New Job negotiations...advice?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by peapody, May 31, 2011.

  1. peapody macrumors 68040

    peapody

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #1
    Well...I have been offered my first real job in my field..basically my DREAM JOB. A Clinical Informatics Pharmacist at a hospital part of a large health system with a high ceiling for growth and advancement! Even though I am 26 I will be working on the corporate level representing my hospital versus 8 other hospitals in the system in all things technology and programming. This is the kind of job I would be getting after years of experience as a Pharmacist...but they want me despite being a new grad! Whodathunk!

    So I need some career advice...this is the fist time I have ever had to negotiate salary, discuss benefits, and pension plans...

    I think I am ok in terms of salary negotiation...but my question is what should I be asking for in terms of benefits and retirement plans and all that. I am especially clueless about the retirement questions. 401k etc... I am googling, but I am sure there are some macrumors friends who can give me some good advice!

    So... what should i keep in mind for..

    1. benefits?
    2. retirement?

    :confused:
     
  2. Mac'nCheese macrumors 68030

    Mac'nCheese

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2010
    #2
    I always thought those two things -benefits and retirement- were not negotiable. It's the salary where bosses have some wiggle room but they can't make different deals when it comes to ur health plan or 401k plan. Maybe u can negotiate vacation time, too. Also, in this job market, don't blow ur dream job on anything!!!
     
  3. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #3
    There probably isn't any wiggle room on benefits like 401k and health insurance. You might get a couple different options based on your/employer contributions for both but it'll be preset and non negotiable. I'd be happy getting the new job but you should still negotiate a little. When I got my first job out of a college a year ago they offered me 10K more than I expected and I still asked for more. I was straight with my boss and told him I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I wasn't confident in at least asking for more. I gave him a chance to deny me and in turn he gave another 2.5K/year. It's about being confident and not selling yourself short. You can easily make up any salary differences after the first year in bonuses or your first raise if you exceed expectations. Be happy with your job and enjoy it. Good luck on the new job.
     
  4. peapody thread starter macrumors 68040

    peapody

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #4
    Very very good advice, guys. I wasn't sure if benefits and retirement were things I could negotiate.

    My plan with the salary is to negotiate for just slightly above what I know people are getting since it is a specialist position. Like you eternlgladiator - I don't want to ask for more because I am greedy - more like because I would like the practice and it being a matter of principle.

    What was suggested from my interview was that the wage would be about $45/hr so I was just going to go to $47/hr but settle on $46. Something like that. Just so I know I went for it.

    What questions should I ask about my benefits to make sure I am getting something solid? Can you really negotiate vacation time? How strange!
     
  5. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    #5
    Ask if the 401k company matches @ 6%. If they do, you are golden and should make the max contribution. One tip on 401ks, only match the company dollar for dollar, if they only match you to 3%, then do 3% and throw the rest elsewhere, like a Roth IRA.

    Negotiate the vacation time, this is probably not that difficult. If they give you two weeks off, ask for three. They won't lose an employee over something as simple as an extra week of vacation, so they will probably give you an extra week off if you ask.
     
  6. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    #6
    chance are since you are a new grade and this might be an entry level thing for people like you, you will get a take it or leave it offer.
     
  7. stonyc macrumors 65816

    stonyc

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2005
    Location:
    Michigan
    #7
    Usually, there's not much room to negotiate benefits and retirement... there are usually a couple of pre-set items for you to choose from.

    I think salary is where you'll find the most room for negotiation.

    Re: vacation time, doesn't hurt to ask... but since you mentioned that the job is at a health system, from my experience working in a large university-based health system... vacation time was two weeks per year, but could be rolled over from year to year. Also, the larger the health system, the less room they might have to negotiate "extras" like vacation time.

    Re: retirement and pum1552, that is really good advice. Contribute just enough to get the company match (if there is one), and then make the maximum contribution to a Roth IRA (research Roth IRAs to see why they are different, and in many ways better, than traditional IRAs).

    Congrats on the interview and good luck with your (hopefully, new) job!
     
  8. peapody thread starter macrumors 68040

    peapody

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    baltimore, md
    #8
    Actually it is a very specialized position and not entry level (a staff pharmacist is entry level). The position is on par with supervisory and management roles. I got the offer because of my networking and I used to work for another hospital in the same health system. My mentor is the corporate VP and was the person that recommended me.

    I'm not going to lie...it is going to require a lot of training...but I have some bargaining chips!

    @puma - THANK YOU. this is the kind of advice I am looking for hahaha. Financial advice because none of my peers are that learned in it. So is that a question I would ask then? "Does your company match @6% for 401k?"


    @stonyc - Thanks for your insight on the medical system vacation time. I will definitely ask about vacation time. It seems so trivial to me since all I really care about is getting to work and locking down this position.
     
  9. puma1552 macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2008
    #9
    The best thing you can do is just ask, "Does the company offer matching on the 401k?" which should be enough to ween out what that percentage is. If he just says "Yes", then ask to what percent.

    I would do the same for everything else, health insurance etc. Just ask what the offerings are and see what they say, and then ask questions based on the options. As mentioned, health insurance and 401k things probably aren't negotiable, but you should still ask for details.
     
  10. eternlgladiator macrumors 68000

    eternlgladiator

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Location:
    Twin Cities
    #10
    I wouldn't try to negotiate too much on vacation time. 2 weeks is pretty standard for any job these days and realistically should be more than enough for any white collar job when you factor in the six standard holidays. Assuming at least half of them fall outside the weekend you're really getting about 17 days of vacation.

    That said. I would ask them about sick/personal days though. You may get two weeks of vacation time and and an allotment of one week of sick days. It's kind of a dumb distinction in my mind but it helps them distinguish between planned-paid days off and unplanned ones. I'd make sure there's something like that mixed in there. Personal days are hit or miss. Some places offer them. Other places will do things like roll unused sick days into vacation/personal days for the next year. It can't hurt to clarify. Just make sure you aren't coming off like somebody looking to take tons of time off. I don't think I used more than half my vacation time in my first year. It's a delicate dance so I can understand why you're here asking questions.
     
  11. barkomatic macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2008
    Location:
    Manhattan
    #11
    You certainly shouldn't let vacation time get in the way of a great job -- at this point. However, you should ask if you will get more time as the years pass. Some places will give an additional week after 5 years of service for example.

    2 weeks might be fine now, but as you get older you may need more time off--especially if you plan on having a family. As you progress through your career, revisit the vacation benefit and make sure to negotiate more at the appropriate time. Many people only focus on pay and retirement benefits and that turns out to be a big mistake when you're 40 years old with a house and a few kids--and only a week or two of vacation. People do it but its harder.
     
  12. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #12
    Given the national healthcare bill and the pressure by the feds to reduce medical costs. You'll most likely not have too much success in negotiating.

    The feds are putting the screws to the medical sector and its the working stiffs that get caught in the middle.
     
  13. Tomorrow macrumors 604

    Tomorrow

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    Always a day away
    #13
    You absolutely can negotiate salary AND benefits. In the past, I've been able to successfully get an employer to give me an extra week of vacation, a travel stipend, and paid health insurance premiums for me and my family. Your mileage may vary.
     
  14. 63dot, Jun 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2011

    63dot macrumors 603

    63dot

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2006
    Location:
    norcal
    #14
    First congrats on job.

    There are a lot of pros and cons to 401Ks and seriously, consult a pro in this field or a trusted friend who does this type of work.

    As for medical benefits, these days they are less and less and cost more, and while not what it once was, something is better than nothing at all. Do some research on what medical benefits are offered, and again (I can't stress this enough), talk to your insurance agent or a friend in that field. It will make all the difference in the world.

    The only thing you can count on once you get the job is usually what they pay you and that shouldn't go way up or down and be as volatile as the market. ;)

    As for the benefits, retirement and other stuff, companies in these hard times can often produce less than they promise. It's not that they are intentionally being dishonest (my wife lost retirement by the fine print of the company filing for bankruptcy, and my mom lost 401K due to company dissolution, but both class actioned and got them back, but never knowing if and when) so it left a bad taste in ones mouth regarding retirement. It was just the times and just a company/organization trying to cut corners to save the ship and as many employees as possible and still operate.

    Robert Half, while in legal hot water these days for their business practices (ripoffreport and indeed.com), however did have some excellent training materials and advice on how to negotiate and work out a plan to tailor to yourself and your needs.

    I don't know what state you are in (employment law is what I studied by in relation to California law), but find out what the benefits of maternity leave are ... if you icon correctly identifies you as a woman. This can be important. My sister in law is a PhD who didn't get the best maternity setup at first, but the employer has come around to give her some telecommute days and more time off the job with no other responsibilities except for the baby. So if this is you down the line, know your rights.
     

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