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I received an offer letter. The offer is in line with what was expected. What is etiquette when dealing with the company to maximize benefits without offending them?

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Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter.. I coach people. I coach organizations. I'm the head coach for And someone I coach asked the question and it translates into "I received," Actually, not translate, this is what he wrote.

"I received an offer letter. The offer's in line with what was expected. What is the etiquette when dealing with the company to maximize benefits without offending?"

Now, he goes on to say "the company knows I'm in the midst of ending other interviews and did not ask for rapid reply to the offer. They want me to be confident with the fit and avoid me accepting this as a temporary role. Any advice you could share would be appreciated." This is a someone who has been applying for jobs for the past two months. Some success with recruiters. There's a whole bunch of extraneous stuff.

So the question, "How do you negotiate at this point? The offer's in line with what was expected." Now, I'm going to interpret this as being, he has received an oral offer and the offer letter confirms what he was told earlier. And that's what we're really dealing with is a negotiation of benefits.

Now, I don't know the size of the firm, because that does make a difference. We also don't know what benefits are involved here. As you know, bonuses are based upon individual contribution, firmwide profitability and managers have a degree of discretion in how much they're going to issue to one person versus another. And, if they give more to you than to someone else on their staff, and it's been pre arranged, you know, other people are going to get screwed and leave. If we're dealing with a 401k, it's non negotiable because it's an institutional policy.

Now, let me just continue by saying large firms are always reluctant to do negotiations that they'll commit to in writing. For example, we'llgive you an extra week vacation. The reason is, I've said in early videos, orearlier videos is that they're concerned that we live in litigious times, and that they give the additional vacation to the white guy and not the non-white guy or the non, you know, the woman involved. You know, they have a concern about discrimination issues.

Smaller firms, it's, it's different. You can often negotiate additional terms, and those terms can . . . this first one with vacation can be done with a larger firms. "I have a vacation that's already booked for such and such date and time. I'd like to take my vacation then."

They can go "sure," or "you haven't been on board long enough to accrue any vacation time. So, I'm not sure we can give you that. You can take it on unpaid." And that is a pretty common large company response for staff level, manager down. More senior people, you can negotiate it up.

With regard to smaller firms, you know, often the smaller firm is more flexible about negotiation, because they're not bound by the same rules and conditions or concerned about litigation. The real thing is they met the money.

What are we really talking about here? Are we talking about more vacation, more bonus, more, you know, they're not going to negotiate a special insurance policy for you. Remember, you know, if you're a staff level, you know, let me back up for a second. Minimum benefit standards were specified in the Affordable Care Act. There's penalties for people at the senior level who hpve preferential or "Cadillac insurance" as it was called at the time. So there are limits as to what, if you are a very senior level can negotiate for yourself because the firm has to pay penalties for that.

So, benefits negotiation becomes a complicated issue. Can you talk about some things and see if you can finesse them into conceding? Absolutely! You do it, but don't push hard. As the letter later says, you know, it basically translates into, I don't want to rock the rock the boat or upset the apple cart or wherever the euphemism was. What I want to do is bring this to a successful conclusion and move and join.

So the long and the short of it is large company, you're going to have limited success in negotiating unless you're at a very senior level. If you're average Jane or Joe, they're not really going to budge all that much. As for canceling other things, you should, if you're prepared to say, "yes," to this offer. You should continue to interview if you aren't. That's really the, you know the best advice I can give you.

Again, small companies, you have a shot at negotiating many of these points, and you can get a feel for where they're starting to get annoyed at you. Don't push too hard. You apparently want this job. Don't blow it.

Hope you found this helpful. I'm Jeff Altman. If you're interested in my coaching, you connect with me on LinkedIn at Mention that you saw the video because I like knowing I'm helping folks. Once connected, we can set up a time for a free discovery call and I'll see if I can help you.

I hope you have a great day and take care.

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JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter
JeffAltman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1600 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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