Hackernoon logoAsk for a Signing Bonus, Baby! by@atrigueiro

Ask for a Signing Bonus, Baby!

During 2020, the tech job market really heated up as more and more companies needed to take advantage of tech to survive. At times, in my career, I was able to negotiate things that were unheard of at the company hiring me. For example, I often negotiated a four day work week for myself and took Wednesdays off. The uncertainty in today's global environment might push me to make other demands if I have competing offers. The pandemic has made it difficult to know for sure whether a particular industry or company will really be able to survive in the future.
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When you are working in tech, you often make moves to improve your salary or technical knowledge. During 2020, the tech job market really heated up as more and more companies needed to take advantage of tech to survive. It is during these times when you should probably make a move if you are considering one.

Let us say you are in real demand. You have a good-paying job right now. Why should you move on? You are under no great economic pressure to do so. However, you have looked at the tech landscape and realize the time has come for you to move on.

If you are one of the people with tech skills the world cannot live without then you can call your own shots if are bold enough to do so. At times, in my career, I was able to negotiate things that were unheard of at the company hiring me. For example, I often negotiated a four day work week for myself and took Wednesdays off. More than once the employee manual required a rewrite hire me.

I made sure going in I knew why I was looking to move and I knew what I wanted from the next job. I was in demand so I had multiple offers on the table. In this situation, I was able to push for what I wanted by playing the competing firms against each other. Who will offer the four ten-hour day work week I desire?

I have to admit times are much more uncertain nowadays. The pandemic has made it difficult to know for sure whether a particular industry or company will really be able to survive in the future. The uncertainty in today's global environment might push me to make other demands if I have competing offers.

These times where you have the leverage to negotiate come and go over your tech career. You must recognize them and get something tangible for yourself if you are going to take the risk of moving to another company. Remember when the job market is this tight, you are like a six foot nine forward who can dunk with either hand and has a killer three-point shot as well to use a basketball analogy.

When you are in high demand and there is this much uncertainty, why not ask for a signing bonus. You are taking a lot of risks to change jobs. What if upper management is not nearly as friendly and likable as the interviewers? What if it turns out you do not really care for your co-workers or they do not care for you? What if through no fault of your own, the company starts to founder under the weight of the pandemic?

If you are truly in demand, you should be able to get multiple offers on the table. Be creative if you are in demand. Maybe just ask for some of your salary up front and work for less the rest of the year as the two of you size each other up as future partners. It is all the same in the end if you really end up staying for a year. Use the signing bonus to differentiate between who really wants you and who just "kind of" wants you.

If you get the bonus and the salary you want, you can rest assured the company REALLY wants you. Be gentle but firm. Do not talk yourself out of a job. Remember though only YOU are truly going to protect your interests and those of your family. In a world of uncertainty, where you CERTAINLY have skills that are in demand, think about a little insurance and ask for a signing bonus to cushion the blow if there is an unexpected event in the future.

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