Timing: How do you arrange sufficient time to start a new job?
You should consider the date you would like to begin once you know you are a finalist. Your new employer may be eager to have you join. However, pointing out what benefits you are eligible to receive and when you receive them where you are now employed, may simplify discussions. Your new employer may not want the burden of making you “whole” if you leave before you collect those awards.
This is also when to discuss a firm starting date should you be offered the position. Sign on bonuses are an important tool for easing the transition from your current benefit plan to the new one. Your new employer will most likely suggest you join the company no later than 4-weeks from the date the offer is accepted.
Well before an organization prepares an offer letter, all the details of the offer and company benefits should be spelled out and agreed to verbally. It may become clear that there is a need to adjust terms. In that case there is sufficient time to do that without delaying an offer. If there are intermediaries to help, such as recruiters or HR Managers, these conversations can be matter of fact. The company can explain what is possible and what simply cannot be changed. If the compensation package offered is below what you are seeking, further discussions most often can resolve the differences by finding creative solutions using a variety of benefits.
When professionally carried out, the negotiations (through mutual listening and respecting the concerns of both you and the hiring organization) are very positive. It becomes an exercise in relationship-building. The “no surprise” offer letter should be a confirmation of an effective process—and not a starting point for negotiation.
Compensation negotiation is an area where there appear to be differences in the way professional men and women approach the topic. Many women I know find negotiating an offer to be difficult and tend to want to have a representative handle the process for them. Men seem to be much more willing to talk face to face with the manager extending the offer. Statistics confirm that negotiated terms lead to higher compensation for men.