Negotiation Skills: What to Negotiate for Besides your Salary


After months of hard work and some tough interviews, you’ve landed a job offer at the company you’ve always dreamed of working at.


At this point, you can do two things: either take the offer as it stands or negotiate certain aspects of it to ensure that you can get ahead in your career.

It is extremely important to stress at this point that you want to wait until you have received a formal, written offer before ever considering asking for more.

Many a deal has been killed by asking for a bigger ring before they have been formally proposed to.

It is hard to think of another skill that can be applied to more areas of your life than Negotiation Skills.

Negotiation skills are important in literally every aspect of human interactions. Learning these skills and applying them to your career helps build confidence and tells your employer that you’re equipped with the right tools to move up the corporate ladder.

Most people think negotiating is only limited to salaries— but that is far from the truth. There are many things you can negotiate for at the beginning and over the course of your time as a valued employee of the company.

Here are the top 3 things open to negotiation  besides your base salary.

A Signing Bonus

So the offer you got is great, but it’s always a good idea to ask if your potential employer offers a signing bonus. Signing bonuses are a one-time payment used by companies to thwart competition in the event that you receive an offer from a higher paying company or a counter-offer from your current company. Although sign-on bonuses are not currently very common, with the right candidate some companies  may be likely to offer it, especially if they feel there’s a chance that a promising candidate might reject the offer without the additional incentive.

A signing bonus is a win-win for both you and your potential employer. They’re not offered to every candidate. So if you think you’re a promising and valuable addition to the company, don’t be afraid to ask for it!

Flexible Work Schedule

Many jobs today don’t work the conventional 9–5. According to research, four out of five graduate employees globally have access to flexible work timings. That being said, give some serious thought to  what it is that you’re actually looking for.

Would you like to work from home on Fridays or would you like to come in an hour earlier and then leave an hour early a couple of times a week? Speak with the HR department or your supervisor to inquire if there is an existing flex timing policy in place or if they’re willing to consider it.

Reassure them of how you’ll continue to fulfill your responsibilities despite flexible timings and present it to your supervisor, preferably in writing. If they seem reluctant, propose a trial period to show them how well you can work with the modified schedule.

Vacation Days

When recruiting a candidate that has accrued significant vacation days from a company, it is often a point of negotiation when they go into a new company that starts them off at the standard 2 weeks of vacation per year. Depending on the company, negotiating the number of vacation days, as well as when you can take those days off, is something that may be worth negotiating as you contemplate the offer.

Remember to Keep Your End Goal in Mind

The most important thing to keep in mind when considering asking for more when presented with an offer, is that if the goal is to join a company and start off on a positive note, you want to make sure to keep that goal in mind.

If you are working with a 3rd party executive recruiter, it is often best to ask them to approach the company on your behalf with your requests. Dependent on how long they have worked with the company, they can typically tell you if your requests are realistic, or not.

It is not worth it to lose an opportunity and burn a bridge over something that would be tremendous to have, but not worth losing the job offer over. So be sure to broach any request with an abundance of respect and have a crystal clear idea of what you are willing to walk away from an offer for, and if it is not something that you are not willing to lose the job over, do not push it if it starts to feel contentious.

  • As long as you wait until you have a formal written offer in hand, and make sure your requests are realistic and requested in a respectful manner, as a general rule, it never hurts to ask.

ISC is an executive recruitment agency that has helped candidates across various industries find opportunities that match their skill set. Since 1999, ISC has established itself as a leader in executive recruiting with a strong focus on the following areas:  financial services, sales, HR, energy and construction leadership.

Ann Zaslow-Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants and can be reached directly at 888-866-7276 or via email at

Carolyn McClendon is ISCs Director of Recruiting, and can be reached via e-mail at  or direct dial at 888-974-0086.