benefits are most important to you and your lifestyle? Are there any benefits that are more important to you than salary? Having prior knowledge of an employer’s benefits package will help immensely if you decide to negotiate later on during the hiring process. Here’s a list of common benefits that you can negotiate:

  • Hiring bonuses
  • Vacation Time/PTO
  • Job Title
  • Hybrid/Remote Work
  • Parental Leave
  • Child Care Benefits
  • Tuition Assistance/Reimbursement
  • Relocation Assistance
  • Gym Membership/Reimbursement

Keep in mind that some employers may offer benefits that weren’t included on the above list. It’s important to be mindful of which benefits are most important to you while reviewing job listings. If you’re unsure, make a list of benefits and prioritize them so you know which ones you’re most interested in negotiating.

When Should You Negotiate Benefits?

Once you receive a job offer from a potential employer, they should provide you with a copy of their benefits package. At this point you should let the potential employer know that you’re going to take some time to review the offer. Next, carefully review the benefits package and determine whether it meets your needs and preferences. If you decide that you want to negotiate benefits, you may do so before you accept the offer.

If you’re employed and you’d like to negotiate your current benefits package, the best time to do so is during a performance review. Leading up to your review, determine which benefits you want to negotiate and why. You may also negotiate benefits if you’re asking for a raise; however, you’ll have to be careful—if you’re thinking you probably won’t get the raise, there’s a good chance your employer won’t agree to negotiate benefits at that time.

In any case, the above situations are instances where it’s appropriate for you to negotiate benefits. An employer who values your work and wants to keep you may be more inclined to meet your requests. Likewise, a potential employer that sees you as a high-priority candidate will want to make itself more attractive to you, and is more likely to negotiate with you if you decide to do so.

How to Negotiate Benefits

Whether you’ve just received a job offer or you’re currently employed, it’s important to do some research before you negotiate benefits. Take a look at job descriptions in your industry and determine which benefits are most common, along with how they align with your job offer or the benefits you currently have. If you notice that other companies are offering benefits that appeal to you or that would otherwise be a good fit for your lifestyle, you can mention it to a potential employer (or your current employer).

If you’re looking to successfully negotiate benefits, you’ll have to be convincing. If an employer doesn’t offer a particular benefit or you feel that the way in which a benefit is offered isn’t sufficient, determine why you believe that benefit is crucial and how it could improve your overall performance. The bottom line is, if you can provide reasons for your request, an employer will be more likely to agree with you.

Let’s say a potential employer’s offer states you can work from home once a week, but most other companies are offering a more flexible schedule. Here, you can explain how an additional day at home per week will help you be more productive, or how it may help you avoid burnout. In another scenario, you may ask for additional PTO for similar reasons. Just make sure your request is reasonable and aligns with industry standard offerings.

In addition to explaining the reasons for your requests, you’ll also have to demonstrate your value to a potential employer or your current employer during negotiations. The best way to do this is to showcase your prior achievements. For example, if you’re applying for a job in sales, you could provide examples of how you’ve gained new clients or increased sales. Do your best to provide quantifiable examples, as they will be the most convincing in this situation.

Get Documentation

After successfully negotiating benefits with a potential employer or your current employer, make sure you get written documentation of the changes. Once you receive the updated copy of your benefits package, review it carefully to ensure that it includes all the previously agreed-upon additions or changes. Once you’re satisfied with your updated benefits package, save it somewhere safe where you won’t lose it, whether it’s a physical or digital copy. The reason for this is to have protection in the event there is a misunderstanding about your benefits later on down the line.

Perhaps most importantly, maintain a high level of professionalism throughout the negotiation process and regardless of the outcome, thank the employer for their time and consideration. By doing so, you’ll be keeping the door open to potentially successful negotiations in the future. It’s also worth mentioning that negotiating your salary or benefits is a skill that can be improved over time, and the more you do it, the better you’ll become.